An Oregon woman was briefly prevented from breastfeeding her newborn daughter by staff at a Portland-area hospital because she smokes pot. She was eventually allowed to do so after she signed a waiver, Examiner is reporting.
Crystal Cain, a medical-marijuana cardholder in Oregon, gave birth to her baby daughter Karrisma last week, eight weeks premature. During her pregnancy, Crystal admits that she smoked pot, on the advice of her midwife, for nausea and anxiety. Because Karrisma was so small, she was immediately placed in an incubator. When it came time to breastfeed Karrisma, Crystal was denied access, because she smoked pot.
Eventually the hospital allowed Crystal to breastfeed Karrisma, but not before making her sign a waiver. Dr. Charles Kilo, chief medical officer at Oregon Health Science University, said in a statement:
“We had the mom sign a waiver acknowledging the use of marijuana and the potential risks involved in it. We do understand the benefits of mothers’ milk. We also don’t want to be caught in a situation where a mother continues to use and says that we never gave her information on it, never informed about the risks, and so it’s really a way of documenting that the parents acknowledge the risks. And we can’t stop her from using it.”
For her part, Crystal believes that the use of marijuana while pregnant or breastfeeding is perfectly safe. She told KOMO-TV:
“There are several studies that indicate that [THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana] doesn’t, it can’t transfer through your milk ducts. Your body automatically kind of filters it.”
In fact, though, the science of whether or not smoking pot while pregnant or breastfeeding is bad for the baby is far from clear. But in general, the medical community cautions against it. For example, Baby Center says:
“If you smoke marijuana and breastfeed, the active chemical in marijuana is passed to your baby through your milk. For this reason, most experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, advise nursing moms to abstain from marijuana while breastfeeding.”
Legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use has brought up several sticky issues for both government and the private sector to work through. In addition to the matter of pot smoking and children, there’s also the fact some children in Colorado have gotten sick after eating their parents’ legal “edibles” — that is, candies or other food products that contain THC (see this Inquisitr article).
Is Crystal Cain in the right for refusing to give up pot smoking while breastfeeding? Or should her daughter be taken from her custody until she gives up pot? Let us know what you think in the comments.
[Image courtesy of: KOMO News]