Is CBD Safe While Breastfeeding?
Sometimes you need a helping hand to get through the stress of being a new mother. Since certain medications, food, and beverages are out of bounds, you might be seeking a more natural aid, like CBD oil. These days, you see and hear about CBD oil often. The recent legislation has also made it easier to obtain, and there are plenty of purported advantages to taking it.
However, even if CBD oil can improve your health, what about your nursing baby? Is CBD oil safe for newborns? Should you continue breastfeeding if you are using it? You have come to the right place for the answers. Continue reading to learn more about CBD oil and breastfeeding.
What is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol oil, otherwise known as CBD oil, is made from extracting CBD from cannabis, the same plant that can produce medicinal weed. The extract is often diluted with an edible oil. CBD is not like THC, an active ingredient that produces a high, but it does have similar benefits to THC. There are numerous products featuring CBD oil these days, and many people are using tinctures and other items.
CBD oil can be used by putting a few droplets under the tongue, rubbing it into the skin, inhaling vapors, or even eating or drinking it.
What is CBD Oil Used For?
Most people will turn to CBD oil when they need some kind of relief, whether that is from nausea, pain, depression, sleep deprivation, or anxiety. There is a lot of ongoing research about how CBD oil can assist with these ailments and promote a higher quality of life. Other research is looking into how cannabidiol can assist with more serious medical conditions, like Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury, schizophrenia, epilepsy, and more. However, many doctors also warn that CBD oil may interfere with medications or cause side effects, such as depression.
Will CBD Oil Get Me High?
No, never. The cannabis plant that is used for making CBD oil has over a hundred known cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). These cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which produces organic cannabinoids, hence the “endo.” Although CBD and THC both have many therapeutic benefits, only THC will produce a “high.” CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t have the same chemical makeup as THC and thus doesn’t create the same intoxicating effect.
Since CBD does not make you high, it has become a widely accepted complementary treatment for things like anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, and inflammation.
Is CBD Oil Safe To Use During Breastfeeding?
While there is plenty of research going on about the effects of CBD oil on the ill or those suffering from chronic pain, there is not a lot of research on how CBD oil affects pregnant and nursing women. Many experts will say that you should avoid it, however.
There are a couple of reasons for this rationale. First, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says that any woman who is pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant should avoid cannabis and all related byproducts, including the medicinal variants.
Studies have found that smoking cannabis during pregnancy can lead to smaller babies and lower weights, as well as other unwanted results. Because of this, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. surgeon general, and ACOG warn about pregnant women smoking or vaping cannabis or using byproducts.
If you’re pregnant and thinking about CBD oil, you should discuss it with your health care provider. See what they believe to be true about CBD oil and cannabis than do your own research. You should understand all the risks and side effects that could potentially happen—for your sake and your baby’s.
But that’s just pregnancy. What about breastfeeding? Do the same risks apply?
Unfortunately, there’s no clear answer. Studies throughout the years have found that THC from cannabis can pass through breastmilk and be detrimental to nursing babies and their development. Whether the same effect is true for CBD oil has yet to be determined.
Keep in mind that the body also produces cannabinoids, and some of those endocannabinoids are found naturally in breastmilk. According to a 2014 study stated THC should never be consumed when you are pregnant as it can impact fetal development, CBD oil is more similar to our body’s organic cannabinoids. Furthermore, very few problems have been reported with children and adults who use CBD oil.
That said, without any conclusive evidence about how CBD oil affects breastmilk and babies, it is best to consult with doctors, especially if you’re a new mother and have never used cannabis products before.
Expert Opinions on Using CBD While Breastfeeding
There are several scientific findings that make opposing arguments. Previously, we mentioned that cannabis, primarily THC, can be secreted into breastmilk. The reported ratio from several tests was an 8:1 milk/plasma ratio. Additionally, in a study of 27 mothers who used cannabis during breastfeeding, their babies saw no change (positive or negative) in growth rate, mental or mental development.
Other studies have stated that babies who absorb a significant amount of cannabis from breastmilk are negatively impacted. For instance, breastmilk samples taken from heavy users showed that there is an eight-fold increase in breastmilk compared to plasma, but that amount did not reveal any immediate clinical effects in infants. However, it is believed such a prolonged exposure to cannabis could alter neurobehavioral functioning in the long-term.
Just how long term? Infants who were exposed to cannabis through breastmilk tested positive for it during urine screens for about 2-3 weeks.
Even without many known effects of THC and CBD on babies currently, the fact of the matter is that cannabis will remain in your baby’s system for up to 3 weeks. Do you really want to risk their health?
Another recent study fro the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology took samples of breastmilk from anonymous subjects—8 in total—who used cannabis regularly. The findings showed that infants between three and five months old who were exposed to cannabis ingested about 2.5 percent of the mother’s THC dose. While this has nothing to do with CBD, it would make sense that both THC and CBD are present in breastmilk and, therefore, passed to the baby.
It was also noted that “pump and dump” is ineffective with cannabis. Once cannabis has entered the body, it can take days or even weeks for it to leave. According to one study from Pediatrics, low levels of THC will be found in breastmilk for up to 6 days after smoking cannabis or consuming an edible.
Again, this research was done on cannabis with THC instead of hemp-derived CBD. However, experts have plenty of reasons to be concerned about how THC and CBD affect a baby’s neural development.
Should I Use CBD Oil While Nursing?
Since there is not enough research to say whether you should try CBD oil while nursing or not, it really comes down to the risks involved. Some mothers are completely turned off from CBD oil because of the potential side effects. Others continue to use it since they are dealing with anxiety, depression, or other issues.
This brings us to the reasons why mothers would consider using CBD oil during breastfeeding. Many women suffering from postpartum depression (PPD) will face detachment, mood swings, sleeplessness, and more. Although PPD is usually treated with antidepressant medication, those are not suitable for breastfeeding. This means that a mother must choose between CBD oil and continuing with nursing, in spite of the risks, or they must stop nursing completely and take the prescription medication.
Neither is an easy choice.
But CBD oil does offer relief. CBD affects anandamide, also known as the “bliss molecule.” In the brain, CBD behaves like an anandamide re-uptake inhibitor by increasing the amount of the molecule. For mothers suffering from PPD, an increased amount of anandamide can be life-changing.
CBD is also known to alleviate the effects of anxiety and nausea. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, breastfeeding mothers need about 450-500 extra calories per day. If a mom is struggling with nausea and anxiety, she may be unable to eat. But, if she takes CBD oil, nausea is reduced and appetite increases, enabling her to make healthier choices for herself and her baby.
Now, aside from the benefits, there are some risks involved. You already know that there is no concrete evidence of CBD oil affecting babies adversely, but the possibility is always there. Secondly, CBD oil can make you feel tired or even slightly intoxicated. Impaired judgment, while you are breastfeeding or caring for a newborn, is never smart. Consider how you may be affected if you do decide to try CBD oil.
Are There Any Alternatives To CBD Oil That I Can Use?
If you find that CBD oil might be too risky but are out of ideas for how to alleviate any pain, nausea, anxiety or depression, or other postpartum symptoms, don’t despair. There are some alternatives that you can try:
- Mothers suffering from nausea can try eating smaller meals more frequently. Eat foods that are easy on the stomach and highly digestible, such as saltine crackers, bananas, soups, and applesauce. Avoid any overly spicy or greasy foods.
- Sip on some ginger and lemon tea to help soothe your stomach and reduce inflammation and nausea.
- Visit your doctor if you cannot get rid of queasiness or other issues.
- If you are struggling with insomnia, try a natural sleep aid, like melatonin. Optionally, try herbal teas to help you de-stress. However, you should always discuss this with a medical professional to make sure this is right for you.
- Try talk therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and meditation.
In the end, the decision of whether you should try CBD oil while nursing a newborn is solely up to you and your doctor. Never make the decision alone—and certainly not without some research. If you decide that CBD oil is not right for you, there are alternatives that you can try.
But if you decide on CBD oil, make sure you are purchasing it from a reputable store and getting the cleanest, highest quality available. Once you have more information, you can find a brand that will benefit you.
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