Growing a baby is quite a task, one that comes with a seemingly eternal list of symptoms to deal with. Finding ways to ease the pain and discomfort is a hot topic for many a mama-to-be. Enter CBD, the new kid at school—and one that is steadily gaining in popularity.
But while CBD certainly has a variety of well-evidenced uses when it comes to boosting health and wellbeing, the combo of CBD and pregnancy is more than a little uncertain.
Using CBD while pregnant
Before we assess CBD oil pregnancy risks, let’s start with the basics:
What exactly is CBD oil?
CBD stands for cannabidiol. And what is it exactly? A chemical compound that comes from cannabis plants. CBD is typically extracted from the hemp variety of cannabis plants, but it can also come from the marijuana variety.
So how does cannabidiol go from plant form to oil form? That happens with the use of ethanol—a simple alcohol that facilitates the extraction and filtration process. Depending on how much filtering has taken place, CBD oil will range in color from black/green to a highly concentrated shimmering gold.
While CBD comes from the same species of plant as marijuana, it does not contain the compound that makes you high. (That’s THC or, if you’re feeling fancy, tetrahydrocannabinol.)
Because CBD has a variety of health benefits—and doesn’t subject you to a crazy high—the world has begun harnessing its powers for several uses. CBD oil is becoming increasingly popular as a means of dealing with a range of different health issues, from the treatment of childhood epilepsy to helping with insomnia and pain. What’s more, studies have shown that CBD can seriously help with nausea and vomiting.
As a result, mamas-to-be the world over are asking questions like Is CBD safe during pregnancy? Does CBD help with nausea while pregnant? And what are the risks of a CBD breastfeeding combo? Let’s investigate.
Is CBD safe during pregnancy?
A healthy baby and a healthy mama = the top priority for those 9 months of pregnancy and beyond. So can CBD be part of a healthy pregnancy?
Well, the reality is, we don’t really know for sure—and that simple fact is reason to proceed with caution.
The topic of CBD and pregnancy is contentious. Why? Because the jury is still out on whether or not they can safely hang together. While there’s anecdotal evidence (popularized by advocate Maggie Frank) that using CBD while pregnant can help out with a bunch of symptoms from nausea to anxiety to pain to sleeplessness, the FDA has other ideas:
FDA strongly advises against the use of cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and marijuana in any form during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
While there’s no conclusive research to back up either side of the argument, there’s growing evidence that using CBD while pregnant may do harm.
Some of the reasons for this include:
- Contamination: CBD products can be contaminated with various harmful substances, including THC (the part of marijuana that makes you high), and these can be harmful to your baby. There is evidence to suggest that THC can affect your baby’s brain development and birth weight.
- CBD has the potential to harm anyone. It can increase your risk for liver issues and extreme fatigue. While these effects may not be experienced by everyone, the potential for them does loom.
- CBD and pregnancy is an under-researched subject. The CBD market is in its infancy in the grand scheme of things. We just don’t know enough to rule out the risks to you and your baby. As of yet, the FDA hasn’t approved any CBD products for use throughout pregnancy.
CBD oil while breastfeeding
Again, the research is in early phases, but there’s some evidence to show that CBD breastfeeding risks exist. It appears from early studies that CBD can be transmitted to your baby through breastmilk—and that can be an issue, particularly when you consider the possibility of contamination. If THC (or other harmful substances) get into your milk supply, you may be in risky territory.
But what about before you get pregnant? Is there any merit to the idea that CBD and fertility are linked?
Can CBD help you get pregnant?
While THC has been shown to have negative effects on fertility (interfering with ovulation, reducing sperm count, and just generally messing with the whole fertilization process), there is an ongoing conversation around whether or not CBD might actually have the opposite effect. Unfortunately, we just don’t have enough proof of this, and because of all the known harms THC may have on your fertility in general, it might be best to steer clear of CBD as well while you’re trying to conceive.
CBD and pregnancy: final thoughts
Being pregnant is tough. It’s a mixed bag of achy body parts, nausea, insomnia, and anxiety. It’s completely normal to try and find ways to make the journey a little easier. The best thing to do is check with your doc if you need something to deal with all your body is throwing at you. While using CBD while pregnant may look enticing, we just don’t know enough to conclude that it is completely safe to do so.
Here are some other coping tips you can try instead: find your support system on Peanut. Eat things you love that don’t come up the same way they went down. Take relaxing baths. Get massages. Up the self-care to the max.
Read also: What to Know About Marijuana and Pregnancy