Pregnant women everywhere are wondering: is CBD oil safe to use during pregnancy? It’s a fair question, especially considering that the ailments brought on by pregnancy and postpartum are the very same that cannabidiol CBD products treat and alleviate every day.
What the experts say about using CBD and pregnancy
So what do moms, scientists, and the FDA have to say about CBD and pregnancy?
Unfortunately, not much.
At Karavie, our core values pivot on not only wellness, but also on information and education; at this time there is a shortage of both regarding CBD use in pregnant women. While we are happy to tout the many well-researched benefits of CBD oil on the endocannabinoid system of a full-grown human, the effects that CBD products may have on a developing fetus or breastfeeding infant are as yet unclear.
Although the cannabis plant and cannabis products are ancient medicine, mainstream CBD is relatively new to the market, so the risks of using CBD while pregnant remain largely unknown.
First and foremost, expectant and nursing mothers who wish to use CBD should seek medical advice. Much like coffee and wine, there is much debate among obstetricians about whether or not moderate amounts are advisable.
Your doctor is best suited to make a recommendation based on your medical history and your particular needs or symptoms.
Is CBD safe to use during pregnancy?
Regardless of the lack of conclusive research, most doctors, scientists, and mothers will err on the side of caution when assessing the risks of consuming CBD (or any product) during pregnancy.
The main concern is that if cannabinoids are passed from mother to child through the bloodstream, any negative effects (such as low birth weight) could be far-reaching and long-term when exposed to a fetus.
Risks of using CBD while pregnant
The lack of regulation and education surrounding CBD products often leads to conflated facts between CBD versus THC. Many of the fears and negative stances toward CBD oil during pregnancy stem from known issues regarding the use of marijuana during pregnancy and fetal alcohol syndrome - not from CBD products themselves.
In fact, the bulk of risks that have been observed in existing studies are linked to THC specifically and the vast majority of arguments against using CBD while pregnant are simply a “better safe than sorry” position rather than a result of conclusive research. In fact, some studies suggest that CBD’s interaction with the endocannabinoid system, which is integral in healthy fetal development, could be positive and foster a healthy appetite in babies.
Is CBD safe to use during breastfeeding?
Mothers who are breastfeeding are often advised to exercise the same cautions as while they were pregnant. Breast milk, which contains many wonderful nutrients for a baby, could also carry chemicals that are potentially harmful during these fragile developmental stages.
Risks of using CBD Oil during breastfeeding
It is also important to note that not all CBD products are created equal. The lack of regulation poses a threat to the purity of CBD products that might be introducing unwanted chemicals and heavy metals into one’s system, which could in fact be very dangerous to a fetus. When consuming any CBD product (pregnant, breastfeeding, or not) purity and ethical standards are paramount to a safe and holistic product.
Does the FDA approve any CBD products for pregnant women?
While the FDA has not approved CBD products for general use and advises against pregnant women using any cannabis products, they have approved CBD in a prescription for particular forms of epilepsy in patients 2 years and older.
In this instance, the body of research was far more pronounced and the risk-reward balance was clear since epilepsy has a very serious impact on a patient’s quality of life. This begs the question: do the mental and physical afflictions that women face during pregnancy and after childbirth warrant the same risk-reward assessment and what are the alternatives?
With so many women suffering through months and sometimes years of pain and frustration from pregnancy-related illness, a natural and non-addictive remedy would be welcomed.
Alternatives to CBD & CBD Oil during pregnancy and breastfeeding
The benefits of CBD oil (and other products like Hemp-derived cannabidiol Gummy Bears, CBD Lip Balm or Topical Cream) are far-reaching, but for women who take it for mild supplemental and holistic purposes, abstaining for a few months may be a simple choice. However, for those who use CBD oil to treat acute pain and critical illnesses, the choice might not be so clear. Depression, insomnia, nausea, morning sickness, and anxiety are some of the most serious illnesses affecting pregnant women to the point of seeking relief from all avenues whether natural, holistic, or prescription.
So why do some mother’s boast relief from CBD oil use during pregnancy? The truth is, that while we don’t fully understand the effects of CBD on the fetus, we do understand the effect on the mother. CBD oil has been used widely for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-psychotic, anti-convulsant, and antidepressant properties, all of which combat these pregnancy-related illnesses.
In many cases, the alternative over-the-counter and prescription treatments that are available often contain harsh chemicals and exhibit severe – not to mention, well-documented – side effects. From this perspective, CBD is often elected by pregnant woman as a safer, natural, non-addictive, and more effective treatment.
For many pregnant women, among the myriad of physical side effects during their pregnancy, an additional source of stress and anxiety is the constant doubt and worry about what they should or shouldn’t be consuming, a decision which friends, family, and even perfect strangers often feel the need to weigh in on. Much like wine, sushi, deli meats, and coffee, CBD joins the list of earth’s delights that are up for debate while your bundle of joy is still cooking in the oven.
Some good news: not all CBD oil products are designed for oral ingestion (which offers a direct route to one’s bloodstream, and potentially the baby’s); there are also options for topical application, which can aid pain and inflammation immensely for pregnant woman and offers a more prudent alternative for CBD during pregnancy.