We know that there is a serious debate when it comes to how marijuana use affects a breastfeeding baby, and that it’s probably best if pregnant women don’t smoke weed, but what about mothers suffering from postpartum depression?
According to KXAN in Texas, mothers there are secretly using marijuana to treat postpartum depression, despite the fact medical marijuana is only legal for those who have severe epilepsy in the state. That means Child Protective Services could take their children away, but many say it’s the only drug that helps them live a normal life after giving birth.
“In a society that has changed very much in its understanding and encouragement to mothers rearing the next generation of world citizens, it is easy to lose sight of how overwhelming it can be to immerse yourself in motherhood,” an anonymous mother told KXAN.
The mother said her therapist/doctor told her that medical marijuana could be helpful for her postpartum depression, and she decided to try it. For her, it’s been a major help.
“It allows me to be present with my children whereas in the past I would be consumed with thoughts of the millions of things on my to-do list,” she said. “Playing dolls and Legos, reading the same book dozens of times in one day is something I can now do with joy and mindfulness.”
Sen. Jose Menendez, D-San Antonio, co-authored the bill that brought medical marijuana to Texas in the first place, and since hearing about mothers using marijuana to treat postpartum depression, he has stated it should be covered by medical marijuana laws. Menendez has introduced a bill that would expand what medical marijuana can be used for in Texas that could end up including the disorder.
“What I don’t understand is why it is that politicians feel like they can pick and choose which legitimate medicines are available for doctors to prescribe,” Sen. Menendez told KXAN. “All I’m trying to do is allow for medical doctors to be able to in consultation with their patients decide which course of medication is best for them.”
Medical marijuana has shown itself to be effective for treating PTSD, anxiety and general depression in some who have not seen benefits from other drugs. With that in mind, it’s not hard to imagine how marijuana could be beneficial for those experiencing postpartum depression.
“These are not people who are saying ‘lets get high,’” Dr. Bonni Goldstein, Medial Director of Canna-Centers in Los Angeles, told KXAN. “These are people who are saying ‘I have a real situation going on, I’ve seen my doctor, I’ve tried this medication and it’s not working. I need a different solution.’”
“It’s quite safe and it may work and we have this system in our brain that may be imbalanced and this plant may be the answer to put it back into balance,” Dr. Goldstein said. “Right now, we do not have good pharmaceuticals that could replace what the cannabis plant does.”
Studies have shown low doses of THC and higher doses of CBD are best for treating ailments like postpartum depression. Mothers should be careful if they’re breastfeeding, as the THC or CBD could be transferred to the child, and we’re not entirely sure what effects that might have.
[Photo by Jason Regan/Wikimedia]