CBD Oil and Pregnancy: How Safe Is It To Use During Pregnancy?

CBD Oil and Pregnancy: How Safe Is It To Use During Pregnancy?

Definition 

Many women wonder if they could still use CBD oil during pregnancy. Even those who haven’t used it before are questioning whether it’s safe to use to help alleviate side effects that come with being pregnant. 

 

Introduction 

While these questions are valid, many women are too scared to explore their queries further due to fear of being wrong—or of thinking to do something that could potentially put their baby in danger. 

Largely, this is due to the connotations attached to CBD oil and its association with the marijuana plant, but without the psychoactive deterrent THC, it behaves completely differently. 

If you’re looking to learn more about the safety of CBD oil during pregnancy, this article will provide you with all the resources you need from an expert standpoint to help you make your decision. 

This includes an in-depth look into what CBD oil is, why pregnant women are using it, the opinions of experts, and how you can start using CBD during your pregnancy should you desire. 

To put it simply, this is a comprehensive guide into CBD oil and pregnancy, so if that’s something you’re interested in, reading on will give you all the information you need about the subject. 

 

What Is CBD Oil? 

what is cbd

Cannabidiol, or CBD as it’s more commonly known, is one of more than 113 identified chemical compounds called cannabinoids. 

It is derived from a species of plant known as the Cannabis Sativa plants, which includes cannabis and hemp plants. 

When it comes to CBD used for medicinal purposes, especially CBD oil, the cannabinoid is often extracted from hemp-based plants. 

This is because they are low in THC, the psychoactive or intoxicating part of the cannabis plant, and high in CBD, making it easier to isolate the compound. 

It’s also the safest option, and the only option from a legal standpoint, because CBD oil derived from hemp plants that contains less than 0.3% THC is considered federally legal in the United States. 

It’s also legal in a number of other countries, including the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Canada. 

 

Why Would Pregnant Women Be Interested In CBD Oil?

cbd for pregnant women

If you’ve come across this article by chance, it might be difficult for you to understand why a pregnant woman would be interested in taking CBD oil. 

People certainly have strong opinions about what women should and shouldn’t do during their pregnancy and for some, taking anything they absolutely don’t need to is an absolute no.

With that being said, there are a number of benefits backed up by medical studies that have convinced many women to continue using CBD oil throughout pregnancy. 

Whether you’re doing the same, want to take up CBD oil or are simply curious, this section will take you through all the possible reasons why a pregnant woman may be interested in CBD. 

 

It Reduces Nausea 

nausea

It’s estimated that one in five women who fall pregnant will experience nausea shortly after they conceive. More commonly, women will begin to experience nausea around the five-week mark and will struggle with it up until week 20 of their pregnancy.

While only a small number of people suffering from morning sickness will be physically sick and most will cope with it fine, for some people this can be debilitating. 

This is especially true in people suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe sickness during pregnancy, who may struggle to remain hydrated and nourished as a result. 

The good news is, CBD may help to reduce this, as many studies have suggested that it can reduce nausea in both humans and animals. 

This occurs as CBD influences the serotonin receptors, decreasing the release of the chemical so that the body will have less stimulation of the vomiting signals in the brain.  

 

It’s A Natural Pain Reliever 

pain reliever

Unfortunately, pain is something that most pregnant women will experience at one point or another. 

This is because the ligaments in your body naturally soften and stretch in preparation for labor, putting extreme strain on the lower back and pelvis. As a result, many women will experience back or pelvic pain, especially in the earlier stages of pregnancy. 

Things like headaches, cramps, swollen ankles and constipation are also incredibly common, all of which can be painful for the participant.

If these problems occurred outside of pregnancy, most people would take painkillers as an immediate solution, but many of these are not safe for pregnant people. 

This leaves future mothers dealing with extreme pain for the health of their babies, but with CBD oil, the pain from these symptoms may be alleviated. 

In fact, evidence of CBD’s pain-relieving properties date back as far as 2012, from a study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine

Not only was it found that CBD oil was an effective pain reliever for neuropathic and inflammatory pain, but this study also revealed that people don’t build up a tolerance to the effects of CBD. 

This means that, especially in pregnancy, women would only need to take small doses to receive maximum results. In fact, it’s thought that around 5-10mg a day is best for those looking to use CBD oil for pain relief. 

These findings are supported in later studies, including one from 2018 that discovered 62% of CBD users use it to target pain. Out of this number, it was found to work extremely well, with very few reporting that it hadn’t worked effectively. 

 

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Lowers Anxiety and Depression Levels

Depression Levels

Another condition that can be harder to control during pregnancy is anxiety and depression because many traditional antidepressants and antianxiety medications are unsafe during pregnancy.

This leaves women having to choose between their own health or that of their babies, making their pregnancies far less enjoyable regardless of the decision they make. 

Even if people don’t have anxiety or depression during pregnancy, however, the rates of pre- and post-partum difficulties are increasing. 

Using CBD to treat these conditions is something that has been widely researched, however, and it’s generally believed to be quite an effective way of treating them. 

This consensus is backed up from a pioneering medical review that took place in 2014, showing results from various studies that proved CBD’s efficiency in acting as a natural antidepressant and antianxiety medication. 

A later 2018 medical review into the therapeutic potential of CBD backed up the earlier review, noting the continued success of CBD oil as an anti-stress and antidepressant in further studies. 

It’s thought that this occurs because CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, triggering the production of chemicals like dopamine and cortisol. 

This ultimately reduces the stress experienced by an individual, and increases levels of happiness in the brain, helping someone fight against the symptoms of their mental illnesses. 

While it may help, however, it’s important to note that these studies have not said that CBD can cure these mental health conditions. This is because, although it is a chemical imbalance in some cases, there are also a number of environmental factors that can lead someone to experience difficulties with these conditions. 

 

Improves Sleep Quality 

sleep quality

It’s extremely common to feel fatigued during pregnancy, especially in the first twelve weeks, due to significant changes in hormones. 

While this can be solved by resting regularly, pregnant women often experience more difficulties with actually getting to sleep as the pregnancy progresses. 

This can be because of the extra weight you’re carrying, feeling uncomfortable due to the baby’s position, or due to nightmares or night terrors about the impending birth. 

Being fatigued won’t directly affect your baby, but it can make it more difficult to deal with everyday emotions, so it’s best to try and improve your sleep quality where possible.

There are various studies that show that CBD can help with this, including one that used a clinical application of the cannabinoid for those with sleep complaints. After just one month of using CBD, an astonishing 48 out of 57 patients saw an improvement in their sleep scores. 

If you’ve struggled with significant sleep problems or insomnia before your pregnancy, it may be easy to assume that CBD won’t work for you because it’s not as strong as a pharmaceutical sleep medication. 

This may not necessarily be the case, however, with one study of over 400 volunteers finding that CBD was incredibly successful at treating insomnia symptoms. In fact, it worked better than the psychoactive cannabinoid THC, which was once believed to be the most effective cannabinoid to treat sleeping issues. 

 

Helps With Quitting Smoking 

Quitting Smoking 

Although smoking rates in the U.S and in various countries around the world have continued to fall, it’s inevitable that some women will struggle with the addiction when they fall pregnant.

It’s universally agreed that quitting smoking cold turkey when you find out you’re pregnant is the best thing for the fetus, but for some, the thought of this can be extremely stressful. 

In cases where someone has a serious addiction to smoking cigarettes, quitting cold turkey can cause more harm than good, stressing out the baby as well as the mother. 

In other cases, a woman may simply be overwhelmed and need some support while trying to quit.

The good news is that there are many options for expectant mothers to help them quit smoking, but for those looking for a more natural route, CBD oil might be the answer.

In a promising, double-blind study of 24 smokers wishing to quit, it was found that those treated with CBD were able to significantly reduce the number of cigarettes they smoked by ~40% during treatment. Alternatively, those treated with a placebo version of CBD saw no difference. 

The researchers conducting this study later followed up with participants and found there was some level of maintenance after treatment has finished, which suggests even using CBD on a short-term basis can be effective. 

Some might think this is just swapping one addiction for another, but CBD is categorically not addictive so it’s easy for someone to stop whenever they please.

 

Experts View On CBD Oil and Pregnancy 

doctor speaking

 

For a long time, studies into the individual components of the Cannabis Sativa plants focused primarily on THC. It was thought that because this component altered someone’s mental state, it was going to have the most promise in the medical world.

As detailed above, however, the last few years have produced a number of studies suggesting that CBD is also extremely beneficial for medical purposes. 

In addition to this, it is not addictive, unlike its cousin compound THC, making it a great option for pregnant people and those with addiction issues in general. 

The increase of these studies has revealed CBD oil to be a usual supplement for treating a multitude of different disorders, including cardiovascular disease, neurological damage, and even some psychiatric disorders. 

One of the key understandings we’ve discovered as a result of the increased medical interest in CBD is that it’s mostly considered safe for adults and children. 

This is backed up in a critical report from the World Health Organization, where they state there have been no deaths directly associated with CBD and side effects are generally temporary and not life-threatening.  

This information may seem extremely exciting for expecting mothers who wish to use CBD oil to avoid the side effects associated with traditional pharmaceutical medications. 

With this being said, however, there is limited information in regards to CBD oil and pregnancy in particular. As a result, not all experts are in agreement about whether or not advising CBD oil as a pregnancy-safe supplement is the best course of action. 

One leading researcher and resident expert in the field of medical marijuana truly believes that CBD oil can only be a good thing for pregnant women.

In an interview, he explains that many of us are considered to be cannabinoid deficient, which is linked to a number of conditions including chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and even early-onset dementia. 

He uses this logic to add, “The more cannabinoids a mom has, the better off her kids are”. 

Dr. Titus also has anecdotal evidence supporting this theory, saying he’s observed many pregnant women who used CBD oil and found there to be no ill effects. In fact, the opposite occurred, and in his opinion, the babies thrived after birth.

Not all experts are in agreement that providing such a positive opinion of CBD oil in pregnancy is the safest thing to do, however.

This includes Dr. Talitha L. Bruney, a medical director for the Comprehensive Family Care Center. 

In an interview with Brit+Co, she says, “There are no regulations on what dosage is appropriate or what form of delivery is appropriate. There are no standardized formulations. Because none of this exists, people just get it in different forms and dosages.”

If patients take CBD oil throughout their pregnancy without due knowledge, it’s therefore understandable why so many experts are wary about its use.

In fact, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology noted in their annual meeting that providers should explicitly warn patients against its use. 

With this being said, Dr. Talitha L. Bruney did acknowledge that CBD oil could theoretically be effective for certain conditions in pregnancy, which is a position lots of experts find themselves in. 

While they cannot recommend this because CBD oil isn’t a regulated field, there are no studies to suggest that it isn’t safe for a growing fetus. You could also argue there are no studies that ensure CBD oil is safe for babies, either.

This means that, while the knowledge shared in this article can go some way towards helping you make your decision, whether you use CBD oil during pregnancy or not is a decision only you can make. 

 

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How To Start CBD Oil During Your Pregnancy

 

If you’ve read the information regarding the safety of CBD oil during pregnancy and have decided to give it a go, here is how to do it safely. 

 

Speak To Your Doctor 

speaking with doctor

The first thing you should do if you’re considering using CBD oil during your pregnancy is to talk to your doctor.

Although not all are supportive of the idea, they should be able to advise you on whether CBD oil is advisable and healthy in your individual case.

Remaining transparent about any health supplement you plan on taking will also ensure your safety throughout your pregnancy should any complications occur. 

 

Research CBD Oil Companies First 

research

CBD oil is a largely unregulated market, meaning anyone can buy raw materials and put together a supplement that could be completely different to what it’s advertised as.

In particular, CBD oils are often contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides, and organic solvents, all of which have the potential to harm your unborn fetus. 

To avoid these complications, it’s important that you do research into individual companies first to find out their ethics and read reviews from past consumers. 

Not only this, but research should reveal whether the CBD oil company you’re interested in using has complied with third-party testing. 

Although this step is optional and not all companies will do it, those that do are providing full transparency and you will know exactly what you are getting in the products. 

It’s important that, during your research, you look for companies who have not only undertaken these third-party tests but also passed the relevant investigations. 

 

Use CBD Isolate Products Only 

cbd products

The biggest thing to confuse people when they first research CBD oil is the difference between isolate and full-spectrum CBD.

Full-spectrum extracts contain other beneficial phytochemicals that are naturally produced in the plant, whilst CBD isolate is strictly CBD. 

When not pregnant, many consumers recommend full-spectrum CBD oil, but this can provide harmful chemicals that may not interact well with your growing fetus.

For this reason, it’s best to stick to CBD isolate products so that you know exactly what you’re getting in your oil, and can be transparent with your doctor about what you’re taking. 

 

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Start With A Low Dosage And Increase Slowly 

dosage

When it finally comes to introducing CBD oil into your daily routine, the most important thing to remember is to start slowly with a low dosage. 

It’s best to start on the minimum dosage, usually 2.5mg or 5mg, and slowly build-up to the recommended dosage for the oil you’re using. 

 

Keep Track Of Your Dosages And Progress

progress

One of the reasons why it’s recommended to start slowly with a low dosage is so that you can easily monitor your progress. 

This will alert you to how you respond to it during treatment, and whether the supplement is working or not. 

It may also explain some unwanted side effects should they occur, which can help your medical practitioner when it comes to treating you for the pregnancy as a whole.

The main things you want to keep track of when it comes to your dosages and progress includes: 

 

  • The amount of CBD you took
  • How your symptoms are on any given day
  • Whether symptoms improved after taking CBD
  • Any side effects that you experienced 

 

Can You Use CBD Oil While Nursing?

nursing baby

If you are considering using CBD oil after pregnancy, it’s understandable to be concerned when you’re told that what you consume is transferred to your baby through breast milk. 

While it’s been found that THC passes through breast milk and can be detrimental to a baby, there is no definitive study to say whether the same is true for CBD itself. 

With this being said, it’s important to remember that your baby will already be producing their own cannabinoids from their endocannabinoid system. 

While CBD is not one of these cannabinoids, it is said to stimulate the receptors within the system, which has so far been proved a positive thing by current research. 

Backed up by claims from the World Health Organization who say that large amounts of CBD can be tolerated by adults and children, there is little to say that you shouldn’t use CBD oil while nursing. 

With that being said, the lack of studies providing us with a conclusive answer means that you should always consult your doctor if you have any concerns. 

In addition to this, it might be worth sticking to as low a dose as possible to minimize any effects that occur from your child consuming CBD oil through your breast milk. 

 

Summary 

CBD oil is just one way of consuming cannabidiol, one of 113 identified chemical compounds called cannabinoids that are derived from Cannabis Sativa plants.

When taken for medicinal purposes, CBD oil most commonly comes from the hemp plant, because it’s high in CBD and low in other cannabinoids like THC. 

This option is also taken because hemp CBD oil is legal throughout the United States and in several other places around the world, including South Africa, Canada, and the United Kingdom. 

The increased accessibility of CBD oil over the last few years has left many people using it to benefit their health, and recently, it has become a popular choice among pregnant women.

Most commonly, it’s used to manage the side effects associated with being pregnant, which can include nausea from morning sickness, pain reduction, and even helps to manage mental health issues. 

Some pregnant women are also interested in this compound because it can help with addiction issues, such as smoking, were continuing the habit can be potentially harmful to the fetus.

In regards to the safety of CBD oil for pregnant women, expert opinions are still split over this. 

The lack of research into the cannabinoid until a few years ago means that there is no definitive study that says whether it is safe for consumption in this instance or not.

On the one hand, you have experts like Dr. Titus who believe that CBD oil can help with cannabinoid deficiencies, leading to the best possible outcome for mother and baby.

On the other hand, you have experts like Dr. Talitha L. Bruney, who say that a lack of regulation could be putting pregnant women at risk. 

This has been backed by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, who advise medical professionals against recommending CBD oil for pregnant women.  

Advice is similar for women who might like to begin using CBD oil after they have given birth, while they are nursing. 

While some evidence suggests that THC is carried through breastmilk, the same studies have not been undertaken for CBD.

This leaves the decision of whether or not you’re going to take CBD oil during and after pregnancy completely up to you.

The World Health Organization has said that CBD is largely well tolerated by humans, so if you do decide to use it, it’s best to start slowly and consult your doctor should you encounter any problems along the way.