Breastfeeding and THC: A Cannabis Advocate’s Unexpected Revelation!

Maya Elisabeth, the esteemed founder of the cannabis-centric wellness brand OM, found herself in an intriguing predicament.

Before her pregnancy, she was a passionate advocate for cannabis, a frequent user, and her brand, established in 2008, underscored the benefits of cannabis for uterine health and menstrual discomfort.

But when she was expecting, she had a burning question: What impact would cannabis have on her unborn child? Regrettably, there was a dearth of clear answers.

Elisabeth explained the challenges posed by cannabis’ federal illegality in the U.S., which has hindered comprehensive studies on its effects during pregnancy.

The taboo nature of the subject, she says, stems from the fear of potential repercussions, including the risk of child custody disputes.

On the subject of THC and lactation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is yet to issue definitive guidance.

They cite insufficient data to make a firm recommendation. Meanwhile, legislation varies across states, with some treating the use of cannabis during pregnancy as a ground for child abuse charges, even in states where cannabis is both medicinally and recreationally legal.

Given the ethical implications of conducting research on cannabis use during pregnancy, scientists are often left with self-report surveys and biochemical analyses as their primary research tools. However, these methodologies can lead to inconsistency and potential misrepresentation in the results.

The founder of the multi-award-winning brand OM, which also holds the distinction of being the first licensed adult-use manufacturer in California, Elisabeth turned to digital motherhood forums for insights.

On these platforms, women from around the nation discussed their experiences with cannabis in the context of motherhood and breastfeeding.

After the birth of her healthy son in early 2021, Elisabeth decided to breastfeed him. However, her partner, a non-cannabis user, expressed concerns about potential THC transmission from mother to child via breast milk.

Since THC is fat-soluble, it can impact the volume of milk a mother produces, and can be detected in breast milk for up to six days after consumption.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that THC will transfer to the baby. Elisabeth, residing in the Bay Area, was keen to ensure that her cannabis use didn’t affect her breastfeeding child.

A eureka moment led her to test her breast milk at a cannabis laboratory. In regions where marijuana is legal for adult use, all products undergo independent laboratory testing for potency, dosage, and possible traces of solvents, pesticides, molds, and contaminants.

Using her existing relationships with these labs, Elisabeth submitted a sample of her breast milk, labeled as “BM,” for testing.

The test results were a revelation: they showed no detectable traces of cannabis-derived compounds. These findings were shared publicly on OM’s Instagram page, garnering significant attention and sparking a lively conversation.

Read the full article at Leafly

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