Dear Stoner: I know the Stoner is on paternity leave. So I wonder, as a parent of a newborn, what precautions do you take when smoking marijuana?
Dear Sugar Babe: This is Hazel Kush, guest Stoner — and also a new mom. There isn't a whole lot of scientific research that's been done on the effects of marijuana on newborns — partially because parents who puff aren't likely to be 100 percent honest about it when questioned, and partially because the few studies that have been conducted don't always control for other substance use, so research subjects could be puffing ganja, smoking cigarettes and downing alcohol. How do you pinpoint which substance caused a problem under those circumstances?
All that said, there are some guidelines that parents of newborns should think about before packing up that celebratory post-partum bowl. If Mom is breastfeeding, she'll want to continue abstaining from any products containing marijuana. And because THC is fat-soluble — and breast milk is high in fat — it's unlikely that pumping and dumping any milk made after the buzz wears off would get rid of all the THC in the milk; that THC could be stored in your little miracle's fatty tissue for several weeks. Not only is that undesirable from an infant-health standpoint, but if for some awful reason your child has to go to the hospital and has his or her blood tested there, you could find yourself dealing with the authorities instead of merely a hefty hospital bill.
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Dad gets a little bit more leeway — but he shouldn't go sparking up any blunts just yet! Cigarette smoking in both parents has been linked to a significant increase in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) as a result of secondhand-smoke exposure. Granted, cigarette smoke and pot smoke are not exactly the same, but to err on the safe side, Pops should don a smoking jacket and step outside before lighting up. Then take the jacket off and wash up — at least your hands, but preferably your face and teeth, too — before picking up the baby again.
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Of course, there are ways to partake that don't involve smoke at all, like using a vaporizer or edibles. Those are safer than smoking at this stage of your kid's development, so consider switching methods until your baby is at least a year old and no longer at high risk for SIDS.
And as with drinking, make sure there's always at least one sober adult in the house who can drive your little bundle of joy quickly and safely to the hospital should the need arise.