Google+ Authentic Parenting: Medicinal Marihuana And Parenting

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Medicinal Marihuana And Parenting

After publishing "Parenting in Pain", I got this email message from a reader. Given the topic, she
preferred to remain anonymous.

I have severe chronic pain from migraines. Uncontrollable. Pain so bad I vomit. Almost all the time. The doctors prescribe me pain killers and such (which I really really don't like taking) that I will use only if I have to. I've trialled almost everything known to man to prevent them without success.
However. There is one thing that helps me. Helps me stay peaceful. Relaxed. Even during the pain. It doesn't mask the pain or numb me out and make me loopy like pills. It just helps me deal with it better and in a calm manner. Marijuana. Not a lot. Just a puff or two. Keeps me from losing my cool with my kids when I am at my limits with pain. Makes the pain "just pain" and not a life consuming, agonizing state of being that I cannot escape. I don't know the laws in most places, but where I am, I have obtained a medical permit to possess and use (grow if I choose). I don't drive on it. I don't make major decisions while under the influence. but I do Breastfeed. I know who grows what I smoke (The little I do smoke). I know there are no chemicals or other drugs added. I don't smoke in the presence of my children. I believe it is less harmful than taking a vicodan. It's a homeopathic herb with pain relieving properties. It works. It's therapeutic.  
My OB knows. My Children's Pediatrician knows. My Lactation Consultant knew. They all feel the same way ( Although they could not say that until they were informed it was legal for me to use. ) They all think it's a safe and therapeutic homeopathic medicine. 
Aforero on Flickr
If you would, repost this without my name, anonymously. I would really like to know what the Mommy community thinks. This is a subject I have NEVER seen on any Mom Blog before. Thank you.
Since it is indeed a topic that doesn't get any attention, I decided to repost this, as requested, to get your opinion about it. I know many of you are avid readers and I was wondering if maybe someone had links to articles about the topic.
Personally I am very open-minded about Marihuana - I am Belgian after all - and I can't see the harm in rationally using it medicinally. Nor would I see a problem in using it recreationally when not pregnant/breastfeeding and when used wisely, same as alcohol, which - like smoking - is a much more dangerous drug to me, but which is fully legal.



  1. I see nothing wrong with the responsible legal use of medical mj. I also think it is probably a much safer & non-addictive alternative to pain killers. I do not agree with illegal mj usage, especially when children are involved. The risk of legal repercussions far out weighs the pros in the US at this time. I believe that this is a useful herb that has been given a bad rep & has been abused (just like alcohol). Kudos to the mom for speaking out!

  2. I think as a medicine marijuana is perfectly valid. Where I live it's prescribed for a multitude of problems. The side effects are minimal to none. I think that as long as you are not overdoing it (my same thoughts as on xanax or clonipan or other drugs) it's fine.

  3. Other people may not agree with me but I don't see a problem with it. To me, it's like having a glass or two of wine at the end of a stressful day. If it helps you be a better parent, then so be it. And like stated above, is less harmful than alcohol, and since you have a license, it's legal.

    As far as breastfeeding goes, as stated in "Medications and Mother's Milk" by Thomas Hale, the only thing they list as a side affect for infants is possible sedation. It also says that in a "chronic heavy" user, the dose received is insufficient to produce significant side affects in infants. But, an infant will test positive in urine screens. This is in the 11th edition. I'm pretty sure that in the newest edition it says there are no known side affects.

  4. Thanks to all of you for commenting. I am sure this will give the mother in question heaps of courage. She is indeed a very courageous mother who has passed through difficult times and had to make tough decisions for her children

  5. I have friends in chronic pain and nursed a father through cancer and chemo and radiation and I've seen how marijuana can help people. I've also seen some people make it the organizing principle in their life and smoke a lot and it becomes most of their source of joy, humor, and the thing they're thinking about and organizing their day around. They do themselves and their loved ones no favors with this activity and even though pot is supposed to be non-addictive, these behaviors make me wonder. I have compassion for addiction but I wish more people would recognize and acknowledge it when they're in the grips.

    I grew up in a pot smoking and drinking home and as a child I really hated it. I worried that there wasn't someone around who had it together. I had a deep distrust of the "grownups" in my life because they seemed like a bunch of flakey people who's lives consisted around waiting till the end of the day to "loosen up" and/or party.

    But you know what I really, really think? My resentment (now) and fear and confusion (then) wasn't about booze and drugs. I think if the grownups had been honest and owned their habit, admit they used pot and drink to cope with life, THAT would have made my mind easier. As it is no one in that entire side of the family admits to their alcoholism and smoking addiction (if you could call it that). As a child it was the denial that was confusing and insulting. And it need not be said, I'm just one person and that's how I remember it. Not every child will experience things the way I did. Hiding it though... I think that can often be the worse thing you can do for your kid.

    I want to say two other things. One, marijuana is out there and lots of people smoke it and you're right, very few mom-blogs ever talk about it. So thank you for bringing it up. Two, I hate that when a mom has the ovaries to own up to something she does, she is bound to be lambasted about a hundred percent more than any other person admitting to the same behavior. It's hard to be a mom and be allowed to be a human being!

    To the original poster, thank you for bringing this up. I'm so glad this is legal for you, so you can tell your professionals and get honest opinions from them.

    Funnily enough I just watched 1938's Reefer Madness last night. Ha! I'm sure that movie drove more people to smoking than prevented.

  6. Toke up, Mamas!

    I smoked (heavily) throughout my entire pregnancy and I still smoke every day even though I'm also breastfeeding. Our little one is just perfect - bright, happy, strong, and hasn't even been sick a day in her life.

    The more research you do about the topic, the more you'll see it's not as bad as people portray it to be.

    Here are some links...

    The only thing I feel badly about it that it is still illegal, even though it's decriminalized where we live, and I'll have to explain that to her.

    Good luck, ladies!

  7. i think you just have to make a judgement call like you would any drug. if the benefit outweighs the risk, then its all good. i personally would never use it recreationally whilst pregnant, just as i would never smoke, drink or take any medical drug that isnt completely necessary.

  8. Completely agree, Imogen, it's a matter of weighing the benefits against the negative effects. I think the mom who wrote me the letter has made that call with serious consideration, and as you say, recreational use is a whole different point.
    I stopped smoking when pregnant, didn't do any drugs and drank only one sip of wine.

  9. Great topic and kudos to you for bringing up this issue. It should be a personal choice. Your anonymous mom sounds very responsible. She wants to medicate to treat her pain but she also is also thinking about her kids welfare. The key is responsibility and making sure the kids are fine. I don't blame her for not wanting to take heavy pharmaceutical drugs. She should follow her heart and do what's best for her and her family. I'm glad her child's pediatrician is on board. This is an issue that needs more discussion. It's hard for mom bloggers to be absolutely open about this issue for worry of judgement, lack of sponsorship and because every word you type on the internet is permanent!
    Namaste and Happy New Year.
    ~ Carol

  10. I know this one is from ages ago, but perhaps you would be willing to pass this point on to the mother who wrote the post. What I wanted to say is that I don't see any problem with her using it, and I agree that, from what she says, it seems to be the best choice for her – much better than her being incapacitated by migraines. But there's another question that no-one seems to be addressing here; namely, whether it's wise for her to continue breastfeeding while she uses it.

    We don't really know anything very helpful about what effect marijuana in breastmilk might have on babies, because the only studies that have been done are too short-term to tell us anything about possible later-life effects. But we do know that it gets through into the milk. We do know that marijuana will build up in a person's body over time, so the effect would be cumulative as time went on. And we know, from studying young teenagers who've used it, that long-term side-effects on the developing brain appear to include an increased risk of mental illness.

    We don't, of course, know whether that last would apply at all to babies who receive it in breastmilk, because the amount they get is a tiny fraction of what a teenager gets from smoking a joint; but it does raise worrying questions about what the adverse effects on a developing, vulnerable brain *might* be. Bear in mind that, as I said, those small amounts are going to build up gradually in the baby's body over time. Do they reach a level where they can be potentially harmful? We simply don't know one way or the other. Is it really wise to risk it? I would say not.

    I do realise that this is an extremely tough decision – the unknown risks have to be balanced against the known risks of formula, which do seem to include at least a slight negative effect on IQ, so formula-feeding obviously causes at least slight problems with brain development. But the loss of a few IQ points is a much less potentially serious thing to deal with than mental illness, and a child who has been nursed through the early months will already have most of the benefits of having been breastfed. I do think the risks are something I would think *very* long and hard about subjecting a child to, and that, in this case, it would be better for this child to be weaned.

  11. I really think it would be better to provide a baby with milk from the mother than to provide the baby with artificially produced baby milk and that would mean for me that it would be better to no continue with any formed habit whether that be medical or not.


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