Last updated on 16 August 2021
It is often said that one can never be too careful when pregnant. Perhaps this is the major driving force behind the controversy surrounding the use of CBD during pregnancy. While pregnancy is one of the most remarkable experiences in a woman’s lifetime, it comes accompanied by numerous uncomfortable symptoms. These symptoms are both physical and psychological, ranging from nausea, migraines, anxiety and even depression.
Can expectant mothers use cannabis?
Many people often confuse the cannabis and hemp plants. While it is a fact that both plants come from the cannabis family, they do not produce the same effects after consumed. Cannabis plants produce more THC (the component which causes psychoactive effects). In place of THC, the hemp plant has more concentration of cannabinoids that are very helpful to the functioning of the body. Studies1 have shown that CBD present in the hemp plant is capable of improving many diseases including depression.
The hemp plant contains no more than 0.3% THC. This makes it almost impossible to feel high from consuming hemp. This is the reason hemp is legal in most countries and safe for elderly people and even pets.
What is CBD?
You may or may not know this, but Cannabis has two main components, each of which plays very different roles. THC, (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the most famous of these. It’s the most well-known component because of its psychoactive effects. On the other hand, CBD (Cannabidiol) offers a vast array of medicinal and therapeutic benefits, without getting a user high. While it is important that people understand the negative effects of THC, it is wrong to bundle all Cannabis products as being harmful. If this continues to happen, people will, unfortunately, miss out on the numerous health benefits that CBD has to offer.
What do we know about CBD
As exciting and beautiful a pregnancy can be, it is also a really vulnerable time both the mother and the unborn child. Most of the people who are against the use of CBD during pregnancy argue that it is too risky. They often say that its benefits have not even been studied extensively yet. On the other hand, CBD users argue that CBD has been used as a safe alternative for pain, anxiety, and depression. They argue that the fact that it is natural with fewer risks than most prescription medications makes it ideal for pregnant women.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has explicitly recommended the discontinuation of cannabis use in pregnant women and lactating mothers. The main reason behind this recommendation would perhaps be the fact that recent studies have shown that cannabis adversely affects the endocannabinoid system, which is the system responsible for the creation of neurons and building brain pathways in the fetus’s brain. The medical director for the Comprehensive Family Care Centre at the Montefiore Health System, Dr. Talitha L. Burney admits that while she does recognize the health benefits of CBD, even in pregnant women, the lack of government regulation is a key factor to why ACOG does not recommend its use. With no standardized dosages or formulations in existence, CBD is seen as a rather huge risk to take, she claims.
Can I take CBD oil during pregnancy?
As there seems to be no clinical research data on CBD oil use during pregnancy, we do not advice pregnant women to use it during pregnancy. We urge expecting mothers to seek professional guidance or just restrain from using CBD while pregnant.
The Role of the Endocannabinoid System in Pregnancy
Put simply, the Endocannabinoid system is responsible for the creation of neurons and building brain pathways in the fetus’s brain. Despite the important role that endocannabinoid system from embryonic stages to post-birth, research has not successfully identified a single negative in terms of birth outcome. Research have revealed no association between cannabis use during pregnancy and premature birth, miscarriage, or major physical abnormalities.
How can I use CBD During Pregnancy?
If you have decided to take CBD during your pregnancy and you have already consulted with a doctor about it, here are some general tips.
Smoking or using vaporizing flowers are not the best ways to ingest CBD, as it can have traces of THC or other harmful substances that could affect your unborn child.
The safest way to take CBD is through 100% CBD oil, that comes with a dropper or in the form of a paste, capsules & lotions. Pregnant women with sore bodies and muscles can simply apply CBD creams or oils on affected areas for relief.
What is Research Saying About CBD and Pregnancy?
Studies on the use of CBD during pregnancy are far and few between. However, there are several promising ones. One such study2 has shown that CBD can be beneficial in reducing/stopping preterm contractions in expecting mums.
In 2016, Dr. Shayna Conna conducted several studies aimed at identifying whether cannabis exposure may result in postnatal development complications in babies. Surprisingly, Dr.Shayna and her team found that cannabis, when used in isolation, led to no negative birth complications or development issues.
Additionally, in the 1980s, two longitudinal studies conducted by Dr. Melanie Dreher revealed no significant difference between children who had been exposed to cannabis while in the womb tested at the age of 3 days and later on at the age of 5 years.
Dr. Stuart Titus, the president of Medical Marijuana, Inc and an expansive researcher in this field says that he has observed women who have used CBD oil during pregnancy, and contrary to popular opinion, their children have really thrived.
While there is some evidence that CBD is not harmful during pregnancy, it is highly advisable to consult with a licensed physician before you make your decision. As there seems to be no clinical research data on CBD oil use during pregnancy, we do advice pregnant women seek professional guidance or just restrain from using CBD while pregnant.
- Kogan, N. and Mechoulam, R. (2007). Cannabinoids in health and disease. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 9(4), pp.413–430.
- Houlihan, D., Dennedy, M. and Morrison, J. (2010). Effects of abnormal cannabidiol on oxytocin-induced myometrial contractility. REPRODUCTION, 139(4), pp.783-788.