CBD has been taking the health world on like wildfire. Because of the many benefits and relief potential that include both mental and physical pains, CBD has become very popular. It’s especially popular for people with extra stressors in their lives, obviously, like pregnant people. Even if we don’t have kids (or want them) we can all agree that growing a person inside of your body is probably a pretty difficult task. So, you would think that these people (or you, if you’re one of them) would turn to CBD for any type of relief, well, the FDA may have to burst your bubble on this one.
TLDR (too long, didn’t read); The FDA strongly discourages using CBD, THC, and cannabis products while pregnant or even during breastfeeding.
CBD AND YOUR BODY
By now, we know that CBD works with our ECS (endocannabinoid system) to benefit a plethora of different ailments and disorders. CBD can’t do this until it is ingested and absorbed into your bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, the CBD (or THC) can react (directly or indirectly) to your CB1 and CB2 receptors in the ECS.
Your ECS helps regulate a lot of stuff in your body such as mood, immune system, memory, learning, emotional processing, sleep, pain control, inflammation, eating, and more. When your ECS gets out of whack, like many of our body’s systems do at times, you really feel it. Just like you would use vitamins to help supplement certain aspects of your body (i.e. iron supplements, Vitamin d, biotin, etc.) you use CBD to help regulate your ECS. CBD can help regain some balance in your body. This is when you feel that relief of the functions in your body returning to some normalcy.
Since CBD can help relieve pain, nausea, insomnia, and inflammation, it can sound attractive to someone carrying a tiny growing human inside their body. Potentially, unfortunately, experts warn against using CBD while pregnant or even while breastfeeding.
CBD AND PREGNANCY
So, since all humans have an ECS, that means babies and fetuses do as well. Why can’t pregnant and nursing people use CBD if the babies also have an ECS? As we know, baby and adult bodies and systems are quite different. Not only that, we have to realize CBD affects everyone’s body differently. Like I say in almost every single blog I write; listen to your body and change dosage if needed. Well, babies (and fetuses!) can’t tell you how the CBD you ingested is making them feel.
In addition to the simple fact that CBD creates different reactions in everyone, there are some scientific reviews and studies done in animals that may also show how human babies may react to CBD. According to this 2018 review, cannabinoids can cross the placental barrier and directly affect the fetus during pregnancy. One of the main concerns here is that cannabinoids can lead to the weakening of the child’s immune system, negatively affecting the child later in life. It’s important to note that there was no study done in this article, it is merely a review stating the potential hazards of ingesting cannabinoids during pregnancy.
Along with CBD, THC does create concerns for pregnant and nursing people as well. THC could affect academic achievement later in life and also increase risk of autism, learning disorders, and intellectual disabilities. Though this article is on CBD, it’s important to note that THC could show the same, or increased, risk factors.
While there is a lot of information out there about cannabis use in pregnant people, there is little about cannabidiol on its own. Not only is there little research done, the majority of the studies done so far don’t consider factors such as potency or frequency of use.
Unfortunately, there is a risk of using contaminated CBD products. This can prove even more dangerous for pregnant and nursing people and their children (or fetuses). To ensure you are getting quality products, always purchase CBD or THC products from a trusted source that has lab reports for the products.
CBD WHILE BREASTFEEDING
Though you have already given birth and your infant isn’t using your body as a host, you still pass on whatever you’re ingesting through your milk during breastfeeding. I’ve already touched on some reasons that experts don’t suggest using CBD products while breastfeeding, but there are a few more that pertain only to nursing people.
Once CBD is in your system, it can stay in your system between 2 and 5 days. How long CBD stays in your system depends on multiple factors like body weight, body chemistry, frequency, dosage, type of products you use, and more. This means that the previously mentioned risk factors for pregnant people transfer over to people that are breastfeeding their child.
POSSIBLE CBD SIDE EFFECTS
Other than the already mentioned concerns for pregnant people, there are some side effects that may make the pregnancy more unbearable, or with enough of certain side effects, could be bad for the fetus.
Some possible side effects of CBD are;
- Appetite and weight changes
- Potential to interact with certain medications
To combat possibly having negative side effects from CBD, ensure you are using the proper dosage and proper dosage for you, too. You can find dosing instructions on every product you purchase, specific to that exact product. Every person is different and will react differently to CBD and even different products. To read more on proper dosing, read this blog.
Make sure to chat with your doctor if you are on medications and would like to add CBD to your daily supplement routine.
SAFE PREGNANCY PAIN Relief OPTIONS
If CBD or THC aren’t your thing (or you and your care team have decided you shouldn’t use CBD or THC) then you’re probably looking for other relief options. Of course, please chat with your doctor or care team before you start implementing things into your routine that you haven’t previously used or already talked about.
This super common OTC (over-the-counter) pain reliever could be your next best friend. It’s the most common pain relieving medicine that doctors have given the go ahead to take for pregnant people.
NSAIDs, also known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are OTC medicines that help relieve, you guessed it, inflammation. Since CBD is known as a major anti-inflammatory, NSAIDs might be your best bet if you’ve decided to steer clear of CBD.
As much as I hate to say it, exercise can be a good option for relieving some pain associated with pregnancy. Please note that, yes, I DO consider light stretching a form of exercise. Moving your body around and stretching those tight muscles can relieve some physical pain during pregnancy. Don’t forget massaging the tight muscles can also help relieve some tension!
For extra relief, try massaging arnica gel into areas such as your lower back, joints, and where your varicose veins are. Arnica gel also works as an anti-inflammatory, so you’re killing two birds with one stone here.
Let’s not forget the magic that is warmth! For headaches (and for anxiety and stress!) take a warm compress and push it to your temple lightly. This can help relieve some minor head pain and relieve some anxiety and stress.
If you have an achy area that is inflamed, try a cold compress. Cold compresses will bring down swelling and inflammation.
*One thing that was ingrained in me in college, if you’re going to do something active, put warmth on the area. If you’ve already done something active, put cold on the area. As a college athlete with bad knees, I lived in the physical therapy room. To warm your muscles up before they need to be used, and if you’re stiff muscles are limited in their range of motion due to an injury (or pregnancy, in this case), you should first warm them up “manually” with a heating pad or a warm compress. Then try your stretching and other exercises. Once you’re ready to cool down and be done with your workout, it’s ice time. Try an ice bath (if you’re brave) or put some ice in a ziploc, wrap a towel around it (very important, as ice allergies are REAL) and put it on the painful areas. This allows your joints to completely relax and will reduce the swelling that you built up while exercising.
While the FDA does warn against using CBD in all forms while pregnant or nursing, CBD topicals may help relieve some joint and muscle pain. Since CBD topicals are applied to the skin, less than trace amounts of CBD enter your bloodstream. So, these topicals may be an option for some pregnant people to find relief. Another thing to note, though, is that a lot of CBD topicals do contain other ingredients that are meant for pain relief. Talking to your doctor before using these topicals is the safest way to ensure the good health of you and your baby.
Always check with your doctor before starting a new routine, this includes CBD. Even if you aren’t pregnant, it’s always a safe option to consult with your doctor first.
Yes – under the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD is federally legal.
YES! Right here at The Green Dragon CBD, you can find all types, flavors, strains, etc. of quality CBD products.
IS CBD RIGHT FOR YOU?
There is still SO MUCH research to be done. The fact that pregnant and nursing people could potentially benefit from CBD (and THC, for that matter) is good grounds alone for the need for more research on CBD. (Thank you for coming to my TED talk.) In all seriousness, though, experts can make these data-driven claims, but the fact of the matter is that the only studies they can base their findings on are studies done on animals. Even though some animals do share the same type of ECS, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the same findings will transfer over to humans.
In short, while the FDA and other experts may warn against using CBD while pregnant or nursing, they don’t have enough research-based evidence for a final say. The studies so far do allow them to stand strongly against someone using CBD while pregnant or nursing.
That being said, I always say in these medically-driven blogs; talk to your doctor! You and your doctor can make personalized care plans and medication and vitamin suggestions better than a generalized statement. If you and your care team have decided to use CBD in small doses or even topical CBD products, reach out to our team here and we will help find the best product for you!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, BRIE LOWREY
Brie Lowrey, resident Head of Customer Engagement here at The Green Dragon CBD, is a Kansas City Native now residing in St. Louis. She thrives on keeping up with social media trends, staying up-to-date on CBD news, and sending out office-wide dragon jokes. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Instagram, or read other posts by Brie.