CBD in Pregnancy: Everything You Need to Know

CBD or cannabidiol is the talk of the town right now. The CBD craze has especially swept in expectant moms. From sipping CBD cocktails to floating CBD bath bombs in bathtubs, pregnancy in mothers unleashes their creativity to get the best out of CBD’s anti-anxiety, anti-convulsant, and antioxidant qualities.

 Anecdotally renowned for providing a heavy dose of benefits, CBD’s fortunes look bright from relieving pain to treating epilepsy. What’s great about CBD is that even though it’s sourced from marijuana, it’s not psychoactive. On the other hand, THC, CBD’s close family member, can complicate pregnancies and cause a high. 

Science also backs CBD’s medicinal potential. However, existing scientific evidence is premature and, therefore, tentative. While “preclinical” trials have suggested that CBD may have therapeutic properties to manage pain, reduce seizures, and cure insomnia, it’s not a sure thing.

 Unless researchers carry out extensive human clinical trials, CBD’s status as a “cure-all” drug is on hold. 

Despite dwindling scientific research, pregnant moms need to know whether they can use CBD safely to help with morning sickness, vomiting, and all those other things that make pregnancies so mentally and physically tolling. In this article, we’ll try to answer this question as comprehensively as we can:

Can I Safely Use CBD Oil During Pregnancy?

The World Health Organization’s recently published critical review suggests that CBD has medicinal potential and is generally safe to use. 

However, specific research focusing on CBD’s efficacy and safety for pregnant women is scarce. Existing medical literature doesn’t paint a promising picture, indicating cannabinoids can cross the placenta to interfere with a developing fetus. This is why many authorities consider cannabis use during pregnancy ill-advised. 

 CDC has recommended pregnant women to steer clear from using cannabis if they’re pregnant or thinking of conceiving. According to the US’s premier health regulatory authority, high THC levels in unregulated CBD products can cause a slew of complications in newborns, such as low birth weight and neurological impairment. 

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) has also labeled pot a deterrent to safe pregnancy and contributive to developmental problems in growing fetuses. 

The rest of the medical community, including the FDA and ACOG committee, is also on page with these guidelines. 

Despite this growing body of negative CBD feedback, positive anecdotal evidence is flourishing. 

Some women claim they have succeeded in treating many symptoms, such as stress, anxiety, joint pain, and mood swings that are the bread and butter of normal pregnancies.

 One story advocating these claims is of Maggie Frank’s. 

Maggie said that she was able to treat Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), a condition prevalent in pregnant women, which causes severe morning sickness and vomiting. According to Maggie’s account, she claimed that after using 3 mg of CBD oil daily, her vomiting completely subsided, and she instantly felt much better. Plus, she also experienced a significant improvement in her sleeping and eating habits. 

Others, alongside Maggie, have also sworn of CBD’s powerful abilities to help pregnant women. Jennifer Farris, interviewing for parents.com, said that CBD proved pivotal in treating her pregnancy-ridden anxiety and helped her enjoy a much deeper and restful sleep. 

Stories of women like Jennifer and Maggie harvesting CBD’s therapeutic potential to make their pregnancy a lot easier to bear are too many to dismiss simply. However, as science hasn’t given the A-OK to CBD for long-term use in pregnant women, we can’t discount other possibilities. 

Keep in mind that even though “pure CBD” might not have any detrimental effects on the fetus, most CBD products are unregulated and may contain unlawful amounts of THC. THC has been known to pose certain risks to mothers and fetuses. 

Bottom-line: if the thought of using CBD during pregnancy has crossed your mind, it’s best to seek medical consultation first. This way, you can safely incorporate CBD in your health regimen and manage your morning sickness, vomiting, and other “blues” endemic to pregnancies at the same time. 

Why Do Pregnant Women Use CBD Oil?

Pregnancies are an overwhelming and burdensome load. They can cause a cascade of unpleasant symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. This can severely hinder a mother’s daily activities and prevent her from functioning at optimal levels. 

Because CBD has shown increasing promise to treat a wide variety of medical conditions, pregnant women often rely on CBD to make things easier. Some pregnancy-related problems that women often use CBD for include:

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG): As aforementioned, HG is a common element of many pregnancies. It’s characterized by unbearable morning sickness, making it impossible for women to leave their beds, let alone their homes.

 HG-suffering women also vomit at least 35-40 times a day, mainly because they cannot find any food palatable. This can cause dehydration and extreme fatigue, both of which can have damaging and far-reaching effects on a growing baby. 

To tackle HG, doctors prescribe drugs like Prochlorperazine. However, these medications have adverse side effects that can exacerbate pregnancy-associated symptoms in the long run. This is why CBD has emerged as a viable and promising alternative. 

CBD provides the same anti-nausea benefits of traditional medications, without inducing any noticeable side effects, including anxiety, joint pain, and head-exploding migraines. 

Chronic Pain

Science also endorses CBD’s potent ability to manage chronic pain in women. One 2018 study demonstrated how CBD suppresses pain sites in the central nervous system to help with headaches, pain, migraines, and general mental discomfort. Another review of CBD studies spanning 43 years of medical literature on cannabis use also approved CBD’s pain-relieving properties. 

Insomnia

Most pregnant women experience a bad case of insomnia during pregnancy.

 This peaks during the first trimester, causing extreme fatigue, and then gradually declines. 

Insomnia also runs parallel to other severe problems, including excessive urination, joint pain, cramps, and a lot more. Fortunately, CBD oil can help manage most, if not all, of these underlying issues. 

Depression and Anxiety

Mental health problems can cause a pregnant mother to wear down, causing her to act erratically and uncharacteristically. “Raging hormones” are often held responsible for this behavior; however, they don’t tell the entire story. Several other factors, such as and depression, are also part of the problem.

Fortunately, burgeoning CBD scientific evidence shows that CBD can make a huge difference in the lives of people experiencing stress, depression, and anxiety. 

For example, a study published in 2011 peddled CBD as a viable alternative treatment for social anxiety disorder. The participants of the study were administered 400 mg of CBD in placebo-controlled trials. Those who took CBD registered a significant reduction in overall anxiety levels. 

This followed another extensive study in 2018, which found that CBD oil doesn’t just have anti-anxiety effects and anxiolytic and antidepressant properties. 

Some more pregnancy-related complications CBD has shown the potential to treat include acne (hormone-induced), cramping, and inflammation.

Effects of CBD Oil on the Fetus

In-depth and long-term studies of CBD’s effects on fetal development are currently unavailable. However, most healthcare experts suggest that CBD overuse, especially of CBD oil containing more than .3% of THC, can lead to permanent neurological impairment in the fetus. 

THC-dense CBD may also cause low-fertility and contribute to a considerable reduction of a newborn baby’s healthy weight. In some cases, this may even lead to stillbirths. 

However, as already mentioned, we don’t have enough evidence to deem these claims conclusive or concrete enough. Further research is needed to corroborate whether CBD poses these risks and side effects. 

A 2016 study conducted on mice found that THC inhibits development in embryonic cells. The same study also suggested that cannabinoids mimic anandamide’s effects, which is also known to impact embryonic development negatively. Nonetheless, as this was an animal-based study, we can’t say whether its results apply to human embryology. 

In another animal-focused study, CBD caused neurological changes in the womb. Like an adult, a fetus also has a functional, though premature, endocannabinoid system. This endocannabinoid system has a stake in neuron development and survival. Any outside exposure to this system at the fetal stage has shown to have long-lasting effects on animals. 

Another study targeted at pregnant mice found CBD exposure to be one reason behind future reproductive complications in males. 

Needless, we need human clinical trials to verify the findings of these studies. 

If you’re not sure about choosing CBD while you’re pregnant, you should always depend on expert medical advice to steer you in the right direction. Your physician can outweigh the pros and cons of using CBD in place of other medications and accurately hedge your bets. 

How To Safely Use CBD Oil During Pregnancy

For someone who’s not pregnant, oral CBD is the safest and effective delivery system. Why? Because it’s easy to manage CBD dosage this way. Moreover, CBD in oral form is known to have the highest bioavailability, i.e., it’s readily absorbed in your bloodstream and produces immediate effects. 

But there are other delivery systems, such as edibles, vapes, and topical creams. Every CBD ingestion method produces varying results, so depending upon your situation, your use will vary. 

For pregnant women who are anxious that CBD might complicate their pregnancy, topical CBD is the best way to go. That’s because topical CBD has the least bioavailability and consequently, the least likelihood of crossing the placental membrane and cross-reacting with the fetus. 

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