Does the Risk of Exposure to Marijuana Outweigh the Benefits of Breastfeeding? A Systematic Review


Jamie A. Seabrook, PhD, Catherine R. Biden, MScFN, RD, and Emily E. Campbell, MScFN, RD



Little is known about the risks associated with marijuana use by mothers during the breastfeeding period. A search of CINAHL, Cochrane, Embase, ProQuest Nursing, and PubMed was conducted using a variety of text words and database MeSH terms, including cannabis, medical marijuana, lactation, breastfeeding, marijuana abuse, and marijuana smoking. Articles included both human and animal studies, and there were no language or date restrictions. Hand search and reference lists were also used to access grey literature or any other important articles. Six articles met the inclusion criteria (n = 3 human studies and n = 3 animal studies). In four of the six studies meeting our inclusion criteria, maternal marijuana exposure was associated with detrimental effects, most notably decreased motor development of children at one year of age and lasting neurodevelopmental changes in rats. Breastfeeding mothers should be advised to reduce or cease their marijuana use completely.


marijuana, cannabis, breastfeeding, infant, lactation

This article has been peer reviewed.


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