Lit Tits : Cannabis & Lactation - Pt. 2 - Let’s Get Rollin’


As a perinatal health professional who is in support of the responsible cannabis consumption amongst parents and a self proclaimed Blactivist (Black breastfeeding advocate) I see similarities embodied in these two let’s call them, subcultures, that both promote feelings of relaxation, happiness and peace. For some, the act of breastfeeding and rolling a joint or packing a bowl, each on their own can provide deeply meditative experiences. Many parents benefit from a little moment of herbal self care or holistic wellness. Being a parent is freaking hard, and you thought adulting was tough! In walks La Ganga, here to save you from all your interconception and postpartum anxieties, worries and pains.

But, is it ok to use it if I'm also lactating? Many parents want to know! I recently started this blog series Lit Tits to educate, inform and empower parents who choose to consume cannabis while lactating. This volume 2, let's get rollin’...



A new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows how breast milk containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active chemical in cannabis, may have no dangers to preterm babies. This new finding could mean that healthy parents with babies in the NICU can safely feed their newborns while consuming products with THC. Researchers compared 763 preterm infants, 17% of whom were fed THC-positive human milk to infants who were formula-fed or with no THC present, and found no difference in breathing difficulty, lung development, or feeding issues between these babies. This study provides us data points that show parents could continue to breastfeed as much as possible if interested even if using THC. The dose and duration for THC with regards to human milk desperately need to be researched to determine the outcomes of THC and CBD exposure according to gestational age to answer questions like--Is a 28 week born baby any more vulnerable than a 40 week born baby who receives milk with THC components? This would for certain help parents to feel better about making informed decisions with their cannabis consumption and help guide professionals to have these conversations with their care team with confidence.

While there is not enough information to form a concise recommendation. If a lactating person tells me they are using or wanting to use cannabis, I first ask if they have access to a breast pump, not for them to “pump and dump” but more on that later, but instead to have a way to protect their breastfeeding relationship as they make decisions on whether to consume or not while lactating so they have some way to feed the baby their milk while they partake in the festivities. If they don’t have a pump I help them get one, then they can feel good about providing for their baby some milk while they “wait it out”. I’ll explain more on the timing and method of choice for cannabis and lactation next article.


We also discuss the benefits of human milk as well as the possible risks involved with cannabis crossing into the milk through the blood brain barrier. It’s a shame that we don’t have solid evidence backed science to help us develop at least a group consensus in order to best counsel these families. Stay tuned, the next blog will go into depth on the half-life of cannabis in regards to infant feeding and making human milk. Cannabis helps many parents to relax, navigate their anxiety, and generally help them feel a bit more content if the baby blues try to creep up. Yes, I say parents because it’s a fact that up to 50% of dads/partners experience postpartum depression after a baby is born. In the end, when considering how little actually passes through to the milk some people believe the benefits of breastfeeding may far outweigh the risks of breastfeeding & cannabis use and in their situation, they might be right.


📸photo credit: Chardá feeding a bottle to a doula baby

I was inspired to write this blog series because I’ve seen firsthand some of my clients who’ve tested positive for THC be labeled, shamed and judged only to receive no lactation support when needed due to bias and discrimination. That’s now how I roll when it comes to helping people and babies. If parents want to consume cannabis and breast/chestfeed it is their ultimately their choice not mine to convince them to do it one way or another. I’m hear to provide the facts and allow that family to make an informed decision with it. Lactation consultants and other health/medical professionals, have a duty to uphold to provide unbiased comprehenaive education & care, which means regardless of how we feel or what our own personal decisions are we can‘t reflect that by not teaching when and what we can. In the meantime, based on these findings, I’ll remain optimistic for what the future brings for parents as cannabis and lactation research continues.

If you are a parent and have more questions about this topic, send a message, comment, DM or book a consult. If you’d like to be connected to a cannabis and lactation study as a consume, I can send you some reputable sources, because helping with research helps the world.


Until next week! #wellnesswednesday


Consume responsibly. Education + Informed Decision Making = Empowerment

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Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK501587/


https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/10/211008083531.htm

https://www.parents.com/news/cannabis-while-breastfeeding-study/

https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-special-circumstances/vaccinations-medications-drugs/marijuana.html




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