Is it Safe to Use CBD Oil While Pregnant or Breastfeeding?
Is it bad to use CDB while pregnant? Experts explain if CBD is for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
CBD oil is touted online as a one-stop remedy for relieving inflammation, stress, anxiety, nausea, and more. Many of those ailments are often pregnancy symptoms, and it may seem like an easy fix to use CBD oil for relief. But like all medications and supplements, it is essential to do some investigation before using CBD products while pregnant.
Your healthcare provider should have the final say on what is considered safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, to help moms-to-be and breastfeeding mothers with the preliminary footwork, we’ve compiled answers, backed by medical advice and research, to some of the most common questions about the use of CBD.
What is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is made from extractions from the cannabis plant and diluted into a neutral, edible oil. Even though CBD oil comes from the same plant as marijuana, it does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana that has psychoactive effects.
The CBD market is still relatively new and unexplored, and for much of the 20th, it was illegal to grow the hemp plant in the United States. Therefore, not much research has been done into the therapeutic benefits of using CBD recreationally or medicinal purposes.
Currently, CBD is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so products may contain THC even when it is listed they do not. However, a 2017 report by the World Health Organization states that CBS oil is not addictive nor leads to drug abuse and should be considered safe. It is important to note that this study did not look into the effects of CBD oil on pregnant and nursing mothers.
Commons Uses of CBD Oil
CBD can be applied to the skin topically, inhaled through a vapor pen, or eaten in an edible and is a common treatment for chronic pain or mental health conditions.
Medical marijuana is commonly used to treat:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Epilepsy and seizures
- Multiple sclerosis and muscle spasms
- Severe and chronic pain
- Severe nausea or vomiting caused by cancer treatment
CBD oil is believed to have benefits for many of the same conditions as well as acne, anxiety, and neurodegenerative disorders.
Some pregnant women consider using CBD products to relieve unwanted pregnancy side effects such as:
- Morning sickness and nausea
- Trouble sleeping
- Anxiety or stress
Research of the Effect of CBD Oil on Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
Studies on CBD oil and pregnancy and breastfeeding have not been conducted comprehensively, which means there is a gap in the research. However, there has been research conducted on the effects of marijuana during pregnancy and breastfeeding and the effects of CBD oil on other types of patients.
Marijuana Use and Pregnancy
The Surgeon General advises against using marijuana during pregnancy and warns that when THC enters the mother’s bloodstream, it can affect the developing fetus.
Marijuana use while pregnant can lead to:
- Low birth weight
- Abnormal brain development
- Disruptions or changes to the endocannabinoid system during fetal development
Cannabis products are the number one illicit drug used by pregnant women in the United States. While it is legal in some states and cities, using products containing THC carries potential risks, similar to alcohol use during pregnancy, to your developing baby.
Marijuana Use and Breastfeeding
Research on marijuana use while breastfeeding is limited and inconclusive. But the CDC reports that chemicals from marijuana, in any form, can be passed to your baby through breast milk. Therefore the CDC recommends that breastfeeding mothers avoid marijuana use.
In terms of CBD oil, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises against its use while breastfeeding because even without THC, the oils can still contain harmful contaminants such as pesticides, fungus, heavy metals, and bacteria.
Common CBD Oil Risks
Pregnant or not, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved CBD oil for use in any application except for one prescription drug for children who have epilepsy.
At this time, the known risks for CBD outweigh the known benefits. In addition to containing contaminants, high doses of CBD oil put individuals at risk for:
- Liver damage
- Extreme sleepiness and fatigue
- Possible side effects or harmful interactions with prescription medications
So, Is CBD Safe During Pregnancy?
It is believed that topical applications applied to the skin are less likely to enter your bloodstream, which could affect the placenta than tinctures or edibles, making some ointments and creams a safer option.
There is currently no research showing that CBD oil is safe during pregnancy or for breastfeeding women, but no studies show that topical ointments and creams are not safe.
We know that cannabis use, when smoked as marijuana or ingested as an edible, is potentially harmful to unborn and breastfed babies. THC has been linked to stillbirth and poor brain development. Neither the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists nor the American Academy of Pediatrics supports THC or CBD oil usage during pregnancy or postpartum while nursing.
The best advice we can share with you is to discuss with your ob-gyn the potential benefits to your health and weigh them against the possible risks to your developing or nursing baby. All medications pose a risk, but safer and more tested medications or supplements may be available than cannabinoids during pregnancy.
Looking for other ways to cope with anxiety during pregnancy? Here are five strategies to dealing with gestational anxiety.
CBD Oil for Pregnancy: How Moms Are Using It
More moms are turning to therapeutic products made with CBD, or cannabidiol, and some swear it helped offer relief while they were expecting. Here’s what these moms—and experts—say about CBD during pregnancy.
December 9, 2018
Touted for offering a bevy of benefits, from pain relief to stress management, CBD, or cannabidiol, is having a real moment. The component of either a marijuana or hemp plant is non-psychoactive, unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)—which only comes from marijuana—and is popping up in therapeutic products all over the internet and country. From drinking CBD mocktails as an alternative to wine to caring for sore muscles with a CBD salve or soaking in a tub with a CBD-lace bath bomb, moms everywhere are loving its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-psychotic, anti-convulsant, and antidepressant properties.
These properties are research-proven. Clinical research has shown that CBD, which is generally taken orally as a tincture or in an edible form, can be therapeutically useful for managing anxiety and depression, chronic pain, sleep disorders, and seizure disorders. There’s also clinical evidence that CBD can be effective in suppressing nausea and vomiting, both symptoms commonly encountered by expectant moms. So, it’s no surprise that some pregnant women are getting on-board with, or simply curious about, CBD use.
What Moms Say
Maggie Frank, a mom who is also the National Educator for PlusCBD Oil, says she’s seen the product “used by women during pregnancy to help with a wide range of complaints including morning sickness, stress and anxiety, sleeplessness, food aversions as well as the aches, pains and cramps that accompany pregnancy for many.”
When Frank herself was expecting in 2015, prior to joining the company, she says she suffered from hypermesis gravitum (HG), a condition marked by chronic, severe morning sickness. “I was getting sick 20-30 times a day, was unable to nourish myself or my baby, and was constantly flirting with dehydration,” she tells Parents.com. “The medicine typically prescribed for this has a slew of potential side effects, so I refused it. My symptoms actually got worse with each passing month, to a point where my doctor was recommending bed rest in the fourth month.”
That’s when she says she started researching and learned about CBD. She was so intrigued that she discussed it with her doctor who she says “didn’t have an opinion either way, other than it didn’t seem like it would be worse than the pharmaceutical’s risks, and we needed to figure something out fast.”
Frank says she started with 3 mg of PlusCBDOil Green peppermint spray, and got relief, the very first day. “It was like someone flipped off the switch that was making me feel sick at all times,” she explains. “I was once again able to move, sleep and eat without feeling the need to vomit. Even my over sensitivity to smells dissipated!” She says that over the course of her pregnancy, she also experienced a “reduction in stress and anxiety levels, better mood, more patience, better sleep, and less aches and pains.”
Like Frank, Jennifer Farris, a health coach, yoga instructor, and mom who gave birth to her son just this past September, attests to the benefit of CBD use during pregnancy. “CBD oils noticeably reduced my anxiety during pregnancy and made it easy to fall asleep,” she tells Parents.com. “They also helped lessen joint pain with all the changes in my body during pregnancy. I used Sunday Scaries CBD Gummies, and their products are third-party lab tested to ensure there are zero traces of THC.”
What the Experts Say
The fact is that many—if not most—ob-gyns who would express concern and hesitate to recommend CBD use during pregnancy, in part due to the existing body of research, which is limited and has stated that cannabinoids could be harmful to both moms and their babies.
“The concern with phytocannabinoid/CBD supplementation and pregnancy is due to the unknown,” Frank notes. “We currently don’t have long-term research as to what happens years down the road as a result of utilizing hemp extracts in utero. Any woman using phytocannabinoids products should be aware of this and make her decision accordingly, preferably with her doctor.”
Felice Gersh, MD, ob-gyn and founder/director of the Integrative Medical Practice of Irvine in Irvine, California corroborates that experts’ concern is related to lacking data and “the fact that production is poorly regulated in most states.” While that remains to be the case, she advises her pregnant patients to avoid using CBD.
That said, Congress is poised to lift a federal hemp ban this month, that, according to The Hill, “will for the first time allow lawmakers to develop and impose best manufacturing practices and standards for this nascent industry—policies that will ultimately lead to a safer and better-quality product for consumers.”
The social, political, and scientific turning of the tide may ultimately reshape experts’ take on CBD for expectant moms. In the meantime, women are definitely advised to work with their health care provider to create a safe, healthy treatment plan that is best for them.