With CBD being all the rage lately, people from all walks of life are keen to try it. Research suggests that CBD is safe for people of all ages, but this does not necessarily mean that everybody should take it.
Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, for example, might be wondering whether taking CBD supplements could harm their baby. This is, of course, of huge concern for parents. Introducing any foreign substance to your body during pregnancy or nursing can be worrying, and so could be the case with CBD.
So is it actually safe to continue or start CBD if you are pregnant? Let’s fine out…
What is CBD and is it Dangerous?
First of all, it’s important to know what CBD is. It is short for cannabidiol, and is one of the compounds found in the cannabis plant. It’s pretty obvious that smoking cannabis or marijuana is a terrible idea during pregnancy and breastfeeding – that goes without saying. So why would a compound from the plant be any different?
CBD is quite unique among other cannabinoids. It is non-psychoactive, non-addictive, and non-toxic. This has been discussed in a detailed report from the World Health Organisation. As a result, CBD has been deemed safe for pretty much everyone – even your dog can take CBD!
So although this compound comes from the cannabis plant, it is not necessarily dangerous. But why would anyone want to take it in general?
Mums and CBD Oil: Is it a Good Idea?
In theory, CBD supplements could be great for new mums. This is because it has a positive influence on the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is an innate biological system we are all born with, and it has a huge impact on our health.
The ECS regulates a vast range of physiological functions, including mood, sleep, appetite, immune system efficiency, pain response, and more. It does this through little messenger molecules called endocannabinoids, which pass on information regarding changes inside and outside the body. Many people may suffer an endocannabinoid deficiency, wherein their body doesn’t produce enough natural endocannabinoids. As a result, their health may suffer.
New mums experience many symptoms and ailments that may come about as a result of endocannabinoid deficiency. For example, postpartum depression (PPD) is surprisingly common among new mothers. It has been estimated that 1 in 10 women experience postnatal depression within a year of giving birth. Since the ECS is strongly linked to the serotonin system and is involved in regulating mood, it may have a part to play in depression.
When you take CBD, it can stimulate the production of endocannabinoids and potentially solve an endocannabinoid deficiency. This can help your general health and wellbeing.
With all the health problems new mums experience, it makes sense that you might want to give CBD a shot. But is it actually safe?
The Trouble with CBD Breastfeeding
Sadly, there is very little scientific research surrounding CBD and breastfeeding. We know for a fact that taking THC – the psychoactive compound found in marijuana – during breastfeeding is harmful, but sadly little research has been done on CBD.
This is, obviously, a major concern. It’s doubtful that any mother would want to take a substance that could be passed onto their baby when the impacts on development are unknown.
Of course, there is also no evidence that CBD is harmful to nursing children, either. As a result, you might still want to go ahead and give CBD a shot. Let’s take a little look at the science of cannabinoids.
Breast Milk Contains Its Own Natural Cannabinoids…
Did you know that breast milk contains endocannabinoids? Yep! Research has found that the endocannabinoids in breast milk are important for growing babies.
The most abundant cannabinoid found in breast milk is called 2-arachidonoylglycerol, or 2-AG for short. This interacts with receptors found throughout the endocannabinoid system. 2-AG is actually vital in keeping newborn babies alive, as it is what stimulates the suckling response and tongue muscles. In other words, 2-AG encourages babies to eat. This makes endocannabinoids crucial in breastfeeding!
Furthermore, a 2004 study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology found that endocannabinoids have a major impact on babies during pre- and post-natal development. Anandamide, a major endocannabinoid, is present in high levels in the embryo, for example.
The presence of natural endocannabinoids in breast milk is actually one of the reasons why breastfeeding is recommended over formulas. Passing these compounds onto the baby is of great importance to their health.
That being said, this doesn’t really describe the impact of CBD.
Why It’s Difficult to Determine the Impact of CBD on Breast Milk
Since CBD is such a new trend, virtually no studies have been done on CBD and breastfeeding. We don’t even know how much CBD winds up in the breast milk after taking it.
A study by the American Chemical Society has shown that CBD binds so closely with fat, it is impossible to measure the amounts in breast milk. All cannabinoids are known to bind well with fat, and the high quantity of fast in breast milk makes it hard to measure cannabinoids.
With this in mind, we simply just can’t tell the full extent of the impact of CBD on breast milk.
Is CBD Worth the Risk While Breastfeeding?
In any decision, it’s important to weigh up the risks versus the rewards. Many women experiencing health complications after giving birth may struggle to breastfeed in the first place. For example, women experiencing PPD may find it difficult to breastfeed. In this scenario, it’s important to improve your own health so that you can support that of the baby.
Another thing CBD may be able to do is help you get a better sleep. As any new mother knows, sleep is something that’s hard to come by! If tiredness is preventing you from doing your best during your wakeful hours, then CBD could be a viable option.
Since CBD may have the ability to boost your health and wellbeing, it could be a viable option if you are truly suffering. It is a natural compound that should not theoretically cause harm, so it is up to you whether you want to take a gamble on something with little scientific research.
Please note that, although CBD has very few side effects, there are some to note. For example, nausea and diarrhoea may occur for newcomers to CBD. This is not great during breastfeeding, so you might want to hold off CBD if you find this is the case.
I Want to Take CBD While Breastfeeding… How Much Should I Take?
Since the effect of other cannabinoids is so unknown, and since THC is harmful to children, it is recommended to take a CBD isolate when breastfeeding. This ensures that you are getting CBD and nothing else.
When it comes to taking it, you can try a sublingual method such as an oil or a powder. These will have an impact on your entire health rather than targeting a specific area. Try taking a fairly low dose – especially if you are completely new to CBD!
For example, 10 mg a day could be fine. If you find that nothing happens, increase the dose slightly until you feel positive effects. Remember, however, that you should take caution considering that we don’t know the impact of CBD on newborns. You shouldn’t be taking a high dose every day.
Final Thoughts on CBD and Breastfeeding
Hopefully, more studies will be conducted in the future on the topic of CBD and breastfeeding. It is likely, considering that the industry is currently booming and many new and expecting mothers will be looking towards CBD to keep their health in check.
If you decide that CBD is worth the risk, then make sure you take the supplement sensibly. Ensure that you buy a safe, high-quality CBD oil that definitely won’t be harmful. Read up on everything there is to know about CBD so that you are fully educated on its effects, and try consulting a doctor about your intentions to take it while breastfeeding.
For now, using CBD is unfortunately down to your own discretion.