Texas Moms Discuss Using Marijuana For Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression
Postpartum depression

Texas has some of the toughest laws in the country regarding drug use, but they could shockingly ease up when it comes to new mothers using marijuana to battle postpartum depression.

Approximately 6.5% to 12% of new mothers experience postpartum depression, an unpredictable mood disorder that remains largely unexplained by medical professionals.  But Austin-based TV station KXAN reported that many women in the city are using marijuana to help combat this. A new bill has even been introduced in the Texas Senate that seeks to expand marijuana use for a wider array of health issues, including postpartum depression.

“I couldn’t get out of bed,” recalled Celia Behar. “I didn’t want to hurt her or anybody else. I just wanted to hurt myself and more than anything, I just wanted to disappear.”

A doctor prescribed Prozac, which left Behar with numbness, tremors and migraines, but after the birth of her second daughter, she turned to marijuana, first in joint form and later as an oil and edible. “It worked right away,” she said. “There are no lasting side effects. [And] my rage was gone – I didn’t have that anymore.”

Marijuana remains illegal in Texas save for small amounts of cannabis oil for use with certain forms of epilepsy, as detailed in the Texas Compassionate Act, which Governor Greg Abbott has been firm in his refusal to expand any further.

But as one woman who spoke anonymously to KXAN noted, the results were worth the risk. “I determined that this is something that helps me so immensely that I would be irresponsible to bypass,” she wrote in an email. “This is not a decision I take lightly.”

The medical profession appears to be divided as to marijuana’s efficacy for postpartum depression. Dr. Bonni Goldstein, medical director of Canna-Centers of Los Angeles, has patients with postpartum depression for whom she has prescribed marijuana, and believes that if the patient qualifies for use to treat their condition, they should be allowed to use it.

“These are not people who are saying, ‘Let’s get high,'” she noted. “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.”

But Dr. Carly Snyder, a New York-based reproductive and perinatal psychiatrist, believes that not enough research has been conducted to prove that marijuana is an effective treatment. “There are limited studies that suggest that there may be some motor delays for babies who are exposed to the metabolites of marijuana via breast milk,” she said.

Snyder believes that treatment is essential for mothers experiencing postpartum depression, but also said that other alternatives may prove just as effective. “If they want to go a natural route, acupuncture can be wonderful, [and] meditation is excellent,” she said.