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Last updated on 25 May 2022

Can CBD aid in easing morning sickness?

  • The results of a study from 2011 study that was released in British Journal of Pharmacology discovered the antiemetic properties of cannabinoids when confronted with an atoxic test. Cannabidiol (CBD) is the most prominent non-psychoactive component found in cannabis, was proven to reduce nausea and vomiting in the limits of a dose ( 1 ).
  • There are numerous studies that provide evidence-based research on how CBD oil can help ease discomfort anxiety, anxiety, depression, nausea and other pregnancy-related problems.
  • However, with no evidence to show the fact that CBD can be beneficial to mothers usage during pregnancy, many experts advise pregnant women from making use of CBD products to treat morning sickness.

Marijuana Use and Pregnancy: What Research Says

CBD is distinct from marijuana, however in the case of morning sickness, neither is suggested by medical professionals.

In a research study that was published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) journal, researchers presented information on the frequency of marijuana consumption among lactating and pregnant women. A number of state-specific studies revealed that marijuana usage among pregnant women is increasing and the findings raise grave concern ( 11 ).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states pregnant women or those who’re expecting or are planning to become pregnant should stay clear of cannabis use. The agency states that the substances in marijuana, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can cause numerous health issues for newborn babies, such as the still birth or insufficient weight at birth.

CDC has cited a variety of studies and research that confirm the way that marijuana can enter the body and can affects the development of the child.

The study was conducted in the year 2011 with the help of doctors at Cain Foundation Laboratories, Jan & Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute located at Texas Children’s Hospital. They studied the long-term effects of prenatal exposure to cannabis (PME) and found that children exposed to prenatal cannabis have cognitive impairments, which suggests that the consumption of cannabis by mothers has impeded the development of the brain in the infant ( 12 ).

In a different study, 21011 study of PME, based on data from 1982 to 1985, researchers discovered an association between PME and the behavior of delinquents ( 13 ). The findings have been published in Neurotoxicology as well as the Teratology journal.

The study concluded that a plan to reduce the use of marijuana during pregnancy could reduce the levels of delinquency among the offspring, and could aid children suffering from excessive levels of depression or problems with attention.

Pediatric Research published a 2012 study which examined the relationship between cannabis use prior to and during pregnancy , and birth outcomes. The results showed that use of cannabis during pregnancy was linked to the birth weight being low and preterm labor, as well as hospitalization in the neonatal intensive care unit and a gestational age of small ( 14 ).

“We must be able to accept the idea that marijuana is at the same level as smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol during pregnancy. We have already recommended smoking tobacco in a safe quantity during pregnancy, and no alcohol consumption that is safe during pregnancy. We should not be recommending any amount of marijuana that is safe during pregnancy, .”

–Nathaniel G. DeNicola, MD, MSc, University of Pennsylvania Social Media & Health Innovation Lab

It is recommended that the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) also suggests that marijuana use be not permitted during pregnancy, as it is believed that THC may be absorbed through the placenta creating developmental issues. THC is absorbed quickly by the bloodstream, placenta and brain, as well as liver and breast milk , and is quickly eliminated from these tissues.

Nathaniel G. DeNicola, MD MSc from Nathaniel G. DeNicola, MD MSc of the University of Pennsylvania Social Media and Health Innovation Lab, stated that marijuana consumption is on the same to alcohol or smoking consumption during pregnancy.

The doctor further explained that there isn’t a acceptable safe amount of alcohol or tobacco during pregnancy. There is no dosage of marijuana that is safe when pregnant.

According DeNicol, there’s evidence of a decrease in growth of the fetus, lower IQ results, attention issues and a decline in cognitive functioning when children are exposed to marijuana during the uterus.

U.S. Secretary of Health Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H., delivered an informational message on dangers to health of the use of marijuana in adolescence as well as during pregnancy.

He advised doctors and health care professionals to inform the young and women who are pregnant about the dangers that marijuana poses on the brains of adolescents and infants.


“No amount of marijuana use during pregnancy or adolescence is known to be safe… Until and unless more is known about the long-term impact, the safest choice for pregnant women and adolescents is not to use marijuana.”

–U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H.

The Dr. James Lozada, an Anesthesiologist in OB/GYN at Northwestern University, believes that CBD is a receptor for cannabinoid differently than THC.

The Dr. Lozada is worried because these receptors can affect the development of the brain in neonates. Therefore, he advises women to adopt a secure approach and avoid CBD usage.

Similar sentiments are shared by Dr. Talitha Bruney, medical director of the Comprehensive Family Care Center, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women’s Health at Montefiore Health System. She is concerned about the lack of regulation in the CBD oil industry, stating there is no uniform formulas for CBD oil and no guidelines for the form of delivery and the recommended dosage.

The study was published in the BMC Pharmacology and Toxicology Journal in 2016, a study in mice demonstrates that THC hinders the growth of embryonic cells. Although exposure to cannabis in utero has been linked to premature pregnancies that fail, congenital anomalies and delays in development however the mechanism behind these results are largely unexplored ( 15 ).

The researchers of the study mentioned above discovered that anandamide inhibits the growth of embryo cells.

Anandamide is neurotransmitter made of fatty acids, is a key component of the system of endocannabinoids. It is found in the human body and functions similar to cannabinoids in activating the endocannabinoid system , so that it can keep homeostasis in check. Anandamide is essential in thinking processing, memory, and the control of movements.

An review from 2017 study conducted by Eugene Scharf of the Department of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota found that CBD boosts the levels of anandamide ( 16 ).

Some Exceptions: CBD Oil on a Positive Perspective

Based on the cautions issued by credible organizations, and findings from studies that show negative neonatal and prenatal outcomes related to marijuana consumption during pregnancy, one could be tempted to conclude the use of all CBD oil product that contains an excessive amount of THC is not suitable for pregnant women.

But, since the research evidence is not extensive it is unclear if CBD oil usage during pregnant women can be considered safe could be a matter of discussion for the majority of people.

In a study that was published within the Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology in 2016 researchers found that the use of CBD-rich cannabis to treat chronic and acute issues during pregnancy did not cause negative neonatal outcomes, in the absence of other risk factors, such as smoking cigarettes smoking(17).

Research suggests that the connection between marijuana use by mothers and negative outcomes is caused by smoking tobacco, suggesting the fact that CBD oil as well as marijuana use can’t be solely blamed for the negative pregnancy outcomes.

Researcher in medicine and Medical Marijuana, Inc. president Dr. Stuart Titus, Ph.D. He explained the research of CBD’s benefits as well as the body’s system of cannabinoid.

As per Dr. Titus, CBD helps in the growth in healthy brain cells. Dr. Titus also says pregnant mothers benefit from CBD-rich diets, and also give birth to healthy infants.

The leading researcher also added that physicians and obstetrician-gynecologists (OB-GYNs) do not recommend CBD oil use during pregnancy due to a lack of conclusive, longitudinal human studies on the subject.

Since long-term studies and thorough research into the impacts of CBD oil on the fetus is not yet available, experts recommend pregnant women to consult their doctor before making use of CBD during pregnancy.

Morning Sickness Remedies

The morning sickness is extremely debilitating and frequent vomiting could cause dehydration, which can be dangerous for the baby and mother. The majority of pregnant mothers aren’t so keen to take medications which could cause negative reactions.

Experts suggest women seeking to ease morning sickness to take the following steps and at-home remedies.

  • Be careful when selecting foods. Choose foods that are easy to digest, high in protein, as well as low on fat.

Beware of foods that have been seasoned with excessive spice or cooked with excessive oil. Foods that are bland like applesauce, rice, bananas toast, and applesauce are all good alternatives, and are simple to digest.

Foods that are salty and items that contain ginger can be beneficial.

  • Eat snacks often. An empty stomach can cause nausea to become more severe. Snacking on small amounts in food during the course of the day, instead of eating three big meals can prevent nausea.
  • Increase your intake of fluids. Sip water or ginger ale, and try to drink at minimum 6 cups of uncaffeinated drinks every day.
  • Avoid triggers for nausea. One should keep clear of foods and smells that can make nausea more severe. Take in as much fresh air as you can.
  • Prenatal vitamins should be taken with care. Taking the vitamins in conjunction with a light meal or prior to bed can help to prevent feeling nauseated.

Alternative Medicine for Morning Sickness

A variety of alternative treatments have been suggested to treat morning sickness, such as:

  • Acupressure. The results of a study, which was released by the National Institutes of Health, show that acupressure on the PC-6 anatomical site can be efficient in reducing symptoms of nausea, but not nausea frequency among pregnancies women(18).

Acupressure wristbands can be bought without prescription at most pharmacies. The makers of wristbands claim that they reduce discomfort by applying pressure on the area in the inner part of your wrist. This stimulates the nerves and transmitting messages to brain which could disrupt nausea signals.

Acupressure wristbands are the subject of acupressure reviews. They have been mixed however, some women appear to appreciate the wristbands.

  • The practice of acupuncture. In a study from 1997 released by the National Institutes of Health, researchers discovered clear evidence that needle acupuncture can be effective in treating post-operative and nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, and possibly for nausea that comes with pregnancy(19).
  • Ginger. Ginger supplements may help alleviate morning sickness for some women. Research conducted by Mengjian Ding from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Queensland in Australia in 2013 has shown the use of ginger as a secure as well-effective treatment option for pregnant-induced nausea and vomiting (PNV) (20 ).
  • Hypnosis. A study from 2015 that was published in Journal of the Advanced Practitioner in Oncology looked at the application of hypnosis in the treatment of nausea and vomiting (ANV)(21). The results show that the safety and effectiveness of hypnosis have been proven.
  • Aromatherapy. Although there is little research on this topic specific scents, utilizing essential oils (aromatherapy) can assist women who suffer from morning sickness.

The results of an review from 2014 study that was published in Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal suggests that the lemon scent may be beneficial in decreasing nausea and vomiting during pregnant women (22 ).

Conclusion

moderate to serious NVP can cause dehydration and an imbalance in electrolytes like potassium or sodium which puts the health of both mother and child at risk.

Consultation with a physician like an OB-GYN is the most effective option when experiencing nausea. Doctors will recommend a secure solution depending on the severity of your symptoms.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Surgeon General, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strongly recommend breastfeeding mothers and pregnant women to stay clear of marijuana completely.

Experts don’t consider CBD oil to be safe for use during pregnancy, since CBD products could still contain small amounts of THC.

There aren’t enough studies that examine the benefits for CBD in pregnancy. The effects it has on babies and mothers remain a mystery.

Therefore, the majority of medical professionals advise pregnant women, mothers who are breastfeeding and women who are considering having a baby avoid using CBD.

References

  1. Parker LA, Rock EM, Limebeer CL. Control of vomiting and nausea by cannabinoids. Br J Pharmacol. 2011;163(7):1411-1422. doi:10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.01176.x
  2. ibid.
  3. Josephine Djulus, MD, Myla Moretti, MSC, and Gideon Koren, MD, FRCPC. The use of marijuana and nursing. Can Fam Physician. 2005 Mar 10; 51(3): 349-350.
  4. Sheryl A. Ryan, Seth D. Ammerman, Mary E. O’Connor. Marijuana Use During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Implications for Neonatal and Childhood Outcome. Pediatrics September 2018, 142 (3) e20181889; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2018-1889.
  5. Expert Committee on Drug Dependence. (2018). Cannabidiol (CBD). Retrieved from https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/CannabidiolCriticalReview.pdf.
  6. Parker et al. Op cit.
  7. Sharkey KA, Darmani NA, Parker LA. Control of vomiting and nausea by cannabis and the system of endocannabinoids. Eur J Pharmacol. 2014;722:134-146. doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2013.09.068.
  8. Roberson EK, Patrick WK, Hurwitz EL. Marijuana use and the experience of mothers of nausea and vomiting throughout pregnancy Hawai’i. Hawaii J Med Public Health. 2014;73(9):283-287.
  9. Westfall R, Janssen PA, Lucas P, Capler R. Study of the use of medicinal cannabis in women who are pregnant The patterns of use during pregnancy and an assessment of its effectiveness in retroactive self-assessment against morning sickness. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2006 Feb;12(1):27-33. Epub 2005 Dec 22. DOI: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2005.09.006.
  10. Committee on Obstetric Practice. No. 722: Marijuana usage during lactation and pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol. 2017;130(4):e205-e209.
  11. Sheryl A. Ryan et al. Op cit.
  12. Wu CS, Jew CP, Lu HC. The long-term effects of prenatal cannabis exposure and the role played by endogenous cannabinoids within the developing brain. Future Neurol. 2011;6(4):459-480. doi:10.2217/fnl.11.27.
  13. Day NL, Leech SL Goldschmidt L, Day NL. Prenatal effects from marijuana exposure on the delinquent behavior are controlled by measures of neurocognitive function. Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2011;33(1):129-136. doi:10.1016/j.ntt.2010.07.006.
  14. Hayatbakhsh MR, Flenady VJ, […], and Najman JM. Birth outcomes related to cannabis usage prior to as well during the pregnancy. Pediatr Res. 2012 Feb;71(2):215-9. doi: 10.1038/pr.2011.25. Epub 2011 Dec 21.
  15. Friedrich J, Khatib D, Parsa K, Santopietro A, Gallicano GI. It’s not always greener: Cannabis’ effects on the development of embryos. BMC Pharmacol Toxicol. 2016;17(1):45. Published 2016 Sep 29. doi:10.1186/s40360-016-0085-6.
  16. Scharf EL. Transforming Endocannabinoid Biology into Clinical Practice: Cannabidiol for Stroke Prevention. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017;2(1):259-264. Published 2017 Oct 1. doi:10.1089/can.2017.0033.
  17. Conner SN, Bedell V, […], and Tuuli MG. Maternal Marijuana Use and Adverse Neonatal Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Oct;128(4):713-23. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000001649.
  18. Belluomini J Litt R.C., Lee KA, Katz M. Acupressure to treat nausea and vomiting during pregnancy A blinded, randomized study. Obstet Gynecol. 1994 Aug;84(2):245-8.
  19. Acupuncture. NIH Consensus Statement Online 1997 Nov 3-5; month, day]; 15(5):1-34.
  20. Ding M, Leach M, Bradley H. The efficacy as well as the safety benefits of ginger in nausea and vomiting during pregnancy A systematic review. Women Birth. 2013 Mar;26(1):e26-30. doi: 10.1016/j.wombi.2012.08.001. Epub 2012 Aug 28.
  21. Kravits KG. Hypnosis for the Management of Anticipatory Nausea and Vomiting. J Adv Pract Oncol. 2015;6(3):225-229. doi:10.6004/jadpro.2015.6.3.4.
  22. Yavari Kia P, Safajou F, Shahnazi M, Nazemiyeh H. The effects of aromatherapy using lemons inhalation for nausea and vomiting in pregnant women: A double-blinded, controlled, randomized clinical study. Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2014 Mar;16(3):e14360. doi: 10.5812/ircmj.14360. Epub 2014 Mar 5.

Author

Integrative medicine specialist | View posts

Nicole Davis is a integrative medicine specialist who focuses on sleep and fatigue. She has extensively explored the therapeutic properties of cannabis, and provides specialized treatment plans according to personal symptoms. Dr. Davis is passionate about helping people feel their best, and believes that everyone deserves access to quality healthcare.

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