30 Mar CBD During Pregnancy
There is a major lack of research on whether CBD is safe to take during pregnancy. Here’s what we know so far about the effects of pregnant women taking cannabis products.
Because of the natural balancing properties of CBD, it’s not uncommon for mothers-to-be to consider incorporating CBD oil products into their day.
Rightfully so, many soon-to-be parents reach out about whether they should be aware of any risks associated with consuming CBD.
So is it safe to use CBD during pregnancy? Unfortunately, there’s no clear-cut answer.
Research on CBD during pregnancy is extremely limited, but let’s discuss what investigators have discovered so far.
Why the Concern Over Pre- and Postnatal Cannabis Use
Any substance that a mother-to-be consumes during pregnancy can be concerning because everything taken can possibly influence the development of the baby. Pregnant women know they must follow a healthy eating pattern and avoid toxins to encourage good fetal brain development, a healthy birth weight, and a reduced risk of birth defects.
Whether cannabis influences the health of a developing fetus, however, is not well understood at all. The research that has been completed so far, already limited in scope, has been inconclusive.
While research regarding the safety of cannabis during pregnancy is lacking, researchers do know that fetuses have the capability to interact with the cannabis plant’s compounds.
This is because researchers know that from the early embryonic stage, the endocannabinoid system is present. The endocannabinoid system, a signaling network made up of receptors, is how CBD and other cannabinoids from cannabis interact with the body. Investigators have discovered that in embryos, these cannabinoid receptors are already active.
Cannabis contains more than 100 different cannabinoids, the most abundant and well-understood being CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Dominating the hemp plant, CBD is non-psychoactive and its interaction with cannabinoid receptors doesn’t cause a high. THC, the well-recognized compound associated with marijuana, is psychoactive and will cause temporary euphoric effects.
In children and adults, the endocannabinoid system is tasked with keeping many of the body’s functions and physiological processes in balance. It’s through the cannabinoid receptors that CBD supports the endocannabinoid system and its efforts to keep the body in homeostasis. Over recent years, the natural health benefits of CBD have caused a growing demand for hemp-derived CBD products.
The endocannabinoid system plays a critical role in creating new life. The cannabinoids synthesized by the body, called endocannabinoids, are essential to the growth of the fetus and survival of a newborn. Whether the interaction of cannabis-derived cannabinoids with the endocannabinoid system can influence the natural process of development in a fetus needs to be investigated further.
Is CBD Safe During Pregnancy?
In a developing fetus, the natural effects of CBD are not well understood at all. Because of legislative blanket restrictions on cannabis, it’s been difficult for researchers to thoroughly study the specific effects of using CBD products during pregnancy.
Most of the studies that have been done around cannabis and pregnancy focus on THC. The few studies have investigated the effects of CBD during pregnancy have been either in vitro, meaning the study of cells, or animal studies.
In one study involving mouse embryos, researchers found that while THC hindered the development of embryos that had fewer than 9 cells, CBD caused no such adverse effects.
An animal study looking at the effects of CBD, THC, and cannabinol (CBN) on mice in the early stages of pregnancy found that THC was associated with the self-destruction of embryonic cells, alterations in ovulation, and poor implantation, while CBD and CBN were not.
An in vitro study, however, found that chronic exposure of CBD over a 24-72 hour time period may change the physiological characteristics of the placenta. This could suggest, the researchers concluded, that long-term exposure to CBD “may reduce placental protective functions and change its morphological and physiological characteristics.” As a result of the placenta’s increased permeability, foreign compounds may be more likely to cross the placental barrier and into the fetus.
At this point, much more research is needed to study whether there are any maternal risks associated with the use of CBD. It is recommended that when considering any wellness regimen during pregnancy that you first discuss it with your doctor.
Risks of THC During Pregnancy
Unlike CBD oil products that come from hemp, cannabis products made from marijuana contain high levels of THC, the psychoactive compound that causes euphoric effects.
Some women have turned to marijuana in an effort to ease nausea and other uncomfortable symptoms associated with pregnancy. A recent study indicates that the number of mothers-to-be that use THC products is up.
Like all compounds that a pregnant mother consumes, THC can pass through a mother’s system to her baby.
Doctors caution that the health effects of THC on a fetus are still unclear, but according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some evidence suggests that it could cause low birth weight and developmental problems. Just recently, however, a study found that marijuana use during pregnancy is not an independent risk factor for adverse neonatal outcomes after adjusting for other factors like tobacco use.
While there is insufficient data for medical experts to make any conclusions around the dangers of THC during pregnancy, most obstetricians and gynecologists discourage its use based on the limited data suggesting it could have adverse effects and an absence of evidence showing that it’s safe.
“Because of concerns regarding impaired neurodevelopment, as well as maternal and fetal exposure to the adverse effects of smoking, women who are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy should be encouraged to discontinue marijuana use,” recommends the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Learn More about CBD
CBD use during pregnancy is a complex topic and one that should be discussed with your obstetrician or gynecologist.
You can learn more about CBD and how it interacts with the body’s native systems to promote health and wellness by visiting the HempMeds® blog.
Every day, more people discover the natural benefits of incorporating CBD products into their daily routine. Because it’s non-psychoactive, when derived from hemp, CBD is legally accessible in the United States and in over 40 countries.