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Is CBD Oil Safe During Pregnancy?

CBD Oil is becoming increasingly popular for a variety issues, from pain relief, suppressing nausea, anxiety help to a restful night’s sleep. It’s understandable that a pregnant mom would consider taking it for pregnancy’s side effects. But is CBD Oil safe during pregnancy? Probably not.

What is CBD Oil?

Short for cannabidiol, CBD is found in marijuana and hemp plants. It doesn’t contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) so it doesn’t give you the intoxicating “high” associated with recreational marijuana. CBD oil is extracted and refined using ethanol to look like an actual oil. It’s available in a variety of products including pills, gels, gummies, vape oils, creams, and oral tinctures.

What do we know about the effects of CBD use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding?

There is no comprehensive research studying the effects of CBD on the developing fetus, pregnant mother, or breastfed baby. The FDA is continuing to collect and study the data on the possible harmful effects of CBD during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. However, based on what we do know, the FDA states there is significant cause for concern.

High doses of CBD in pregnant test animals have caused problems with the reproductive system of developing male fetuses. In addition, based on what they already know about CBD, the FDA expects that some amount of CBD will be transferred to babies through breast milk.

The FDA also states there is a potential for CBD products to be contaminated with substances that may pose a risk to the fetus or breastfed baby, including THC. They have also heard reports of CBD potentially containing other contaminants (e.g., pesticides, heavy metals, bacteria, and fungus); and are investigating this.

Moreover, CBD has known risks for people in general. Based on clinical studies in humans, risks can include the following:

• liver toxicity (damage)
• extreme sleepiness
• harmful interactions with other drugs

The FDA is studying the effects of CBD use from different angles, such as: (1) the use of CBD-containing products, like food, cosmetics, or supplements, over a person’s entire life; and (2) the effects of using these various products in combination. There are many unanswered questions about the science, safety, and quality of products containing CBD.

The FDA is planning to learn more about the effects of CBD during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, including, for example, whether and to what extent the presence of CBD in human milk harms the breastfed baby or the mother’s milk production.

Is CBD Oil legal?

Even though the government approves CBD derived from the hemp plant, individual states are changing their laws, which are not always the same as federal regulations. It’s important to check your state’s laws.

FDA has not approved any CBD products except for one prescription drug to treat rare, severe forms of seizure disorders in children. It states that it is still unclear whether CBD has any other benefits.

Should pregnant women use CBD oil?

The FDA strongly advises against the use of CBD on pregnant and breastfeeding women since research on the CBD’s safety among these populations is insufficient. It states on it’s website, “FDA strongly advises against the use of cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabionol (THC), and marijuana in any form during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.”

The FDA further states “Do not put yourself or your baby at risk by using cannabis products while pregnant or breastfeeding.”

It’s understandable a pregnant mom would consider taking CBD oil for pregnancy’s side effects. But is CBD Oil safe during pregnancy?

CBD Oil for Pregnancy: How Moms Are Using It

More moms are turning to therapeutic products made with CBD, or cannabidiol, and some swear it helped offer relief while they were expecting. Here’s what these moms—and experts—say about CBD during pregnancy.

December 9, 2018

Touted for offering a bevy of benefits, from pain relief to stress management, CBD, or cannabidiol, is having a real moment. The component of either a marijuana or hemp plant is non-psychoactive, unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)—which only comes from marijuana—and is popping up in therapeutic products all over the internet and country. From drinking CBD mocktails as an alternative to wine to caring for sore muscles with a CBD salve or soaking in a tub with a CBD-lace bath bomb, moms everywhere are loving its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-psychotic, anti-convulsant, and antidepressant properties.

These properties are research-proven. Clinical research has shown that CBD, which is generally taken orally as a tincture or in an edible form, can be therapeutically useful for managing anxiety and depression, chronic pain, sleep disorders, and seizure disorders. There’s also clinical evidence that CBD can be effective in suppressing nausea and vomiting, both symptoms commonly encountered by expectant moms. So, it’s no surprise that some pregnant women are getting on-board with, or simply curious about, CBD use.

What Moms Say

Maggie Frank, a mom who is also the National Educator for PlusCBD Oil, says she’s seen the product “used by women during pregnancy to help with a wide range of complaints including morning sickness, stress and anxiety, sleeplessness, food aversions as well as the aches, pains and cramps that accompany pregnancy for many.”

When Frank herself was expecting in 2015, prior to joining the company, she says she suffered from hypermesis gravitum (HG), a condition marked by chronic, severe morning sickness. “I was getting sick 20-30 times a day, was unable to nourish myself or my baby, and was constantly flirting with dehydration,” she tells Parents.com. “The medicine typically prescribed for this has a slew of potential side effects, so I refused it. My symptoms actually got worse with each passing month, to a point where my doctor was recommending bed rest in the fourth month.”

That’s when she says she started researching and learned about CBD. She was so intrigued that she discussed it with her doctor who she says “didn’t have an opinion either way, other than it didn’t seem like it would be worse than the pharmaceutical’s risks, and we needed to figure something out fast.”

Frank says she started with 3 mg of PlusCBDOil Green peppermint spray, and got relief, the very first day. “It was like someone flipped off the switch that was making me feel sick at all times,” she explains. “I was once again able to move, sleep and eat without feeling the need to vomit. Even my over sensitivity to smells dissipated!” She says that over the course of her pregnancy, she also experienced a “reduction in stress and anxiety levels, better mood, more patience, better sleep, and less aches and pains.”

Like Frank, Jennifer Farris, a health coach, yoga instructor, and mom who gave birth to her son just this past September, attests to the benefit of CBD use during pregnancy. “CBD oils noticeably reduced my anxiety during pregnancy and made it easy to fall asleep,” she tells Parents.com. “They also helped lessen joint pain with all the changes in my body during pregnancy. I used ​​​Sunday Scaries CBD Gummies, and their products are third-party lab tested to ensure there are zero traces of THC.”

What the Experts Say

The fact is that many—if not most—ob-gyns who would express concern and hesitate to recommend CBD use during pregnancy, in part due to the existing body of research, which is limited and has stated that cannabinoids could be harmful to both moms and their babies.

“The concern with phytocannabinoid/CBD supplementation and pregnancy is due to the unknown,” Frank notes. “We currently don’t have long-term research as to what happens years down the road as a result of utilizing hemp extracts in utero. Any woman using phytocannabinoids products should be aware of this and make her decision accordingly, preferably with her doctor.”

Felice Gersh, MD, ob-gyn and founder/director of the Integrative Medical Practice of Irvine in Irvine, California corroborates that experts’ concern is related to lacking data and “the fact that production is poorly regulated in most states.” While that remains to be the case, she advises her pregnant patients to avoid using CBD.

That said, Congress is poised to lift a federal hemp ban this month, that, according to The Hill, “will for the first time allow lawmakers to develop and impose best manufacturing practices and standards for this nascent industry—policies that will ultimately lead to a safer and better-quality product for consumers.”

The social, political, and scientific turning of the tide may ultimately reshape experts’ take on CBD for expectant moms. In the meantime, women are definitely advised to work with their health care provider to create a safe, healthy treatment plan that is best for them.

More moms are turning to therapeutic products made with CBD, or cannabidiol, and some swear it helped offer relief while they were expecting. Here's what these moms—and experts—say about CBD during pregnancy.