One of the most nerve-racking moments of being a new parent is dealing with digestive issues. There is a certain desperation that comes with having a newborn screaming in misery, which is why some parents consider a wide variety of formulas.
The internet is full of cow milk alternatives, along with anecdotal evidence of how well they work. Alternatives include soy, goat, rice, oat, coconut, almond, and hemp, with each boasting different benefits. While there is not enough research material to support any claims, many testimonials contain stories of babies who are finally able to digest their food.
Despite a growing popularity, hemp in any form remains controversial when you bring children into the conversation. But adding hemp milk to a child’s diet may be beneficial. In addition to containing all 10 amino acids, hemp milk has loads of nutritional benefits like magnesium, zinc, calcium, potassium, and Omega 3s, 6s and 9s.
Even with hemp being cholesterol-free and an excellent source of protein, the consensus from the medical community is that breast milk is still superior to all alternatives. Dr. Michele Ross, author of Vitamin Weed: A 4-Step Plan to Prevent and Reverse Endocannabinoid Deficiency, states that breast milk is best when possible, but hemp milk can be a good alternative.
“While hemp baby formula may have a better nutritional profile for infants than traditional infant formula, it is still not preferred over breast milk. That said, many women have issues breastfeeding, cannot breastfeed due to issues like concurrently being on chemotherapy or other toxic drugs, or simply cannot breastfeed due to the time commitment. For those mothers, hemp baby formula may be a solution that provides the building blocks of a healthy endocannabinoid system in their child.”
Having a healthy endocannabinoid system (ECS) is essential to a child; depleted ECSs are found in autoimmune diseases, migraines, fibromyalgia, IBS, and multiple mental health conditions. The ECS impacts all areas of physical and mental health, so having a balance is crucial. Adding hemp to a baby’s diet is an easy way to strike that balance, but misconceptions and misinformation make it difficult to introduce that idea to the mainstream.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that hemp milk is psychoactive, making the child high. Dr.Ross, who touches on this topic briefly in her course Cannabis and Motherhood, denies this claim.
“A lot of mothers believe hemp milk is dangerous because it contains THC or CBD. In fact, hemp milk is made from the hemp seed, which contains no THC, and no CBD, even if the flowers of the hemp plant contain CBD. So, the benefits of the hemp milk come completely from its omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins, not any cannabinoids. There is absolutely no way a child being fed hemp baby formula would test positive for cannabis or THC.”
Taking this all into consideration, it can be tempting to try hemp baby formula. Unfortunately, the lack of clinical comparison makes it difficult to present the idea to a pediatrician. As Dr. Ross says, hemp is beneficial, but lack of data means moving slowly.
“It is possible to boost the baby's endocannabinoid system and promote immune system function, brain growth, and even weight gain by introducing hemp milk formula over traditional formula. Linoleic acid is rich in hemp milk formula and has been shown to increase levels of the endocannabinoid’s anandamide and 2-AG. The building blocks of anandamide are actually the fatty acids linoleic acid and arachidonic acid, both omega-6 fatty acids. However, clinical research on hemp baby formula vs regular baby formula vs breastfeeding has not been performed, and the lack of clinical data means healthcare professionals and mothers should take caution before recommending or choosing hemp baby formula.”
Diana-Ashley Krach is a freelance writer, journalist, and content creator whose work can be found on Everyday Feminism, Ravishly, and Playboy. She is the co-host and creator of Your Highness Podcast and founder of Good Vibes Marketing Agency. You can find her on Twitter or on her website.