The scientific community has proven that CBD has numerous beneficial effects. Thus, its consumption is becoming popular to alleviate the symptoms of some diseases such as epilepsy, arthritis, osteoarthritis, or depression.
It has also been effective, alone or in combination with low THC levels, to combat nausea and vomiting caused by ailments and some therapies such as anti-cancer treatments.
Thanks to this property, many ask if pregnant women can take CBD to reduce the discomforts that are so frequent during pregnancy, such as vomiting or headaches. Can they take cannabis, or is the baby at risk? In this article, we’ll take a look into what research and some women say about CBD and pregnancy. Remember, always consult your doctor before taking any new substance.
But First, What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol, also called CBD, is one of the main cannabinoids present in hemp. Unlike other compounds present in the plant, CBD does not produce any psychoactive effect on consumers.
Now, its proven interaction with the endocannabinoid system could help control anxiety symptoms, reduce insomnia, contribute to muscle relaxation, and decrease pain sensations. The therapeutic potential of CBD is enormous, but more ambitious clinical trials are still needed to corroborate the optimistic preliminary data.
Thanks to these properties, CBD has been used successfully in various pilot studies as an alternative treatment to control severe degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or Epilepsy.
Is It Safe to Use CBD While Pregnant?
It is important to note that there are many medicines for daily consumption, which can generate severe risks for the fetus’ formation and children’s development in the first months of life.
Pregnant women cannot take many of the common drugs for pain or anxiety sold at the pharmacy. Cannabidiol is thus positioned as a possible alternative during the gestation period and the subsequent lactation period. The absence of side effects and the almost zero toxicity of this cannabinoid are the main reasons some women are interested in consuming CBD during pregnancy.
However, there are few scientific studies. Those carried out give clear recommendations not to consume cannabis or hemp with THC during pregnancy or breastfeeding. This prohibition, of course, is not exclusive to hemp. The same applies to other substances such as tobacco, alcohol, and other chemical substances that can become considerably dangerous in pregnant or lactating women without the need to be fatal or harmful in regular patients who engage in recreational consumption.
Remember that during the pregnancy process and the first months of a child’s birth, their body is in full development, depending exclusively on the nutrients provided by their mother. Therefore, moms will have to take special care of everything they consume during that time.
The Effects of THC on Fetal Development
Pediatricians’ general opinion is that it is a risk to take CBD oil with THC during pregnancy and lactation, even if it’s at its 0.3% legal limit. THC easily crosses the placenta and enters the brain of the developing fetus. It even passes through breast milk after six days of consumption.
Little is known about what happens when THC reaches the baby, but ongoing studies suggest that it may have neurodevelopmental effects. These damages could affect concentration, attention, memory, visual perception, impulse control, and the ability to solve problems.
For example, in some children, prenatal exposure to marijuana had caused increased tremors and the startle reflex.
Some studies also suggest that babies exposed to THC may have mental health problems when they reach adolescence or adulthood. The condition would affect their ability to organize their time, schoolwork, or whatever work they want to do.
The Effects of CBD on The Baby
Although THC studies on fetal development are lacking, compared to CBD, they’re plenty. CBD research on this matter is almost non-existent. This is because consumption has become popular in recent years, and medical trials are still focused on discovering all the therapeutic possibilities of CBD.
Some of the most common symptoms of pregnancy are nausea, cramps, headaches, vomiting, dizziness, or fatigue—some women may look into CBD to treat these ailments. Others have been long-time CBD consumers and ask themselves if they can still take it.
There are no conclusive studies on the possible adverse effects of CBD in pregnancy or while breastfeeding. A test in laboratory animals showed that CBD at high doses caused problems in male offspring’s reproductive system.
However, the studies contradict each other. In 1994, the Journal of Pediatrics of the American Academy of Pediatrics published research on the effects of marijuana on Jamaican babies. Researchers evaluated babies of 44 women at three days and three months of age. Of the 44 women, 24 had used cannabis regularly during pregnancy. The study concluded that consuming mothers’ neonates got better scores in autonomic stability, level of alertness, irritability, and self-regulation and showed much greater tranquility in their day-to-day life.
Testimonials from women who have taken CBD during pregnancy tend to be favorable towards the substance. Unfortunately, their accounts can only be considered anecdotal, having no scientific studies to back them up.
Possible Benefits of CBD for Pregnant Women
As science progresses and more is discovered about CBD’s effects on pregnant women, the substance could be considered for different future treatments. Especially for women afflicted by pregnancy-related ailments. These are some of them:
Back and Postural Pain
During pregnancy, the weight of the fetus is increasing. The center of gravity shifts and puts stress on the back, legs, and feet. Besides, the uterus presses on the pelvic floor, causing pain and discomfort.
Studies seem to indicate that CBD acts as an effective pain reliever, reducing pain and inflammation.
Morning Sickness and Vomiting
Cannabidiol can interact with our endocannabinoid system by activating the production of serotonin. This process could reduce the emetic reflexes common in pregnant women, preventing morning sickness and vomiting.
Intensity of Contractions Reduction
Although this needs to be studied more, the analgesic and anti-stress potential of CBD could, in many cases, lead to a reduction in pain during labor. This theoretical use would allow reducing the dose of analgesic drugs that some patients need to give birth.
A 2010 scientific study conducted with synthetic CBD demonstrated, in in-vitro cells, a reduction in myometrial contractions induced by oxytocin.
Risk of Postpartum Depression
It’s very common for depressive and anxiety episodes to occur after pregnancy. CBD can regulate the production of serotonin, which would help improve mood after childbirth.
What About Hemp Seeds?
Although hemp is mainly known for its use in CBD production, it is actually a very versatile plant. For years, the hemp plant had been used in its totality to produce many types of goods, like food products. Such are hemp seeds.
With great nutritional benefits, hemp seeds, according to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), pregnant or lactating women can consume hemp seeds without concern.
THC and CBD are mainly found in the flowers, leaves, and stems of marijuana, not seeds. They could have traces of these cannabinoids from having been in contact with these parts of the plant, but they are low enough to allow their consumption during pregnancy or lactation.
Conclusions and Recommendations
In the case of scientific studies regarding the use of CBD during the gestation period, it must be said that they are scarce and very preliminary. However, some pregnant women’s testimonies and experiences may support the argument that this is a safe supplement for pregnancy.
Remember that, to treat unwanted pregnancy symptoms, such as nausea, depression, insomnia, or pain, there are various traditional and alternative treatments, safe and endorsed by the medical community, that you can use. Always consult your trusted doctor about the possibilities of using them and choose the one that is safest and most comfortable for you and your baby.