Last updated on: 5/30/2008 10:21:00 AM PST
How Might Parental Marijuana Use Affect the Baby through Breastfeeding?


General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Susan J. Astley, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Washington, and Ruth E. Little, ScD, Researcher at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, wrote in their article "Maternal Marijuana Use During Lactation and Infant Development at One Year," published in Mar. 1990 in the journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology:

"Very little is known about the effect of postnatal marijuana exposure on infant development. Postnatal exposure can result from maternal use of marijuana during lactation. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) transfers and concentrates in the mother's milk and is absorbed and metabolized by the nursing infant.

The present study investigated the relationship between infant exposure to marijuana via the mother's milk and infant motor and mental development at one year of age. One hundred and thirty-six breast-fed infants were assessed at one year of age for motor and mental development. Sixty-eight infants were exposed to marijuana via the mother's milk. An additional 68 infants were matched to the marijuana-exposed infants on pre- and postpartum maternal alcohol and tobacco use.

Marijuana exposure via the mother's milk during the first month postpartum appeared to be associated with a decrease in infant motor development at one year of age."

Mar. 1990 - Susan J. Astley, PhD 
Ruth E. Little, ScD 

Cheston M. Berlin, Jr., MD, Professor of Pediatrics and Pharmacology at Pennsylvania State University, wrote in his Aug. 2001 article "Update: Transfer of Drugs and Chemicals Into Human Milk," published in Breastfeeding Abstracts:

"The COD [Committee on Drugs of the American Academy of Pediatrics] continues to feel that drugs of abuse are contraindicated in breastfeeding. This includes amphetamine, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and phencyclodine."

Aug. 2001 - Cheston Berlin, Jr., MD 

The US Department of Health and Human Services wrote in an online article "How Lifestyle Affects Breast Milk," located in its National Womens' Health Information Center section (accessed Oct. 18, 2005):

"If you are breastfeeding, you should not take illegal drugs. Some drugs, such as cocaine and PCP, can make the baby high. Other drugs, such as heroin and marijuana can cause irritability, poor sleeping patterns, tremors, and vomiting. Babies can become addicted to these drugs."

Oct. 18, 2005 - US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) 

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated in its 1996 online article "Breast Milk or Formula: Making the Right Choice for Your Baby," by Rebecca D. Williams and Isadora Stehlin:

"Some drugs, such as cocaine and PCP, can intoxicate the baby. Others, such as amphetamines, heroin and marijuana, can cause a variety of symptoms, including irritability, poor sleeping patterns, tremors, and vomiting. Babies become addicted to these drugs."

1996 - US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)