Can you use CBD while pregnant?
Before pregnancy, you may have looked forward to enjoying longer, thicker hair and nails and 'glowing' as you carry that new precious baby bump.
However, those precious moments you look forward to are sometimes overtaken by nausea, mental stress, muscle and joint pain, skin problems, headaches, and trouble sleeping. So is CBD the solution to those unwanted parts of pregnancy? Can you use CBD while pregnant?
Can pregnant women take CBD?
We will cover that and some other natural ways to help you feel your best during pregnancy. CBD may help with many pregnancy-like symptoms when you are NOT pregnant, but since CBD is not considered safe for the baby during pregnancy and breastfeeding, other natural treatments may be best to combat these ailments.
Why is CBD not recommended for pregnancy?
First, let's get to know CBD. Cannabidiol or more commonly known as CBD, comes from the cannabis plant. Hemp and marijuana are both cannabis. They're like cousins, similar but not the same.
Both hemp and marijuana contain many cannabinoids, including CBD and THC. CBD has anti-inflammatory and stress-reducing properties, while THC has more psychoactive effects, which can cause a 'high.'
CBD from hemp is federally legal as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC or no THC.
Marijuana contains high amounts of THC and is federally illegal for recreational and medicinal use, although it is only legal in some states.
Now to answer your question, can pregnant women take CBD?
There is only one known FDA approved CBD product. That product is Epidolex. Epidiolex is used to treat children with a rare type of epilepsy called Lennox‑Gastaut Syndrome (LGS).
There is little research to show that CBD use while pregnant or breastfeeding is safe. Because of this, it's best to avoid CBD until we know more. Research on pregnant women taking CBD is challenging because of its possible negative effects on the fetus. There is not a lot of data to prove its safety. Current animal studies show that CBD does have long-term negative effects on the fetus. Let's take a look at the evidence.
Clinical Epigenetics Journal published a study (1) on this topic about mice. In this study, mice were given CBD daily 2 weeks before mating, gestation, and lactation. The results showed that when the mice pups reached adulthood (12 weeks), they exhibited negative cognitive changes, including significantly increased anxiety.
The National Library of Medicine published a study (2) on male mice. It shows that after birth, exposure to THC or CBN was linked to low body weights, and CBD use was linked to decreased fertility.
There are many types of CBD, including Full Spectrum CBD (containing THC), CBD Isolate (no THC), and Broad Spectrum CBD (no THC). Any CBD product containing THC is not safe to use if pregnant or breastfeeding.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse concerning THC says (3), "Animal studies have shown that moderate concentrations of THC, when administered to mothers while pregnant or nursing, could have long-lasting effects on the child, including increasing stress responsivity and abnormal patterns of social interactions…and learning deficits in prenatally exposed individuals."
Can pregnant women use CBD topically?
CBD topicals such as CBD lotions, salves, massage oil, and soaps for external use are also not proven to be safe during pregnancy. The FDA warns against using CBD in any form while pregnant or breastfeeding. There FDA is currently researching the safety of CBD products in general.
What should I do if I have taken CBD while pregnant or breastfeeding?
If you have taken CBD while pregnant, please consult with your doctor, and stop use immediately as soon as possible. CBD is not currently deemed safe and should not be taken if pregnant or breastfeeding. It may cause harm to the growing fetus and could counteract or not mix well with other medications.
What should I do to replace CBD while pregnant/breastfeeding?
It's important to take care of yourself while you are pregnant. If you do, you can feel your pregnant best, and you'll be more able to keep up with the demands of life while your body is doing the extra hard work of creating a human. Let's take a look at some natural ways to combat pregnancy symptoms:
Drinking plenty of water is essential for feeling well during your pregnancy. When you don't get enough water during pregnancy, you may feel lightheaded, weak, fatigued, or dizzy. A lack of water can worsen your nausea, so try to get those 8 glasses (64 to 96 oz) or MORE per day of water. Drink plenty of water! Some women experience water as having a bad taste while pregnant. You can try adding lemon or a natural flavoring to your water to help you get it down.
Food triggers nausea during pregnancy since the digestive system slows down a little during the first few months of pregnancy. If you can handle eating 6 small meals per day instead of 3 large ones, you may find you have an easier time tolerating, digesting, and keeping down your food. Remember to drink plenty of water in between. Ginger is an herb commonly used to help alleviate nausea.
Your pregnancy can be most enjoyable when stress is manageable. High stress during pregnancy is associated with high blood pressure, preeclampsia, low birth weight, and premature birth.
Self-care is essential to managing stress, so don't feel bad for taking the time to eat healthily, get the rest you need, and get ready for the day. "Loving yourself isn't vanity. It's sanity." -Katrina Mayer (4)
Stress is common during pregnancy for many reasons, including if you have struggled with infertility in the past, experienced a miscarriage, or if do not feel you have the support you need during your pregnancy. You may find some relief in turning to a close family member, friend, government aid, doctor, or therapist to talk to for advice.
Lowering your stress can help your pregnancy be a happier and healthier experience for you and your baby!
Muscle pain, joint pain, and inflammation
After a long day of walking or standing, it's common to have some swelling and aching.
Hot and cold therapy may be an effective way to treat your aches and pains at home during pregnancy. Taking hot baths or applying a hot or cool compress to the feet or legs may help alleviate pain.
A chiropractor may also be able to help you feel more comfortable during your pregnancy by aligning your bones, nerves, muscles, and ligaments.
Mild exercise, such as walking, has been shown to strengthen muscles and ligaments. It can help you feel stronger over time and help to prevent some aches and pains.
Headaches are a common pregnancy symptom sometimes caused by dehydration, stress, lack of sleep, lack of physical activity, and hormonal changes.
Some foods have been known to trigger headaches, including processed meats, sugary foods, and highly processed foods.
Head massages, including the temples, jaw, and neck, may help alleviate headaches. Getting plenty of rest, drinking more water, eating healthy, and using hot or cold compresses on aches may help.
Between nausea, bathroom breaks, anxiety about your baby on the way, and the discomfort of your baby bump, it can be hard to get a good night's rest.
Having a regular nightly routine and sleep/wake schedule can help your body get into the habit of sleeping better. Use plenty of pillows or a pregnancy pillow to help you find a comfortable position to sleep in with that baby bump. You may also improve your sleep by making sure you have a clear head before going to bed, using white noise, making sure your room is at a comfortable temperature, and not overeating before bed.
Sum it up!
You might feel tempted to use CBD while pregnant to help reduce pain and discomfort. Still, for the moment, professionals caution against using any cannabis or CBD product while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Healthcare professionals can offer more recommendations for safe methods for managing mental and physical symptoms during pregnancy.
(1) Wanner, N. M., Colwell, M., Drown, C., & Faulk, C. (2021, January 6). Developmental cannabidiol exposure increases anxiety and modifies genome-wide brain DNA methylation in adult female mice - clinical epigenetics. BioMed Central. Retrieved May 19, 2022, from https://clinicalepigeneticsjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13148-020-00993-4
(2) A;, D. S. S. R. M. D. B. (n.d.). Early cannabinoid exposure influences neuroendocrine and reproductive functions in mice: II. postnatal effects. Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior. Retrieved May 19, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6320228/
(3) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2021, April 13). Can marijuana use during and after pregnancy harm the baby? National Institutes of Health. Retrieved May 19, 2022, from https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/can-marijuana-use-during-pregnancy-harm-baby
(4) "Loving yourself isn't vanity. It's sanity." -Katrina Mayer