One of the topics we get a lot of questions about is marijuana use postpartum. As the conversation (and legality!) around marijuana usage shifts across the country, many moms are asking is this an option for me? We’ve picked two of the most common questions we get around postpartum marijuana use and have broken down the facts. As always, we’re not docs, just parents with many of the same questions as you. Please consult your primary care physician or pediatrician to discuss what is right for you.
Will marijuana help with postpartum depression?
Before baby came into the world, you may have found that marijuana had been useful for managing your mental health and unwinding from a stressful day, or maybe you have a relative who saw the benefits of use and has you wondering, can it help with postpartum, too?
The fourth trimester is not easy—it’s arguably more challenging than the 9 months leading up to baby. According to some studies, postpartum depression (PPD) affects 1 in 7 moms, about 600,000 moms a year. The months following childbirth can be stressful as you and your family navigate your new normal. While these days are filled with some of the happiest moments, our bodies and minds are still recovering from the experience (and our hormones are still running wild) and that can lead to feelings of anger, anxiety, and disconnection from baby and your loved ones. In those moments, marijuana may seem like a natural, effective way to treat those symptoms.
Currently, and a bit surprising to us, PPD is not an approved condition for medical marijuana use in any state and there appears to be no comprehensive study on the impact marijuana use has on addressing PPD. While, anecdotally, mothers have spoken up about their positive experiences utilizing cannabis (a simple google search will lead you to LOTS of personal blogs documenting this) to help curb their PPD symptoms in states where marijuana has been fully legalized, you should talk to your trusted support system and healthcare provider about what might work best for you.
Can I use marijuana while breastfeeding?
The short answer is, it is not advisable. The Centers for Disease Control strongly recommend that breastfeeding mothers avoid any products containing marijuana or CBD in any form. It is known that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other elements in cannabis do pass into your breastmilk, however you choose to consume it—including body oils and edibles.
Much like the science behind treating PPD with marijuana, there are no comprehensive studies that show the impact of marijuana on newborns and infants. As the early days, weeks, and months are critical to a baby’s development, the neurodevelopmental impact that mama’s marijuana use could have is a risk that shouldn’t be taken.
If you are thinking of using marijuana postpartum and aren’t planning to breastfeed, make sure to avoid any possibility of second-hand smoke to baby.
Getting into the “weeds”
Marijuana use across this country is… complicated to say the least. Legality, levels of access, process, forms of consumption, and affordability are all things that can vary dramatically based on where you are and, if you are a mama wondering if postpartum marijuana use is ok for you then you may find yourself with more questions than answers.
We know. These answers are a little bit of a buzzkill. Currently, marijuana usage, while it has its benefits, is currently not recommended for postpartum use in any form as a treatment for PPD or breastfeeding mamas. And, while states may individually legalize some form of marijuana use, it remains illegal under federal law.
But, don’t put away that THC-cookie recipe just yet! The good news? This may all change! In the not-so-distant past, marijuana use was completely illegal in all 50 states and its medical benefits were rarely talked about and now the conversation is constantly evolving and studies are being done more pervasively.
As laws continue to change and further studies are completed, we’re hopeful more comprehensive data will come out on the benefits marijuana can have on your postpartum life and we’ll be here to break it down for you when that time comes.