Around 4–11% of women during the postpartum period are diagnosed with anxiety — but many more remain undiagnosed. The fact of the matter is that anxiety is common among new parents in general, but especially women in the first few weeks immediately preceding the birth.
CBD offers some unique benefits towards depression — however, you should always consult with your doctor before using anything to support depression — even herbal supplements, including CBD. There are several different causes for this condition, so it’s essential to understand the cause before you start taking anything.
Top-Rated CBD Oils For New Mothers
Now that we know why someone may consider using CBD while breastfeeding, here comes the big question — is it safe for the baby?
Studies have shown that people taking doses larger than 200 mg of CBD can fall asleep sooner, stay asleep longer, and report feeling more refreshed the following morning than the control group taking nothing to help their sleep.
CBD works through entirely different mechanisms, acting as more of a balancing agent — helping to support homeostasis within the body rather than pushing the body in one direction or another.
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.
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:
What do we know about the effects of CBD use during pregnancy and 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.
If you are considering using cannabis, or any products containing THC or CBD, you should be aware of the following:
Geary adds, “Every mother’s metabolism is different; the absorption into the blood stream is different, and the actual dosage of the CBD listed is not considered accurate or reliable.” She also brings up a point about the lack of regulation surrounding CBD products. This March, the FDA issued a statement promising to advance regulatory practices of CBD, admitting wide gaps in data and a lack of market transparency. The same report notes, “we are not at a point where we can conclude that unapproved CBD products are safe for use” in lactating women. Thomas adds that for reliable data, we’ll need to evaluate a couple thousand people over at least 15 years. Current data doesn’t meet either of those criteria.
Until we have more evidence, Geary says women who are expecting or breastfeeding should definitely err on the side of caution and avoid cannabis in all forms.
Topical vs. Ingestible Use of CBD When Breastfeeding
Nursing offers an unparalleled host of benefits to both mother and child. According to the National Institutes of Health, the nutritional, immunological, and anti-inflammatory properties of breastmilk provide health advantages to a nursing baby, including reduced risks of asthma, obesity, type 2 diabetes, ear and respiratory infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Nursing mothers experience a lowered risk of disease, including hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and ovarian and breast cancer, according to a 2018 report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). But that’s not all. Breastfeeding is credited with positive psychosocial outcomes, most noticeably through the bond that develops between mother and child. As such, leading organizations from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists endorse breastfeeding for at least 12 months of a child’s life. Such consensus around the benefits of breastfeeding have resulted in an uptick in mothers who nurse, with the CDC reporting 57.6% of infants breastfeeding at six months in 2018.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is everywhere, from topical salves to tinctures. The so-called organic Xanax is being touted by wellness enthusiasts as a panacea to pain, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Nature’s supposed cure-all might seem like a miracle treatment to sleep-deprived, delirious new mothers, especially those who are breastfeeding and feeling energetically depleted. But despite the widespread availability of CBD, it remains unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), leaving many questions around its safety for breastfeeding mothers unanswered. What may seem like natural stress relief to help navigate the many mental and physical challenges of motherhood, especially in trying times, might end up exposing your child to risks that research has yet to uncover.
Thomas adds that although CBD can seem like a “pathway to self-care,” it’s only one of many wellness tools. She urges women to get to the “root of the stress or anxiety on the road to recovery.” Asking for help is critical. “When we think of stress and how to mitigate it because life is too much, that becomes a pathway for pain and trauma to embed,” she says. But it’s also an opportunity to do the work necessary to heal. “Reaching for a cure-all,” she says, “helps us turn away from a life we’ve created when we need to be so committed to it right now.”