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As more states legalize medicinal and recreational cannabis use and increasingly decriminalize cannabis, the risk to the growth and development of breastfeeding infants whose mothers use cannabis becomes a growing public health concern. The critical role that certified lactation consultants (CLCs) could play in postpartum management of cannabis use and a Call to Action to expand the role of CLCs is published in Breastfeeding Medicine.

The article entitled “Management of Cannabis Use in Breastfeeding Women: The Untapped Potential of Certified Lactation Consultants” was coauthored by Kara Skelton, Ph.D. and Sara Benjamin-Neelon, Ph.D., MD, MPH RD, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Baltimore, MD) and Kelly Young-Wolff, Ph.D., MPH, Kaiser Permanente Northern California (Oakland, CA) and University of California, San Francisco.

CLCs are specialized healthcare professionals who provide evidence-based support for the clinical management of breastfeeding. The authors encourage obstetricians and pediatricians to partner with CLCs to help identify women who are using cannabis while breastfeeding and to provide education and counseling to encourage them to suspend or at least minimize cannabis use while nursing. Data have shown that the active ingredient in cannabis is transferred to the infant via breastmilk and remains in the infant’s system for about 6 days, raising concern what adverse effect it may have on the infant’s long-term growth and neurodevelopment.

Arthur I. Eidelman, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Breastfeeding Medicine, states: “CLCs are a potential asset to the healthcare team caring for the maternal/infant dyad, and because of their intimate personal involvement with mothers they can serve as the critical professional in guiding nursing mothers on the proper use of cannabis products.”

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