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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.
Using CBD Oil While Pregnant
Updated: December 1, 2022

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.

More: Do You Really Have to Quit Coffee When You're Pregnant?

What is CBD Oil?

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
  • Glaucoma
  • 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
  • Pain
  • Anxiety or stress

Research of the Effect of CBD Oil on Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

Research on CBD

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
  • Stillbirth
  • 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.

L. Elizabeth Forry

About L. Elizabeth Forry

L. Elizabeth Forry is an Early Childhood Educator with 15 years of classroom… Read more

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