Marijuana and its ingredients are some of the most widely used drugs throughout the entire world. In many countries it is far cheaper than smoking tobacco cigarettes, has more benefits, and has less of an addictive nature. Researchers estimate there are about 182 million users of marijuana globally. In the US, use is slowly rising as more states legalize its use for medicinal properties and also general use as well. This has brought about the concern that many pregnant and nursing mothers will be passing the main ingredients on to the fetus while pregnant and then their baby after birth.
Cannabinoids In Breast Milk Hasn’t Been As Widely Studied
One of the problems with studying an illegal drug is that it’s typically illegal. Plus, very few researchers would ever be willing to start a study that involves allowing infants to come in contact with an illegal drug due to the possibility of long-term side-effects. These issues and more, have restricted the study of mothers smoking marijuana and passing the cannabinoids on to their babies.
Now that several different forms of marijuana are available legally in some states, more research is now being done. There are other studies that are related, however, and these do have some bearing on the subject.
Receptors For Cannabinoids Are Naturally Occurring In the Human Body
There are actually a broad range of Cannabinoids, not all produce the high that many marijuana smokers are after. In fact, many of the medical marijuana users look for species of the plant that have higher amounts of pain blockers and fewer hallucinogens so that they can continue to function normally throughout the day while experiencing less pain.
It turns out that even newborn babies are equipped with cannabinoid receptors and mother’s milk contain a certain kind and quantity of the ingredients. The ingredient in milk has been named endocannabinoids and they are being investigated as a vital component to the development of babies and children. The also are believed to have a protective effect against cancer, viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens as well.
Of course, this raises the question of whether or not the mother’s smoking of marijuana for recreational purposes is hurting or helping their infant child. Some scientists believe that the smoking of marijuana by the mother may cause long-term cognitive function problems and problems with paying attention. However, other researchers have found that very little of the main ingredients actually pass through the breast milk and on to the baby. More sensitive tests are being developed in order to test the breast milk to study the amounts being passed on and absorbed by the baby.
As the debate rages on, there are many countries that have loosened up their laws and now allow the medical use of marijuana, as have many states. There are also several states that have legalized the use for recreational purposes and this has brought about higher strengths and more potent methods of delivery. Only time will tell whether the more powerful drugs will have a more profound affect on nursing infants, hopefully, the researchers will be a step ahead of the users.