Can You Use CBD Oil While Pregnant?
For pregnant mothers, health and safety are top concerns, which is why cannabis and CBD use during pregnancy can be a controversial topic.
Written by Cathy Rozyczko
Edited by Jason Brett on
September 27, 2021
Cannabidiol (CBD), is becoming widely used for its reported therapeutic benefits, which include pain reduction, nausea relief, and mood elevation. But can you use CBD oil while pregnant?
During pregnancy, anything a mother is exposed to may ultimately come into contact with the fetus growing inside her. From the air she breathes to the food she eats, everything has the potential to affect her baby. For this reason, certain items she consumes can be beneficial, like prenatal vitamins. It’s also for this reason other more harmful products like nicotine and alcohol should be avoided during pregnancy. Where does CBD oil fit on this spectrum?
While cannabis-derived products have now been legalized in most states, for ethical and legal reasons, little research has been conducted on their effects on pregnant women. As such, the effects CBD oil has on a fetus or mother during pregnancy are near impossible to fully understand.
Here is what is currently known about CBD oil and pregnancy. With this information, you can make an informed decision about what’s right for you and your family.
The information contained in this page is meant to serve as an educational tool and should not be substituted for medical advice.
Is CBD Oil Safe to Use During Pregnancy?
This is a difficult question to answer because, at this point in time, there is no definitive answer.
In terms of scientific research, we know that a fetus possesses an endocannabinoid system even when it is as small as two cells. There have been a series of studies conducted on the effects of cannabinoids on animal embryos but these studies have focused primarily on THC, which has different properties than CBD.
These studies found that the effects of THC on mice embryos inhibited their growth. Similarly, studies on anandamide in-vitro reported restricted growth. Given that CBD can increase levels of anandamide, there may be risk involved here.
Of course, it is also important to state that these effects were on mice and may not reflect the human experience.
In terms of research around pregnant humans, again, most of the studies focus on the use of cannabis and not CBD specifically, but they are worth considering when weighing all the potential risks of using CBD during pregnancy. A review of the existing research suggests that there is limited evidence of a statistical link between maternal cannabis use and pregnancy complications for the mother. However, when the same analysis of the existing research shifts towards consequences for the fetus, things begin to change: there seems to be an association between cannabis use and lower birth weight.
Why Would an Expectant Mother Consider using CBD Oil?
Given that there is not yet conclusive evidence to support the safe use of CBD oil while pregnant, why are women still using it anyway?
With such a wide range of potentially positive effects, and the ability to reduce some of the more negative elements of pregnancy, many women find that the proven benefits outweigh the potential risks.
Some of the most well-reported pregnancy symptoms that CBD oil can help with include:
CBD Oil for Morning Sickness and Hyperemesis
The cause of morning sickness (or day-long nausea if you’re particularly unlucky) are still a mystery in medical circles. However, one theory is that increased levels of the pregnancy hormone hCG stimulate estrogen production, which in turn causes nausea. Research suggests that CBD is able to bind to estrogen receptors. This could lead to a reduction in morning sickness.
CBD has also been shown to reduce nausea through its interactions with serotonin receptors. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that, when present in large amounts, creates the feeling of nausea. It’s believed that CBD indirectly activates certain receptors that ultimately stops the production of serotonin. In fact, CBD oil may well work in the same way as some of the most well-known antiemetic drugs.
CBD Oil for Insomnia
One of the most common complaints about pregnancy is trouble sleeping. Whether it’s your body preparing for the sleepless nights to come, or just the struggle of trying to find a comfortable position, sleep doesn’t come easily to prospective moms. CBD oil can change that. As an anti-catabolic, CBD oil reduces cortisol, the stress hormone which can prevent you from being able to fall asleep and stay asleep. For this reason, CBD oil may improve your sleep quality and allow you to get some rest before the baby arrives.
CBD Oil for Stress and Relaxation
Pregnancy can be a beautiful and frightening time for soon-to-be-mothers. Stress, and other mood-related troubles, come with the territory.
It’s widely accepted that during pregnancy it is important to reduce stress. Not only can stress cause physical changes in the brain, but it can also create chemical changes which may impact the baby. As mentioned above, CBD can reduce the stress hormone cortisol, promoting physical and mental relaxation.
CBD oil also plays a role similar to antidepressants when it comes to regulating serotonin levels. It’s because of these properties that CBD oil is gaining popularity with people looking to reduce anxiety without using traditional psychiatric medication.
Is CBD Oil Right For You?
If you are struggling through side-effects of pregnancy and are looking for a more natural solution, it makes sense that you would consider CBD oil. But, before you start to use it, consult with your doctor or OB/GYN. In addition, you may want to speak with a naturopathic doctor who specializes in helping patients with natural and CBD-based treatment plans.
While much of the evidence regarding the safe use of CBD oil while pregnant is up in the air, it is particularly important to consider this issue from all sides.
Decisions made by pregnant mothers are personal ones and should be made based on what is best for that woman and her future child. The risks must be weighed against the benefits. By including a healthcare professional in the conversation, it may be possible to gain a little more clarity.
It is true that smoking cannabis is not the same as using CBD oil but that does not mean some of the complications caused by cannabis use are not also triggered by isolated cannabinoids like CBD.
When looking to reduce morning sickness, get a good night’s rest, and promote relaxation, a physician may be able to recommend other options and alternative therapies that either pose fewer risks or have been backed up by more concrete research.
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