You have definitely heard of CBD at one point in your life, thanks to the power of the internet. But I am sure you are yet to fully grasp the entire story.
Cannabidiol or CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis sativa plant family. It has become popular because of its potential to help pain-related conditions.
Could it be the cure-all natural alternative we are looking for? I guess we have to wait for all the ongoing studies to conclude for us to make our own conclusion about it.
Pregnant women are one of the most sensitive groups we have to consider when it comes to medication. Given the positive feedback from CBD users, the question lies: is CBD safe during pregnancy?
The Endocannabinoid System
Scientists have not published any conclusion on what CBD could do to our body. However, even a fetus already has an endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system or ECS is also known as the signaling system. It helps your body to react to emotions, balance energy, and motivate behavior. It also regulates the functions of the immune system.
It has CBD receptors – CB1 and CB2 – that are connected to different parts of the body. When CBD enters the body, the receptors react to it, which could lead to the treatment of symptoms.
The first – and so far the only – CBD-infused medication approved by the Food and Drug Authority of FDA is Epidiolex. With this breakthrough, scientists confirmed that CBD could actually help the worst epilepsy conditions that could happen to children.
Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome are two of the most notorious epileptic syndromes that do not usually react to known medication except Epidiolex.
By now, the world has heard of CBD but may not understand what it is. If you are new to it, let’s try to explain how it works.
CBD is one of the many cannabinoids in marijuana that does not bind with our CB receptors. Instead, it actually stimulates the body to achieve homeostasis and helps in alleviating pain.
To get pure CBD, it has to go through a lot of processes using expensive methods. That’s why some products in the market use alternatives to make it cheap.
Now, if you are pregnant, this might really be risky. That’s why I highly encourage you to read a lot of articles about CBD. I can tell you a lot about this but I have already digressed, so let’s go back to the main topic.
Should I Use CBD While Pregnant?
I could not say “no” outright. Even researchers could not give a direct response to this question. It is because you need scientific validation.
Well, you have to consider a lot of things before using CBD, just like any traditional medication. The most helpful person you may want to talk to about it is your obstetrician-gynecologist.
When I was pregnant with my second child, I tried CBD topical for my muscle pain. I think that was the only time I actually used a CBD product. Of course, I was cautious about medication, most especially when I have to take it orally.
It is vital to know your condition before trying out anything. Remember, you are not alone in this journey, so anything you’d take would affect the little bun in the oven.
With that, you have to do a lot of research and not just rely on what you hear somewhere. There are loads of information you can get online, all you have to do is to find which ones are reliable.
What the Authorities Have to Say
Speaking of reliability, you have to always check what science has to say about it. Some groups actually recommend steering clear of cannabis-related products. One such organization is the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists or ACOG.
According to ACOG, women who are planning to get pregnant or are already pregnant are at high risk of getting adverse side effects when they use marijuana. Worse, it might also have a dangerous effect on the child’s development.
The ongoing studies on CBD are yet to conclude but scientists have ruled out marijuana altogether. A study conducted from 2009 to 2016 confirmed the side effects of marijuana on pregnant women in California. However, the use of CBD could not be directly responsible for stillbirth.
Possible Pregnancy Risks When Using CBD
In an experiment done with mice, THC and Anandamide stopped the development of the embryos. This particular research concluded that both cannabinoids might affect human babies’ growth inside their moms.
Tetrahydrocannabinol is the infamous cannabinoid found in marijuana. It became popular because it is the one that has psychoactive effects to users. With this study, the scientists used anandamide to represent CBD because it heavily affects anandamides.
You also have to consider this: some users experience nausea, vomiting, and dry mouth with CBD. Believe me; you’d really feel vulnerable and sensitive when you are pregnant. So if you are the sensitive type, it is also possible that you experience double nausea.
If you think CBD really helps you while you are pregnant, it may also be just a placebo effect, according to Dr. Catherine Monk, a psychiatrist from the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry. Most of the time, when people believe it works, it really does work.
But, as mentioned earlier, there are no studies that showed that CBD could result in stillbirth. That’s why scientists do their best to conduct further research about it because if you’re going to analyze it, CBD seems to have contradicting effects.
Can I Use CBD Oil during Breastfeeding Stage?
I could not give a definitive answer… yet. Again, we have to wait what the experts have to “finally” say about it. This side of CBD would need a lot of research to justify the need for CBD oil.
Science could not even tell whether CBD could actually be passed on to the babies through breastfeeding. But just like other products, did you know that breast milk actually has natural cannabinoids in it?
CBD may be far from the finish line yet, but researchers could not support any conclusion that breastfeeding while using CBD oil is dangerous. But of course, science has already said no-no to marijuana users’ breastfeeding.
Do You Even Need CBD When you’re Pregnant?
If you have been using CBD for quite some time, it is possible that CBD can help you through your pregnancy pains and inflammations. However, you have to know how your body would react to it.
For those who are planning to become moms, your body feels a lot of changes when you are expecting. I was lucky not to experience morning sickness during both pregnancies but the pain seemed to be all over my body.
There were times I had to call in sick at work because the pain is unbearable. That’s just me, though. Some pregnant women may want to consider using CBD because of:
• Mood swings
• Acne breakout
• Pain and inflammation
What’s awesome is that a lot of preliminary studies are ongoing. So some of us may be hesitant to use CBD oil now, but may later change their minds once science proves otherwise.
Remember: one pregnant woman is different from another. There are different manifestations during gestation period so it really is not easy to determine.
No One Said CBD Is Unsafe Though
Between the late 30s and 50s, doctors encouraged pregnant women to smoke a cigarette to avoid gaining weight. When you were knocked up during those times and you’re a heavy smoker, they would just advise you to trim down smoking to four sticks a day instead of quitting altogether.
They believed that stopping you from smoking would stress your body. Furthermore, scientists thought that cigarettes could help calm down your nerves. The world took decades to realize that cigarette smoking is actually dangerous.
Science does not want to commit the same mistake again. That is why they continue to conduct research to prove whether a certain thing is helpful or not.
It is also the same reason you could not get straight answers on the internet. That’s the reason some pregnant women continue to use CBD but at their own, risk of course.
Some women choose supplements during pregnancy and avoid traditional medication. Even if you are not pregnant, you would experience adverse side effects on regular drugs, right? So far, I have not heard of any major cases about moms-to-be having issues while they use CBD oil.
I Really Want to Use CBD during my Pregnancy
At the end of the day, it’s your body and your decision that you would follow. I can only give you the facts and the pros and cons, but you still have the final say.
If you really think that your body and your baby could bear it, consider the following pieces of advice:
1. Talk to your OB-GYNE
Make sure that you tell your doctor everything, even before your journey. It is vital for her to know how long you have been using CBD oil, how much do you take per day, and how active your lifestyle is. Let her know if you are also taking in other substances. These facts would make it easy for your physician to decide whether she would allow you to take CBD or not.
2. Take low doses
You do not need to be aggressive when it comes to taking in CBD at this point. Start slow with low dosages. Refer to the first advice if you want to increase your doses.
3. Monitor your progress
Since this is a team effort, monitor your progress that you can share with your physician. It should answer the following:
• How much do you take daily?
• What CBD products are you using?
• Did your condition improve?
• Did you feel any side effects?
Make sure that you only get CBD products of high quality. I check the products’ website and see if the manufacturers follow the guidelines set under the 2018 Farm Bill. This sounds tedious but it really is helpful.
You are already using the internet, so maximize it. Check if the products have the certifications. Of course, do not expect dosing recommendation from any of the website since the FDA has not released any yet.
I also go to reasonably-priced products. If it is cheap, I remove it from my list. I know how expensive it is to process CBD so I am expecting it to be more expensive than other supplements.
You may also want to check if the products only have pure CBD on it. This way, you can avoid THC and other compounds that may cause adverse side effects to you and your baby.
5. Stop when you don’t feel good
Yes, it’s your body but if it already cries, stop. It is not like you are forced to take it anyway. Your doctor would definitely tell you the same thing. If it does not suit well as you expect, there is no reason for you to continue then.
The study on CBD is not even near completion. Scientists still need solid pieces of evidence to prove that CBD can indeed help pregnant women and everyone else.
Weigh your needs. Do you really need CBD oil while you are pregnant or are there any alternatives? Women are extra-sensitive during pregnancy so they should be extra careful as well.
Just to stay on the safe side, always seek your doctor’s advice. What may be effective to me may not be to you, so it is best that we consult the experts. After all, our priority at this stage in life is our baby’s welfare.
CBD is like an ongoing soap opera – we need to wait for it concludes. But one thing is for sure: we are already at the climax of the series and we can surely benefit from CBD with guided and controlled use.