Cannabis is now legal to use in Ontario for people 19 years and older (age may be different in other provinces across Canada). However just because it is legal does not mean it is safe to use while breastfeeding. Cannabis contains many ingredients, the main psychoactive component being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
It is safest to not use cannabis while breastfeeding as it is passed on to babies through breast milk.
THC and other chemicals from cannabis pass from your breast milk to your baby. THC is stored in fats cells of the breast and can be released into breast milk for several weeks. These chemicals can lead to decreased milk production.
Studies have reported that babies exposed to cannabis may experience:
- Sleep disturbances
- Poor sucking
- Slow weight gain
- Delayed motor development
Scientists are still learning about how THC in breast milk affects babies in the long-term.
THC is also the chemical ingredient in cannabis that makes you feel high when smoked, eaten or vaped. This can impair your mood or judgment and affect your ability to breastfeed or care for your baby. If you plan to use cannabis make sure there is an adult responsible to safely care for your baby.
Health Canada and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada recommend that breastfeeding parents should not use cannabis.
Breastfeeding is still the healthiest choice for your baby. If you or your partner are concerned about breastfeeding and cannabis use speak to your health care provider. You can also eChat or speak with a Public Health Nurse at (416) 338-7600.