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Can Pregnant Women Use CBD?

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CBD is known to benefit several different conditions.

Research shows that the non-psychoactive cannabinoid can potentially help with just about everything. Anxiety. Epilepsy. Chronic pain. Menstrual cramps. Crohn’s. Parkinson’s. Multiple sclerosis…and much, much more.

Because of the myriad of therapeutic benefits CBD shows to contain, countless people are using it to revolutionize their health. Including pregnant women.

CBD is known to reduce nausea (hello morning sickness), reduce inflammation (think sore, swollen feet), and combat basically ALL types of anxiety (having a baby can be terrifying, you know).

But what about using CBD during pregnancy?

Is it safe?

Why are pregnant women suddenly so interested in CBD at all?

Let’s see.

Why might pregnant women be interested in CBD?

While the effects of CBD on pregnancy haven’t been researched, many women are interested in taking it while pregnant. Why? Simple. Because it can help reduce many of the symptoms associated with pregnancy.

Here are a few reasons why more pregnant women than ever before are interested in taking CBD.

Morning Sickness

Morning sickness is a common side effect of pregnancy that affects more than half of pregnant women. A 2011 study highlights the fact that there is a large body of evidence that supports that manipulating the endocannabinoid system can help regulate nausea and vomiting. It’s believed that the anti-nausea effects of CBD are mediated by the indirect activation of serotonin receptors.

Pain

Growing a baby for nine months doesn’t come without its share of pain. From cramps and general discomfort experienced as the body goes through several changes, pain is an inevitable part of being pregnant. CBD is known to help reduce even difficult to treat pain and inflammation and has become a popular natural alternative to many OTC pain relievers such as Tylenol and Aleve.  

Anxiety

Ask any woman that’s had a baby. Being pregnant is an extremely emotional time that can be seriously stressful. Anxiety is very common during pregnancy, as there is so much uncertainty associated with it. Because CBD has shown to be so effective in managing anxiety, some pregnant women turn to the cannabinoid during pregnancy to naturally reduce symptoms of anxiety and/or depression.

Sleep

Did you know that insomnia affects almost 80 percent of pregnant women? This is a huge reason many pregnant women are interested in using CBD during pregnancy. Preliminary research suggests that CBD could have therapeutic potential in the treatment of insomnia. A 2013 study also found that CBD helps to increase total sleep time.

Is CBD Safe to Use During Pregnancy?

While the World Health Organization (WHO) has deemed CBD safe, there simply haven’t been enough studies to determine how it might affect a developing fetus. There’s just no telling the impact CBD might have on pregnancy.

To date, THC has been more widely studied than CBD. But there still aren’t many studies that have been performed with either cannabinoid on pregnant women.

There is one study, however, that looked at the effects of smoking marijuana on the babies of mothers in rural Jamaica. In a five-year follow-up report, results showed no significant developmental differences between children of marijuana-smoking mothers and mothers that did not consume marijuana when pregnant.

Okay, there’s one study. But it hardly highlights that THC is safe during pregnancy.

But what about CBD?

Is there any research that shows its good or bad for developing babies?

A 2017 study touched upon the subject and found that giving mother rats CBD during pregnancy reduced the risk that their offspring would develop behavior and memory problems when exposed to infection in the womb.

A 2018 study found that pregnant rats treated with CBD prevents inflammation and has a positive effect on the intestinal tract of developing offspring.

These studies certainly don’t allude that CBD is in any way safe for developing infants, though.

Medical professionals aren’t exactly on board with the use of CBD during pregnancy. Not only is there not enough research that proves its safe to use during pregnancy, but there’s also the fact that CBD alters the endocannabinoid system, which is vital for fetal neurological development.

It’s been suggested that the endocannabinoid system plays an integral role in a developing infant. There’s apprehension that cannabis compounds (like THC and CBD) could interfere in the natural developmental process, which could cause problems in the future.

During early pregnancy, anandamide levels are naturally reduced. There’s concern that because CBD can raise anandamide levels that it could somehow interfere with fetal development.

What are the short or long term implications of something like this? There’s simply no telling. Research on the subject is scant…and until there’s more, it’s all but impossible to say.

So Can Pregnant Women Use CBD?

Any pregnant woman interested in using CBD during pregnancy is highly advised to speak to their doctor before doing so. Because of the serious lack of research of the effects of CBD on the developing fetus, there’s no way to say if pregnant women should use CBD or not.

A 2013 study did find, however, that CBD could enhance the permeability of the human placenta barrier, which could endanger the developing fetus. What exactly does this mean? With enhanced permeability, the chances of potentially harmful substances penetrating through the placenta and into the fetus are increased.

Should pregnant women turn to CBD to help reduce symptoms associated with pregnancy?

While we completely understand why women might want to turn to CBD while they’re pregnant, with the complete lack of research we can’t recommend it. The only person that can do this is a trusted medical professional, obstetrician, or midwife.

What About Using CBD While Breastfeeding?

With the little research that has been conducted on CBD and pregnancy, it should come as no surprise that there isn’t much research on the effects of CBD and breastfeeding.

It is safe to say that if a breastfeeding mother consumes CBD it will be passed to her infant whilst feeding. One report found that some 1.5 nanograms of THC is passed to a child per milliliter of breast milk. The report also suggested that CBD could be found in breastmilk, but the amount and side effects aren’t understood.

Final Thoughts About Pregnant Women Using CBD

Despite the fact that more and more pregnant women are turning towards CBD to help ease some of the uncomfortable side effects associated with it, there’s simply no way to tell if it’s safe or not.

Sure, it could help relieve the nausea, aches and pains, and anxiety that are all common in pregnancy, but at what cost? Without evidence that proves CBD is safe to use during pregnancy, it’s impossible to say if it’s a good idea.

While there have been established limits for alcohol and caffeine use during pregnancy, there’s nothing set like this when it comes to cannabis. And until there is, there’s no telling exactly what the effects of CBD on a developing fetus might be.

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