cbd oil and breastfeeding

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

What You Should Know About Using Cannabis, Including CBD, When Pregnant or Breastfeeding

FDA strongly advises against the use of cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and marijuana in any form during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

Cannabis and Cannabis-derived products have become increasingly available in recent years, with new and different types of products appearing all the time. These products raise questions and concerns for many consumers. And if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you might have even more questions about whether these products are safe for you.

FDA strongly advises against the use of cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and marijuana in any form during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

What are cannabis, marijuana, hemp, THC and CBD?

Cannabis is a plant of the Cannabaceae family and contains more than eighty biologically active chemical compounds. The most commonly known compounds are THC and CBD. One type of cannabis plant is marijuana, which contains varying levels of THC, the compound that produces the “high” that is often associated with marijuana. Another type of cannabis plant is hemp. Hemp plants contain extremely low amounts of THC. CBD, which does not produce a “high,” can be derived from either marijuana or hemp.

We are now seeing CBD-containing products everywhere. CBD can be found in many different products, like drugs, foods, products marketed as dietary supplements, and cosmetics. These products often make questionable health promises about CBD.

FDA wants you to know there may be serious risks to using cannabis products, including those containing CBD, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

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

There are many potential negative health effects from using marijuana and other products containing THC during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. In fact, the U.S. Surgeon General recently advised consumers that marijuana use during pregnancy may affect fetal brain development, because THC can enter the fetal brain from the mother’s bloodstream. The Surgeon General also advised that marijuana may increase the risk of a newborn with low birth weight. Research also suggests increased risk for premature birth and potentially stillbirth 1 .

While breastfeeding, it is important to know that breastmilk can contain THC for up to six days after use. This THC may affect a newborn’s brain development and result in hyperactivity, poor cognitive function, and other long-term consequences.

Additionally, marijuana smoke contains many of the same harmful components as tobacco smoke. Neither marijuana nor tobacco products should be smoked around a baby or children.

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. 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, 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 2 . In addition, based on what we already know about CBD, we expect that some amount of CBD will be transferred to babies through breast milk.

We also know that 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. We have also heard reports of CBD potentially containing other contaminants (e.g., pesticides, heavy metals, bacteria, and fungus); we 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

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.

We especially want 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.

Has FDA approved any CBD products and are there any benefits?

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

Other than the one approved prescription drug, CBD products have not been evaluated or approved by FDA for use as drug products. This means that we do not know:

  • if they are safe and effective to treat a particular disease
  • what, if any, dosage may be considered safe
  • how they could interact with other drugs or foods
  • whether they have dangerous side effects or other safety concerns

The clinical studies that supported the approval of the one available CBD drug product identified risks related to the use of CBD, including liver toxicity (damage), extreme sleepiness, and harmful interactions with other drugs.

What about hemp seeds?

FDA recently completed an evaluation of some hemp seed-derived food ingredients and had no objections to the use of these ingredients in foods. THC and CBD are found mainly in hemp flowers, leaves, and stems, not in hemp seeds. Hemp seeds can pick up miniscule amounts of THC and CBD from contact with other plant parts, but these amounts are low enough to not raise concerns for any group, including pregnant or breastfeeding mothers.

What should you remember about using cannabis or cannabis-derived products?

If you are considering using cannabis, or any products containing THC or CBD, you should be aware of the following:

  • FDA strongly advises that during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, you avoid using CBD, THC, or marijuana in any form.
  • Although many of these products are being sold, FDA has not approved these products, other than one prescription CBD drug product and two prescription drug products containing dronabinol, a synthetic version of THC (which are approved to treat certain side effects of HIV-AIDS or chemotherapy). All three of these prescription products have associated risks and side effects.
  • Always talk with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist before taking any medicines, vitamins, or herbs while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Do not put yourself or your baby at risk by using cannabis products while pregnant or breastfeeding. Check out these links to learn more about cannabis, marijuana, CBD, and THC, and about taking medicines while you are pregnant.

FDA strongly advises against the use of cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and marijuana in any form during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

CBD Oil and Breast Feeding [Everything You Need to Know]

It is difficult to know precisely how many compounds exist in the marijuana plant. Research suggests there are at least 480, anywhere between 66 and 100 of which are classified as ‘ cannabinoids. ’ These special compounds interact with certain receptors in the central nervous system. CB1 and CB2 are the two cannabinoid receptors that have been identified to date.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the most famous marijuana compounds. It is known for being non-intoxicating, a stark contrast to the effects of THC which gives users a ‘high.’ While THC offers a number of medicinal benefits, it is not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

CBD, on the other hand, also provides an array of medical benefits and it is widely used by breastfeeding women. However, while it doesn’t provide a ‘high,’ there are some concerns over its suitability for women who are breastfeeding. In this guide, we look at the available scientific evidence to see if CBD will harm or help your new baby.

Why would new mothers need CBD oil in the first place?

Among the many conditions that CBD is used for, anxiety and depression are among the most common. In new mothers, CBD oil is especially useful in the fight against postpartum depression (PPD).

Data regarding the number of women that suffer from PPD is limited, but the Cleveland Clinic estimates around 15% of new mothers will experience it at some point.

Furthermore, only a small percentage of women receive treatment for their PPD. As a result, many women with PPD find it more difficult to bond with their babies or care for them adequately. Furthermore, PPD can even impact the child’s psychological development, and lead to a higher risk of mental illness later in life.

The trouble with drugs & breastfeeding

With so much at stake, it is little wonder that women with PPD are seeking an all-natural solution to their condition. The most common treatment, aside from counseling, is anti-depressants. Popular drugs include Sertraline, Zyban, and Lexapro. As well as taking several weeks to have an effect, these drugs can result in side effects such as insomnia , dizziness, weight gain, and diarrhea.

Although newer anti-depressants are designed not to interfere with breastfeeding, the selection of pharmaceutical options breastfeeding moms have is limited. I f you have an adverse reaction to one drug, there may not be another option available.

Did you know that breast milk naturally contains cannabinoids?

Given the lack of relevant research, one of the most significant findings of the last decade in this sphere is the fact that cannabinoids are found naturally in human breast milk. Several studies have confirmed that breast milk contains the same cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant and they are crucial for proper human development.

Cannabinoids in utero

Since the biggest concern about CBD and breastfeeding is its impact on the milk, and therefore the baby, it is worth looking into research regarding cannabinoids and pregnancy.

Endocannabinoids are crucial in conception. The newly fertilized embryo has to attach itself to the uterus’ lining after intercourse, which requires a certain amount of anandamide, an endocannabinoid. They also guide other aspects of conception, like embryo transport.

Why is it so difficult to determine the impact of CBD on breast milk?

By far the biggest issue surrounding the use of CBD while breastfeeding is the lack of scientific research conducted on nursing mothers. Research by the American Chemical Society suggests that since CBD binds so closely with fat, it is very difficult to measure the amounts contained in breast milk. All cannabinoids, including CBD and THC, like to stick to fat — and breast milk is quite high in fat.

Breast milk is naturally high in fat, and therefore is a good carrier for CBD and other phytocannabinoids.

However, researchers at the CDC believe they have the answer in the form of a process called ‘saponification,’ which separates cannabinoids from milk. They believe it will be possible to detect tiny amounts of CBD in breast milk in a test set to be 100 times better at detecting cannabinoids than previous tests. Eventually, this technique should help in future studies that look at how CBD impacts breast milk.

Is CBD worth the risk for breastfeeding mothers?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, women with PPD often have problems breastfeeding. CBD may be able to help you through PPD, but there isn’t enough information available to determine how it will impact your breast milk and your baby.

When using CBD, understand that not all products are the same

If you do decide to use CBD oil, it is worth pointing out that not all products are the same. In fact, given the current lack of regulations on the market, disparities in quality, potency, and general effectiveness can vary greatly.

There are several things you can look for to try and identify a good, high-quality CBD oil. The most important one is making sure the company offers a lab report for the product you’re using. In addition to verifying the CBD content, a lab sheet will verify the presence of other phytocannabinoids, as well as the absence of potentially dangerous chemicals like solvents and heavy metals.

It is generally easier and more convenient to view verified lab reports online than it is when buying from a retail store. Most reputable online CBD sellers have a specific page dedicated to their products’ lab sheets, and some of them even link to the relevant report directly in the product description.

If you do prefer to buy from a store, be sure to ask whether or not the CBD oil comes with a lab analysis. If it doesn’t, we recommend searching for another brand or another product.

Lastly, remember that CBD oil should not be considered a medication. While cannabidiol is an FDA-approved medication for various forms of epilepsy, the products available online or in-store are mostly sold as supplements. These products are not evaluated by the FDA, and are not intended to treat or cure any medical condition. Bear this in mind if you do decide to use CBD oil (or other CBD products) while breastfeeding.

Breast feeding and CBD oil is an extremely controversial topic. In this article we shed some light on the topic bringing to you the most recent research.