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Last updated on 20 May 2022

Can CBD aid in the process of pregnancy?

  • The results of a 1986 study, that was published in International Journal of Andrology, suggest that either non-psychoactive forms of cannabidiol (CBD) as well as cannabinol (CBN) could cause issues in the reproduction system of male foetuses ( 1 ).
  • To date there has not been a thorough study of humans that has examined CBD’s effects CBD in isolation on the developing fetus expecting mother, or breastfeeding infant.
  • However however, there is a warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that there could be significant dangers associated with using CBD-rich products, such as ones that contain CBD during pregnancy or nursing.
  • Experts recommend expecting mothers and women who are considering a pregnancy or nursing to conduct more research and speak with an expert before beginning the CBD regimen.

CBD is a better alternative to. Marijuana on Pregnancy

Research studies that demonstrate the effects of cannabis on the pregnancy process are not extensive. However, research has been conducted by subjects who have been exposed for a long time to cannabis.

The 2013. research study “Cannabidiol changes P-gp and BCRP expression in trophoblast cell lines”, carried out in the Department of Clinical Biochemistry and Pharmacology at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, concluded that CBD usage during pregnancy could alter the physiological properties that the placenta exhibits.

However, it should be noted that the study did not base itself on the sole usage of CBD that typically has very low or no levels of THC however, it was based the marijuana plant, which has significant levels of THC.

Marijuana has different levels of CBD and THC.

Contrary to THC the psychoactive component of CBD, CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabis-derived substance. CBD is also non-addictive and is thought to be secure to use for a long time.

But the long-term effects of CBD are not well understood and the majority of CBD products have not been tested.

In the meantime, marijuana has evolved in the past, and the marijuana in some products is now much stronger than the earlier formulations.

The 2016 research study was carried out by researchers from The National Center for Natural Products Research School of Pharmacy of the University of Mississippi and the Department of Computer Science of the University of West Georgia ( 6 ).

The results of the study revealed that from 1995 to 2014, between 1995 and 2014, the THC concentration in marijuana cultivation plants increased by three times.

It is reported that the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, through its official website cites an survey that was conducted among cannabis users from Washington. The survey researchers discovered that the marijuana sold in dispensaries across the state contains THC levels ranging from 17.7 percent and 23.2 percent ( 7 ).

Similar to that, the use of marijuana by expecting mothers is increasing and the findings of research are worrying.

The 2017. study that was released in the National Institutes of Health, was conducted to study the patterns of the use of marijuana by women within California ( 8 ). The researchers of the study discovered that there was a 69% increase in the use of marijuana during pregnancy between 2009 and 2016.

In a 2017 study conducted by scientists from University of Colorado School of Medicine and The Colorado School of Public Health located in Aurora, Colorado, the University of Utah Health in Salt Lake City, and Denver Health and Hospital Authority located in Denver, Colorado, found that many dispensaries in the retail market suggest marijuana to women who are pregnant to treat nausea in the morning ( 9 ).

In the year 2019 the study was carried out by researchers from the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in Rockville, Maryland on pregnant women in the United States ( 10 ).

Researchers compared the most recent information on self-reported medical and non-medical cannabis usage among participants with data from the period between 2002 to 2017. The results showed that use of marijuana during pregnancy doubled.

Further research is required to understand the effects of marijuana on the mother-to-be and her baby during the pregnancy. However, experts advise that pregnant women not smoke marijuana.

CBD can be CBD is notthe the same thing as cannabis. Therefore, it’s hard to make any meaningful conclusions from these research.

Inconclusive and limited research makes doctors wary of recommending non-psychoactive CBD due to the close ties it has with marijuana, and due to the absence of research on CBD by itself.

“I want to stress the importance of protecting our nation from the health risks associated with smoking marijuana in adolescence as well as during pregnancy. Recent rises in marijuana’s availability and its potency as well as misperceptions about the marijuana’s safety, threaten our most valuable resource, our nation’s young .”

— Surgeon General VADM Jerome Adams

How Marijuana Impacts the Developing Fetus

There aren’t any studies that specifically study the impacts of CBD on women who are pregnant. There are however studies that demonstrate the effects of marijuana on the fetus’s development.

  • If a woman is pregnant consumes smoking marijuana or inhale, the cannabinoids are absorbed into the blood.

Based on an study of animals in 1987 study that was released in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology Journal Results show that, through the bloodstream, THC quickly crosses over the placenta, and then enters the brain of the fetus ( 11 ).

While the research did not involve humans however, it is believed that the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) functions exactly the same way in humans like it does in other animals.

The ECS regulates the homeostasis (balance) between body functions and plays a key role in the regulation of nervous, metabolic digestive, reproductive and immune functions.

  • A 2016 study that was published in theYale Journal of Biology and Medicine It indicates that marijuana could affect the body’s endocannabinoid system that is vital to a healthy pregnancy as well as the development of the brain in the fetus ( 12 ). Marijuana can also disrupt the delicate balance of the ECS within the female reproductive system.
  • A study carried out in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University in St. Louis as well as in the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri revealed that the link between the use of marijuana by mothers and adverse outcomes for newborns appears to be due to smoking tobacco in conjunction, as well as other factors that can cause confusion ( 13 ).
  • The review from 2017 study, “Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research” that was released by the National Academy of Sciences, revealed that cannabis in the uterus has negative effects on the birth weight and can increase the chance of an infant being admitted into intensive medical care.
  • The Pharmacology and Therapeutics Journal published in the year 2018, researchers of the study on “Cannabis Use during Pregnancy: Pharmacokinetics and Effects on Child Development” stressed the importance of women not use marijuana during pregnancy. The study however doesn’t mention anything about CBD usage during pregnancy.
  • In the year 2018 the year 2018, a study that has been published in the Journal of Pediatrics, was carried out to examine the connection between cannabis use during pregnancy and adverse outcomes for neonates, like small size of the infant for gestational age and low birth weight as well as preterm birth ( 14 ).

It was found that the use of marijuana by mothers was associated with an increase of 50% in the risk of having a low birth weight, regardless of age or ethnicity, education level and smoking.

But, as CBD and marijuana aren’t the same thing, it’s hard to make any conclusive conclusions out of these research.

Therefore doctors are cautious when prescribing non-psychoactive CBD due to the close ties it has with marijuana, as well as the absence of research on CBD by itself.

“Smoking is the most popular method of administration of THC is not medically approved during pregnancy or lactation. Therefore, obstetrician-gynecologists should be discouraged from prescribing or suggesting the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes during preconception, pregnancy, and lactation.”

— The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)

To ensure safety To protect yourself, as a precautionary measure, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) warns pregnant women and those who are considering the birth of a child not to begin or stop using marijuana.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggested in 2018 that it was essential to inform all young women and adolescents that marijuana shouldn’t be used at any time during pregnancy.

Additionally, a woman who is pregnant who smokes marijuana could put her baby’s health at risk following the birth.

According to an research published in the AAP’s Pediatrics Journal, small quantities of THC were detected in breast milk, even after 6 days since the last time it was used ( 15 ).

Breastmilk that contains THC could affect the infant’s brain development.

A review of 2015 conducted by scientists from Denver Health Medical Center, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology located in Denver, CO and University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, CO, revealed that THC could cause issues in the development of neurological functions that could lead to diminished or impaired cognitive function as well as excessive activity ( 16 ).

Additionally, because smoking marijuana contains some similar harmful elements like tobacco smoke, the researchers from an study from 2008 that was released in Chemical Research in Toxicology Journal strongly advise against the smoking or vaping of marijuana or tobacco in the vicinity of a child ( 17 ).

The studies mentioned above were specifically focused specifically on the marijuana plant and its main ingredient, THC, and not on CBD.

It is important to remember that CBD is completely different from marijuana. Therefore, it’s impossible to make any conclusion from these research.

Due to CBD’s close ties with marijuana, and the absence of studies on CBD by itself doctors are wary of prescribing the non-psychoactive CBD


Women who are pregnant should be aware of the dangers associated with making use of CBD-infused products as well as other cannabis-based products. It’s not just the mother’s health that’s at risk when problems result from using products that haven’t been tested for safety during pregnancy.

Women who are pregnant should be aware of the possible harm exposure to or consumption of CBD products could cause to the unborn baby and on themselves. It is advisable for expecting mothers to speak with their doctor prior to beginning the CBD regimen during their pregnancy.

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  2. Wei Xiong, Tanxing Cui, Kejun Cheng, Fei Yang, Shao-Rui Chen, Dan Willenbring, Yun Guan, Hui-Lin Pan, Ke Ren, Yan Xu, and Li Zhang. “Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting a3 glycine receptors.” J Exp Med. 2012 Jun 4; 209(6): 1121-1134. DOI: 10.1084/jem.20120242.
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  6. ElSohly, Mehmedic, Foster, Gon, Chandra, and Church. “Changes in Cannabis Potency Over the Last 2 Decades (1995-2014): Analysis of Current Data in the United States.” Biol Psychiatry. 2016 Apr 1;79(7):613-9. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2016.01.004. Epub 2016 Jan 19.
  7. Jikomes, N., & Zoorob, M. (2018). The Cannabinoid Content of Legal Cannabis in Washington State Varies Systematically Across Testing Facilities and Popular Consumer Products. Scientific reports, 8(1), 4519. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-22755-2.
  8. Young-Wolff, Tucker, Alexeeff, Armstrong, Conway, Weisner, and Goler. “Trends in Self-reported and Biochemically Tested Marijuana Use Among Pregnant Females in California From 2009-2016.” JAMA. 2017 Dec 26;318(24):2490-2491. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2017.17225.
  9. Dickson, Mansfield, Guiahi, Allshouse, Borgelt, Sheeder, Silver, and Metz. “Recommendations From Cannabis Dispensaries About First-Trimester Cannabis Use.” Obstet Gynecol. 2018 Jun;131(6):1031-1038. DOI: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000002619.
  10. Volkow, Han, Compton,, and McCance-Katz. “Self-reported Medical and Nonmedical Cannabis Use Among Pregnant Women in the United States.” JAMA. 2019 Jul 9;322(2):167-169. doi: 10.1001/jama.2019.7982.
  11. Bailey, Cunny, Paule, and Slikker Jr..”Fetal disposition of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) during late pregnancy in the rhesus monkey.”Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 1987 Sep 15;90(2):315-21. DOI: 10.1016/0041-008x(87)90338-3.
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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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