Can You Use CBD Oil While Breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding mothers must be cautious about anything they consume, including CBD oil.
Written by Cathy Rozyczko
Edited by Jason Brett on
September 27, 2021
As a breastfeeding mother, you know how carefully you need to monitor your consumption. Certain foods and drinks are off limits, but can you use CBD oil while breastfeeding?
CBD oil has seen a surge in popularity due to recent changes in U.S. legislation and its purported health benefits. With potential benefits including better sleep, reduced stress, and increased appetite, there are certainly ways CBD oil could improve the health of a new mother…but is it safe for a nursing baby?
Research into how CBD oil interacts with the human body is ongoing, and due to ethical constraints, it’s difficult to directly study CBD oil’s effects on breastfeeding mothers and their babies. This does not mean, however, that there is no available information on the subject.
Here is the most up-to-date information about the use of CBD oil while breastfeeding.
Concerns About Using CBD Oil While Breastfeeding
The use of any substance, even a natural one like CBD oil, can raise concerns for breastfeeding mothers. Below are a few of the most common questions new mothers may have regarding CBD oil use.
Will CBD Oil Get Me High?
The cannabis plant contains over 100 cannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), which interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. While both THC and CBD have therapeutic properties, they are different in one key way: THC produces an intoxicating effect—the “high”—and CBD does not.
Because CBD will not get you high, it’s becoming more widely accepted and used to treat a variety of ailments, including inflammation, anxiety, and insomnia.
Does CBD Oil Pass Through My Milk?
Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this question. While it has been shown that THC passes through to breast milk and can be detrimental to an infant, the effects of CBD oil on newborn babies are not yet known.
It is worth keeping in mind however, that there are some cannabinoids that are naturally present in breast milk, which are produced by the body’s own endocannabinoid system. While marijuana should not be used at all during pregnancy or breastfeeding, CBD oil has been shown to be of little risk to both adults and children so it may not be problematic.
Because there is still no conclusive evidence to support an answer to this question, you must speak to your doctor before using CBD oil, especially if you’re a new mother.
Why Would a Mother Consider Using CBD Oil While Breastfeeding?
The uncertainty around CBD oil and its impact on nursing infants may be enough for some mothers to avoid it completely. For others, there are still plenty of reasons to consider using CBD oil while breastfeeding.
Many women who are breastfeeding find themselves affected by postpartum depression (PPD), a serious condition that can result in anxiety, fatigue, mood swings, and detachment from your infant. PPD is usually treated with antidepressant medications that are not suitable to use while breastfeeding. Taking antidepressants ultimately brings a mother’s nursing journey to an abrupt end during an already difficult time.
CBD oil has been found to reduce depression in a multitude of ways, one of which is through its impact on anandamide, a neurotransmitter commonly called the “bliss molecule.” Anandamide plays a key role in the experience of joy, happiness, and motivation. CBD oil acts as an anandamide reuptake inhibitor, which means it increases the amount of anandamide available in the brain. For women with PPD, the increased amount of anandamide in the brain could decrease the limiting, heavy effects of postpartum depression.
Along with its positive impacts on mood and anxiety, CBD oil has a host of other benefits that may make life easier for breastfeeding mothers.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, breastfeeding mothers should supplement their regular diets with 450-500 extra calories per day to make up for what is fed to the baby. Without an adequate intake of calories, new mothers may experience fatigue and unhealthy weight loss. Studies have shown that certain types of CBD oil can reduce nausea and increase appetite, providing a useful aid for increasing caloric consumption for breastfeeding mothers.
Lastly, when being woken multiple times a night to nurse your newborn, decent sleep can be hard to come by. CBD oil has been proven to improve sleep quality and help combat insomnia. CBD oil also reduces the production of cortisol, a hormone that’s triggered by stress and may prevent you from drifting back to sleep.
Is CBD Oil Right for You?
The decision of whether or not to use CBD oil while breastfeeding is one you should make with the help of your doctor. You might also consider speaking with a naturopathic doctor who specializes in using CBD for medical treatment.
For your reference, the Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) states in a report on the use of cannabidiol (CBD oil) while breastfeeding that:
“If cannabidiol is required by the mother, it is not a reason to discontinue breastfeeding. However, since no information is available on the use of cannabidiol during breastfeeding, an alternate drug may be preferred, especially while nursing a newborn or preterm infant.”
If in doubt, speak to your doctor to discuss the options available to you. Once you have all the information you need, you can decide whether CBD oil will be of benefit to you.
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