Pregnancy is the most remarkable experience in a woman’s life but it can also be the most uncomfortable one, due to the numerous unpleasant symptoms accompanied by it. These symptoms are both physical and psychological, ranging from nausea, migraine, morning sickness, anxiety and even depression. These days, mothers tend to use natural remedies to ease these conditions instead of using conventional chemical approaches which have their own negative side effects.
One of the natural remedies, which has recently gained popularity, is cannabidiol, a relatively new variety of cannabis that can potentially reduce pain, anxiety, depression and improve general health. For all these benefits, cannabidiol or CBD has been become a favorite choice for pregnant women to deal pregnancy-related health conditions. But the big concern here is that how CBD may affect the development of the baby. Therefore, CBD oil and pregnancy research are hot topics that bring along a lot of controversies. If you are considering using CBD for any condition related to pregnancy, be sure to do your homework before purchasing any products online and always consult with your physician.
Can You Switch to CBD Oil for Treating Pregnancy-Related Conditions?
Around 50% of pregnant women use pharmaceuticals or over-the-counter drugs such as antidepressants, cold medicine, anti-nausea and sleeping pills. These medications were proven to be unsafe in cases for the fetus and may lead to birth defects. That is the main reason why pregnant women are turning to CBD as a replacement. But on the other side, there are people who are against the use of CBD during pregnancy and believe it is too risky. They argue that its benefits have not even been studied extensively and since the FDA does not regulate CBD products, the level of THC which has the psychoactive effect known as high, may vary a lot in each product. However, there are lots of CBD users who have reported using it as a safe alternative for pain, anxiety and nausea during pregnancy without any complications.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has recommended to stop marijuana use in pregnant women and lactating mothers. The reason behind this is that some studies have indications of adverse effects of marijuana on endocannabinoid system, which plays an important role in building brain pathways in fetus. Maggie Frank, a mom who is also a national educator, notes that the concerns with phytocannabinoid/CBD supplementation and pregnancy are due to the unknown. She says “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.”
Frank herself has used CBD successfully to treat hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition which brings along chronic severe morning sickness. She decided to use CBD although her doctor did not have a firm opinion on it but she believed it did not seem like it would be worse than the pharmaceutical’s risks. She started with 3mg of CBD oil and felt better the very first day. “It was like somebody flipped off the switch that was making me sick at all times,” she explains. She also reported feeling a considerable reduction in stress and anxiety level, experiencing better mood and sleep, less aches and pains plus more patience. Based on her own experience with CBD oil, Frank recommends using CBD during pregnancy but with caution. Purchasing a product that is third-party lab tested is crucial since it ensures you that there are zero traces of THC in the product. Dr. Talitha L. Burney, the medical doctor for the Comprehensive Family Care Center admits that although she has recognized all the benefits of CBD, even in pregnant women, the lack of government regulation is a key factor not to recommend its use.
How to Be Sure that CBD Oil Is Safe During Pregnancy?
Dr. Stuart Titus, a researcher and president of Medical Marijuana, believes that the safety of CBD can only be proven by studying the endocannabinoid system and its reaction to external cannabidiols. Dr. Titus explains that most people are cannabidiol deficient which can lead to chronic fatigue, dementia and even fibromyalgia. So, it is reasonable to believe that a cannabidiol-rich diet can be beneficial for both mother and fetus.
But there are studies which indicate that psychoactive nature of THC can interfere with the endocannabinoid system and can result in brain defects in unborn children. Although CBD is totally different from THC, they both work with the CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors are activated by natural cannabinoids in the body but they also show reactions to external cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. The main difference between these two, is that THC binds with these receptors but CBD only stimulates the natural cannabinoids in the body and consequently they activate the receptors. CBD does not bind with the receptors; therefore, it does not cause psychoactive effects.
Since the endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in the creation of neurons and building brain pathways in the fetus brain, the effect of external cannabinoids on fetus should be observed carefully. Decades of research have revealed no association between cannabis use during pregnancy and premature birth, miscarriage or major physical abnormalities.
What Does the Research Say about CBD and Pregnancy?
Although the use of CBD during pregnancy has been risen significantly in the last few years, more research is still needed on this subject to prove that CBD is completely safe for pregnant women. Many doctors are aware of the benefits of CBD, but they hesitate in prescribing it to pregnant women. We probably have to wait for medical cannabis to become more mainstream on a global scale before we come to a real and firm conclusion that determines whether there are any side effects in using CBD during pregnancy.
Let’s take a look at what scientists have already found about the safety of CBD during pregnancy. In 2016, Dr Shayna Conna studied several cases in order to identify whether cannabis exposure has any result in postnatal development complications in babies. Surprisingly, the result indicated that cannabis, if used in isolation, does not have any negative birth complications or development issues.
In 1980s, two studies conducted by Dr. Melanie Dreher suggested that there is no visible significant difference between children who had been exposed to cannabis while in the womb, tested at the age of 3 days and later on at the age of 5 years.
In 2010, the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities conducted a research aimed at perinatal outcomes of using illicit drugs such as marijuana and other CBD products. During this research mothers who gave birth to healthy children between 1997 and 2004, were analyzed. The results showed that the prevalence rate of marijuana use during pregnancy was 3.6%. A majority of women who used CBD hemp oil during pregnancy were young and the drugs they had used did not influence the health of their newborns. CBD did not lead to lower birth weight or preterm delivery.
How to Use CBD During Pregnancy?
If you have come to the decision of using CBD oil to overcome the unpleasant health conditions related to pregnancy and have consulted with your doctor about it, here are some tips to help you get the best out of your CBD experience during pregnancy. Just remember that you should not do anything you feel uncomfortable with during pregnancy, so if you still have any hesitation don not act on word of mouth.
- Smoking or using vaporizers are not recommended as it can have traces of THC of other harmful substances that might be harmful for you baby.
- The safest way to consume CBD during pregnancy is a 100% CBD oil, that comes with a dropper or in the form of paste, capsules and lotions. If you are suffering from morning sickness, a few drops of CBD oil in the morning may help you a lot. If you have sore muscles you can easily apply CBD creams or oils topically. Just make sure you trust the supplier before purchasing any CBD product and check every ingredient the product contains. You should look for products made from organic hemp that does not contain any THC.
- Although your doctor may not prescribe CBD oil for you, if you think it can be of any help controlling your unpleasant pregnancy symptoms, you should consult with your doctor to see whether its benefits outweigh the potential risks compared to other chemical substances and their associated negative side effects.
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