CBD and Breastfeeding: Is It Safe For Your Newborn?
Posted on April 5th, 2021
CBD has been a hot topic in the wellness industry for the past few years. CBD is proven to help people unwind and sleep better. New mothers frequently deal with stress and sleeping problems due to attending to their baby’s needs. Hence, you might wonder if CBD is an effective solution to help new mothers deal with stress and sleep better at night. But the latest research on CBD and breastfeeding says otherwise. This article provides information on CBD and breastfeeding. It will cover what you need to know when breastfeeding your child if you are consuming CBD products for whatever reason.
What Are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds present in the cannabis plant. The cannabis plant produces around 100 cannabinoids and 300 non-cannabinoid chemicals. Cannabinoids develop in the resin glands or trichomes in the leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant. Even though other plants produce cannabinoids, cannabis produces them in the highest concentrations. Cannabinoids and terpenes work together to develop the flavor and other benefits of the plant. Cannabinoids have a structure similar to the structure of neurotransmitters in human and animal bodies. These are called endocannabinoids and exist in the peripheral and central nervous systems. The network of endocannabinoids in the body is called the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoids in the body communicate with two types of receptors— CB1 and CB2. Proper communication between the receptors and endocannabinoids (neurotransmitters) helps the body achieve homeostasis (balance). THC and CBD are two of the most abundant cannabinoids in the cannabis plant.
What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol or CBD is the most prevalent cannabinoid in the cannabis plant after THC. The compound has multiple therapeutic effects and is non-intoxicating. CBD is available on the market as CBD tinctures, capsules, vapes, and more. It actually mitigates the unwanted side effects of THC. CBD has powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-seizure properties and is used to treat numerous medical conditions. CBD is mostly used as an anxiolytic and antipsychotic agent. A specific CBD strain (Charlotte’s Web) was developed to treat a young girl suffering from Dravet’s syndrome – a very rare form of epilepsy. The product helped reduce the hundreds of weekly seizures the girl was experiencing. So how could CBD and breastfeeding have anything but a positive connection? We’ll find out the details below.
What Is THC?
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the most prevalent cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. It is the main psychoactive compound in the plant. Even with its psychoactive properties, THC has vast medical benefits for humans and animals alike. THC has antiemetic effects, and cancer patients use it to reduce the occurrences of nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy treatments. THC can also stimulate appetite and is widely used to treat conditions such as anorexia. The analgesic properties of THC are useful when treating chronic pain conditions. Additionally, patients suffering from stress and sleep disorders can benefit from taking the substance. Studies prove that THC helps reduce rapid eye movements to prevent patients from experiencing PTSD-related nightmares. THC helps people fall asleep easily and protects the nervous system.
CBD vs THC
THC is the main intoxicating ingredient in Cannabis Sativa. The psychoactive properties of THC were first discovered in the 1940s. The THC content is high in marijuana – a variety of the cannabis plant – and is a Schedule I substance in the United States. But CBD is quite different from THC because the former doesn’t make a person high. In fact, CBD from industrial hemp – another variety of the cannabis plant – has less than 0.3% THC and isn’t federally illegal in the United States. You can sell and use CBD products in almost all 50 states of the country as long as they contain less than 0.3% THC by weight.
CBD and Drug Tests
Cannabidiol or CBD should not show up in a drug test, because most tests don’t even look for it. However, a vast percentage of CBD products contain more THC than they claim to. CBD products from industrial hemp should contain less than 0.3% THC and don’t show up in drug tests. But if the CBD product came from marijuana, it can show up in a drug test because marijuana likely contains more than 0.3% THC.
The FDA or the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate CBD in the United States. No one can tell what is in these products if they don’t want you to know. But if you purchase your from a source that reveals the results of third party lab tests, there’s a better chance it’s high quality. A low quality extraction process can result in THC contamination in the final product. Hence, some types of CBD will have less THC compared to others. The best thing is to buy your CBD from a reputable producer or supplier with extensive experience in extracting and producing high-quality CBD products.
Lactation is a unique feature of mammalian reproduction. In fact, lactating females of mammals usually draw on the nutrient reserves for milk production. It helps protect the mother and her offspring from depending on fluctuations in their food supplies. Breast milk is specially designed for the offsprings of mammals. The milk has special fats to help the offspring’s brain grow and develop. Breast milk protects the newborn against infections and they can digest it easily. That is why breastfeeding is important for mammals. The balance of the nutrients in breast milk is very specific, which is why women wonder if CBD and breastfeeding is safe.
CBD and Breastfeeding
Almost every drug that is present in the mother’s bloodstream will transfer into her breast milk to some extent. Most drugs or medications will do so at low levels and pose little or no risk to the infant. But some drugs and medications can become concentrated in breast milk and can pose a risk to the infant. That’s why the mother needs to be careful when taking any kind of drug or medication when breastfeeding her newborn.
Does taking CBD and breastfeeding mean it will transfer to the milk? The short answer is yes. However, we know very little about the safety of breastfeeding while taking CBD. The problem arises because of the inability to test infants properly. But the latest research on marijuana and breastfeeding shows that cannabinoids were present in breast milk samples for more than 6 days after marijuana use. So most experts recommend avoiding cannabis products while breastfeeding until we have more conclusive information.
Potential Risks of CBD and Breastfeeding
To be safe, mothers should stay away from CBD products while breastfeeding. Research shows that breastmilk can contain THC for up to 6 days after use. There’s a chance that THC can affect the newborn’s brain development process and lead to poor cognitive function. CBD could potentially damage the liver of a newborn. Again, we don’t have enough hard information on the subject, but it’s best to use caution.
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) advises against the use of cannabidiol (CBD) or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in any form while breastfeeding a newborn. The main reason is because they do not regulate CBD products, and therefore can’t assure their safety. For most mothers, that is reason enough to err on the side of caution.
Final Thoughts on CBD and Breastfeeding
Hopefully this article has provided some insight on the subject of CBD and breastfeeding. CBD products are proven to help people calm down and sleep better. And since new mothers have to deal with stress and sleep problems, CBD could be an effective solution to their problems. But CBD can leak through breast milk and affect the newborn in ways we don’t yet know. That is why breastfeeding mothers should avoid ingesting CBD while breastfeeding. In any case, discuss it with your doctor if you are still unsure. They may be aware of more recent information on the subject.