CBD For Pregnant Women
Posted by Glenn Beierle on 09/14/2018 in CBD Resources
Updated on December 28, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Whether you already have children or will become a new parent, we welcome you to an exciting time in your life. However, to get the most out of your pregnancy, you need to manage the symptoms associated with it. The physical and mental stress of pregnancy can result in mood issues, physical discomfort and other health conditions. The cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) may come up in your search for safe, natural remedies. Let’s discuss topics surrounding the use of CBD during pregnancy.
CBD vs. THC
Medications have separate components that relieve individual symptoms. The marijuana plant acts like an entire medicine cabinet full of different compounds, or cannabinoids, with unique medicinal properties. When you use it as-is, you get the effects of every cannabinoid in the plant. But, just as we can isolate compounds to make traditional medicine, we can single out cannabinoids. When we discuss medical marijuana and cannabinoids, we most often talk about CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
THC causes the psychoactive effects we associate with cannabis. It also works as a potent painkiller, appetite stimulant, anti-inflammatory and more. Most of the research surrounding pregnancy and marijuana involves THC, whether included in the plant’s natural form or on its own. While many of these studies point to THC negatively impacting fetal development, we also have data showing its safety. One research review states that we just don’t have enough information so far. Regardless, not everyone wants to use it during pregnancy because of this uncertainty or its psychoactive effects.
Meanwhile, CBD offers many of the benefits of THC without the “high.” Since it doesn’t impair your thinking, some parents use CBD medication to relieve seizures if their child suffers from epilepsy. Even the FDA agrees that it could help — they approved of a CBD-based seizure medicine this year. Patients of all ages use it for conditions like nausea, mood disorders and inflammation. However, does the existing data show its safety during pregnancy? The answer is complicated.
Scientific Research About Using CBD During Pregnancy
The scientific literature we have that covers cannabis and pregnancy rarely investigates CBD on its own. We already have a limited amount of research on medical marijuana due to federal law. Once you narrow the subject down to CBD for pregnancy, you get an even smaller pool of data. Fortunately, the studies we have so far look promising.
For example, you can find supporting evidence for CBD’s safety in a study known for denouncing THC use in pregnancy. In a 2006 study, Wang et al. exposed pregnant mice to THC, CBD and a lesser-known cannabinoid called CBN. During this study, THC seemed to bring up some issues related to implantation and development. But, mice that had no treatment, CBD or CBN experienced no adverse effects.
Another study investigated CBD’s impact on labor contractions. Houlihan, Dennedy and Morrison applied CBD to myometrial tissue samples. The myometrium lining of the uterus contracts during birth, so scientists can use it to simulate labor. When they induced contractions, the CBD relaxed the myometrial tissue as efficiently as pharmaceutical solutions.
We only found one possible drawback to CBD use during pregnancy so far. Feinshtein et al. found that CBD could make it easier for foreign compounds to cross the placenta and reach the fetus. In other words, the fetus becomes susceptible to infection and other threats. However, we don’t have enough data to make a decisive statement.
So far, we don’t have clinical studies of CBD and pregnancy, meaning that we don’t have evidence of the way CBD works on humans. All published research involves rodent test subjects or isolated tissue samples. Until we can make proper research more accessible in the United States, we won’t have conclusive evidence for a while.
What Pregnancy-Related Conditions Could CBD Relieve?
CBD has the potential to treat pregnancy-related health issues like:
- Nausea and morning sickness
- Pain and discomfort
- Inflammation and edema
How to Use CBD During Pregnancy
Most patients who use CBD don’t smoke it. While you can use CBD extracts and dabs for smoking, the smoke can irritate your lungs and affect your child’s health. Consider using CBD products like:
- Oils and tinctures: You will most often find CBD medicine in the form of an oil or tincture. Add CBD oil to your food or take it orally. A tincture can go under the tongue, on the skin or in a beverage.
- Pills and capsules: CBD pills work just like traditional pills and substances. Take them with your favorite healthy beverage if you can’t swallow them on their own.
- Edibles: Make your own CBD-infused food using oil, or buy one already prepared. If you follow a healthy diet, pick your edibles carefully. Consider using infused cooking ingredients instead of infused desserts.
- CBD vaporizing supplies: Use the vaporizer of your choice with a CBD cartridge or extract for fast relief.
Read your product labels carefully when you shop for CBD medicine. Some items have traces of THC that you may want to avoid. Not all online suppliers follow the same product standards, either, so make sure your medication has a sufficient amount of CBD in the first place.
How Do I Make the Decision to Take CBD During Pregnancy?
You have many factors to consider when you choose whether or not to use CBD while pregnant. While we have more positive data than negative, we also don’t have much of it at all. Access also becomes an issue in states with limited options for purchasing cannabis medicine. Taking CBD medication during pregnancy is a very personal decision that you must think about carefully.
But, you don’t have to choose your own. Cannabis-trained doctors come in every specialty, including obstetrics. Our directory of physicians lets you filter your search by zip code, distance and specialty. Choose “Obstetrician” from the “Specialty” drop-down menu to find a marijuana-positive obstetrician near you.