Portland hospital refuses to allow medical cannabis-using to breastfeed


Commons/Iris Ventura Crosby.
A baby nursing, from WikiMedia Commons.

Despite the overwhelming evidence to suggest that breastfeeding a baby within the first few days of life greatly improve their health over time, a hospital in Portland, Oregon refused to allow Crystal Cain to nurse her premature newborn.
Their reason? She used medical cannabis occasionally during her pregnancy as a natural alternative to pharmaceutical drugs to help deal with her nausea and anxiety at the suggestion of her midwife.

Cain delivered her child last week. It was two months early and needed to be in an incubator to survive. But instead of having it’s mother’s milk, the child was forced to either take formula or donated milk.
Even when she left the hospital, doctors made her sign a waiver discussing the possible risk to her child if she continued to breastfeed while using cannabis. Cain says she is sure she isn’t passing on THC to her child. Studies on the use of cannabis while breastfeeding are mixed.
Most show that mothers can pass on THC to infants via breast milk — one study says roughly .8 percent of what you ingested. One study out of Texas Tech University concluded that the levels aren’t enough to get your baby stoned, but they could possibly alter long-term neuro-behavioral functions. The study also noted that infants exposed to THC in breast milk can test positive for up to three weeks. It is unclear if the study only tested THC metabolites (which would be likely) and not actual active THC that could be getting the child “stoned”.
Either way, it is enough to get authorities called on parents for child abuse, even in cannabis-tolerant states like Oregon. In 2012, after her child tested positive for THC metabolyntes likely passed through breast milk, a mom in Butte County, California lost her children.