Many Canadians commonly use CBD to ease chronic pain, anxiety, and depression, among other ailments. But there’s one thing that may stop pregnant women from using it: safety.
There has been little study on the safety of CBD use while pregnant, and no actual clinical tests demonstrate that it is okay; we don’t know yet if it’s safe to take while pregnant.
However, some doctors are on board with it and say that the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks in some cases.
Is CBD safe to use during pregnancy? How about while breastfeeding? What are the actual risks?
In this article, we’ll explore what the science says about CBD and pregnancy, the potential effects on a developing fetus, and why women might consider using it during their pregnancies.
What is CBD?
CBD is a cannabinoid that is found in cannabis plants. It doesn’t produce the high associated with marijuana use because it’s extracted from hemp plants that are typically very low in THC; this is the cannabinoid responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis.
Why some pregnant women may consider using CBD
Since cannabis was legalized in Canada in 2018, the popularity of CBD has skyrocketed. Nowadays, you can find all sorts of CBD products on the market, including oils, topicals, gummies, even bath and beauty products.
Pregnancy comes with its own unique set of challenges for the mother-to-be, including anxiety, stress, and pain.
Research suggests that CBD may be a safe and effective treatment for many of these conditions. In fact, it appears to have a positive effect on nausea and vomiting as well.
Unfortunately, as we don’t have conclusive evidence on the safety of CBD use during pregnancy, it is not advised.
What does the research say about CBD and pregnancy?
Health Canada’s stance on CBD is clear:
“We do not know about the effects of CBD during pregnancy. Until more is known, it is safest not to use CBD while pregnant. CBD products may also contain trace amounts of THC.“
There has been no study on CBD’s impact on the developing fetus, pregnant mother, or while breastfeeding.
The FDA continues to gather and evaluate the information on CBD’s potential threats during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
However, based on the little research we do have access to, the FDA warns of a significant cause for concern.
In developing male fetuses, high dosages of CBD have caused abnormalities in the reproductive system. In addition, studies done on pregnant mice show that even a one-time high dose can cause brain and facial birth defects.
Although no study has been done on CBD and nursing, the FDA predicts that some amount of CBD will be passed on to infants via breast milk.
Potential effects on developing fetuses
Cannabinoids, in all forms, including CBD, may harm your infant’s brain development. This could result in learning and behavioural problems that persist into adulthood.
According to some studies, cannabis use throughout pregnancy and while breastfeeding is linked to an increased chance of the following issues:
- Low birth weight
- Preterm labour
- Cardiovascular and mental health problems
- Behavioural issues
- Learning disabilities
- Hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour
CBD and contaminants while pregnant
The FDA warns that CBD products might be tainted with chemicals that are potentially harmful to the fetus or breastfed baby, including THC.
This includes elements such as pesticides, heavy metals, and fungus, among others.
Studies are ongoing with this, but the risks of contaminants are high when buying from sources that are not reputable.
Some CBD products may contain THC
The majority of CBD products on the market come from hemp plants, which are very low in THC. Despite this, there have been reports of some CBD products that have elevated levels of THC.
The dangers of consuming cannabis while pregnant are serious; what you believe is a safe product might not be.
If you are considering the use of CBD during pregnancy, make sure it is coming from a reliable source. Always check the third-party lab reports as well; these detail the cannabinoid and terpene content, as well as any contaminants.
Can you use CBD if you are breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding has several benefits for both you and your baby. However, THC can pass from mother to child via breast milk, which might have a negative impact on your baby’s growth and development.
There is no adequate research on CBD and breastfeeding, and what little is available is conflicting at best.
Because of this, breastfeeding mothers are advised to avoid using marijuana or CBD products in any form to reduce the risk of harm to their babies.
Can you “pump and dump” if you are using CBD and breastfeeding?
Due to the lack of information on CBD and its use during breastfeeding, following the same recommendations as THC is advised.
THC can accumulate and store in fat cells and breast milk and slowly release over time, according to Health Canada.
Traces of THC have been detected in the body several weeks after the last usage, and they may be found in breast milk up to 6 days after a woman has used cannabis.
It is safest to avoid using cannabis and CBD products altogether while breastfeeding.
Can you use topical CBD while pregnant or breastfeeding?
Many topical CBD products that are on the market are not designed to enter the bloodstream. Instead, they provide potential relief at the source of the pain.
These types of topical CBD products may be safe to use, but the lack of actual evidence still strongly suggests against the use of any cannabinoids while pregnant or breastfeeding, even topicals.
Final thoughts on CBD and pregnancy
Although CBD has many potential benefits when used correctly, it is advised to avoid using any type of cannabinoid product during pregnancy and breastfeeding, including CBD.
There are many factors that cause concern for the fetus or infant when considering taking CBD during either of these times in a woman’s life.
Until further research can prove otherwise, pregnant women should avoid using any form of CBD, including topicals.
THC can pass through breast milk and accumulate in the body, along with potentially harmful chemicals that could be present in CBD products.
If you feel you have to use CBD during your pregnancy or breastfeeding period, please do so only under your doctor’s recommendation.