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.
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:
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.
Has FDA approved any CBD products and are there any benefits?
Moreover, CBD has known risks for people in general. Based on clinical studies in humans, risks can include the following:
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.
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.
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.
So I went to a psychiatrist. He identified my problem as postpartum anxiety, gave me a list of cognitive behavioral strategies — deep breathing, tensing and releasing my muscles — and, for the nights when those techniques didn’t work, wrote me a prescription for Xanax.
When my daughter was about five months old, she finally began sleeping through the night. Well, sometimes. Would this be a good night, or a bad one? We never knew.
We do know CBD is generally safe, but it’s also not well regulated.
The drug is fast-acting; if I took it at 3:30 a.m. after nursing, he reassured me that little would be left in my bloodstream when I nursed her again at 7 a.m. Even as I stood wobbling, exhausted, in line at the pharmacy, my daughter sleeping peacefully in her carrier on my chest, filling that prescription gave me pause. Intellectually, I believe there should be no shame or fear in treating mental illness, but as a wellness-lover and a breastfeeding mother — and as a woman who felt an irrational surge of pride when, after I donated my cord blood after my daughter was born, the technician at the hospital told me, “I don’t know what you’ve been eating, but your placental blood is amazing” — I struggled to internalize that message. I eat organic, run half-marathons, do yoga every Sunday. Taking a psychiatric pharmaceutical that comes with the potential for dependence does not fit the profile.
Sleepless, anxious new mom Sara Gaynes Levy had a prescription for Xanax. Then her friends started talking about cannabinoid oil as an alternative.
And trying to "pump and dump" doesn't work for cannabis products, as chemicals from cannabis that entered the body days or weeks prior to breastfeeding can make their way into breast milk, according to Medical News Today. In fact, other research published in the journal Pediatrics found that low levels of THC may be found in breast milk for up to six days after smoking cannabis or eating an edible.
Pregnancy is one thing, but life postpartum often comes with a variety of mental and physical challenges. As many as one in five women suffer from postpartum depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Other concerns include anxiety, chronic pain, and insomnia, all compounded by the lack of sleep and hormonal shifts that naturally occur after giving birth. It's no wonder more new parents are gravitating to CBD, or cannabidiol, a component of either a marijuana or hemp plant that is non-psychoactive (unlike THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which only comes from marijuana).
Is CBD safe while breastfeeding?
Mary Clifton, M.D., an internal medicine doctor in New York City agrees, stating, "If a new mom is breastfeeding, it’s probably not wise to use CBD. The medical community doesn’t support the use of CBD in these settings, because proper studies can't be completed on the effect on the baby or infant."
Research has focused primarily on THC, as opposed to CBD, in breast milk, and the conclusion is that it is possible to pass low levels of the psychoactive ingredient to your baby this way. A study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology looked at samples of breast milk from eight anonymous test subjects who regularly use cannabis and found that babies who were three to five months old and who were breastfed exclusively ingested an estimated 2.5 percent of the maternal dose of THC. (Researchers didn't, however, take blood samples from the infants to see if they had measurable levels of THC in their bodies.)
Curiosity around the therapeutic uses for CBD has reached a fever pitch, but is it safe when you’re nursing? Here’s what experts say.