CBD in Breast Milk – Can It Happen?
Posted on March 18th, 2021
It’s a misconception that CBD, weed, hemp, and marijuana are the same thing. They are not. CBD stands for cannabidiol, an active ingredient found in various hemp plants. Unlike its cousin THC, CBD doesn’t cause any psychoactive effects capable of making you high. You need to extract CBD from the hemp plant’s flowers to make various topical, skin-care, and ingestible CBD products.
Many active compounds present in CBD work with your endocannabinoid system to deliver therapeutic effects to your body. Thus, it might allow you to lead a healthier lifestyle. CBD products are now legal in many states, provided they contain less than 0.3% THC. Some of the widely reported benefits of using CBD include reducing stress, a sense of calm, and decreased inflammation.
What Are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are a family of compounds among the different 480 compounds found in the Cannabis Sativa plant. There are approximately 100+ different cannabinoids. The most popular cannabinoid in the Cannabis Sativa plant is THC. It contains the psychoactive elements capable of making you stoned. The THC molecule is very abundant in the marijuana plant. Therefore, marijuana and CBD are not the same. THC hardly has any health benefits, unlike CBD. Cannabinoids have many subclasses also, such as Cannabichromene (CBC), Cannabidiol (CBD), Cannabinodiol (CBDL), Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Cannabigerol (CBG), and Cannabinol (CBN). A few other subclasses that you may also come across are cannabitriol (CBT), cannabicyclol (CBL), and cannabielsoin (CBE).
Where Does CBD Come From?
This is where it gets tricky and confusing for many people. First of all, CBD and THC are not the same. THC is much abundant in the marijuana plant, while most manufacturers prefer to get CBD from hemp. Marijuana and hemp are two different varieties of the cannabis plant. One has high levels of THC; the other, hemp, has only trace amounts of it. Thus, hemp is the one from which it is best to get CBD since you don’t have to process it to bring down THC levels further.
Mankind already used hemp way before CBD became popular. People would use it to make various industrial and commercial products, such as:
Hemp is also one of the most versatile plants on earth. If you want to differentiate between hemp, marijuana, CBD, and THC, follow the following rule of thumb.
Hemp is safe and contains a high percentage of CBD. CBD provides tons of health benefits. Marijuana, on the other hand, contains a high percentage of THC. THC contains the psychoactive element that may get you high. It isn’t the safest cannabinoid compound, and doctors don’t recommend it for medication, unlike CBD.
Can CBD Get You High?
CBD is now legal in nearly 50 states of the US. One of the reasons why most states are legalizing CBD is that it doesn’t get you high. It isn’t like THC. You won’t feel euphoric after consuming a couple of drops of CBD or chewing down a few gummies. Of course, you should consult the dosage with your doctor, but there’s nothing to worry about when it comes to significant adverse effects. People don’t consume CBD for recreational purposes like THC. Instead, some doctors recommend CBD because it can alleviate pain and calm your mind down when you feel anxious.
Does that mean you can consume CBD any time you want? There are a few restrictions that you need to keep in mind. For example, it’s wise not to consume CBD if you already take blood thinner medication. It can multiply the effects of the blood thinner significantly and cause various side-effects. This reaction works the same way as grapefruit juice does on various medications. Similarly, CBD in breast milk is another concern for breastfeeding moms. It’s always wise to consult with your physician before consuming CBD.
How Does CBD Work?
Scientists are still exploring the health benefits of CBD. It is already a legal product in many states because of its efficacy in treating pain, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. The reported health benefits suggest that it is one of the best cannabinoid compounds to help you in more ways than one. But how does it work so quickly? Why do some people feel relieved immediately after applying a CBD ointment topically for joint pains? Here’s the likely reason.
Your body has an endocannabinoid system. This system absorbs CBD quickly and distributes its effects on the parts connected to other intertwined systems in your body. Your body has many endocannabinoid receptors in many different places. They are in the spinal cord, skin, organs, and brain. Once you consume CBD or apply CBD topically, the CBD molecule communicates with these receptors to send signals to the respective areas. For example, suppose you have knee pain, and you apply CBD topically. In that case, the cannabinoids enter your endocannabinoid system through your skin pores and contacts your cannabinoid receptors. After that, depending on which receptors it acts on, it may trigger different, possibly therapeutic, effects.
Your body can also produce its own cannabinoids that may help heal you. However, it only can come up with a limited amount of it. Endocannabinoid is the name of those cannabinoids the body makes naturally on its own. You can use CBD as a supplement to enhance and hasten the therapeutic effects endocannabinoids give. As a side note, cannabinoids coming from plants fall under the label of phytocannabinoids. But in both cases, these natural compounds both reduce the effects of stress, boost your immune system, and reduce inflammation.
Breastfeeding – Mechanisms Behind the Production of Breast Milk
Breast milk comes from small cell clusters in your breasts called alveoli. The milk travels through these cells, passes down various ducts, and into the nipples. Breasts enlarge during pregnancy and the breastfeeding period. Breastfeeding as a process works on a demand-supply basis. Women produce more milk if they happen to need to nurse more frequently.
The female body starts producing breast milk when a baby sucks on the nipples. Their suckling stimulates the nerve endings in the areola and nipple region. They send signals to your pituitary gland and brain to release prolactin and oxytocin. Here’s how the breastfeeding mechanism works:
- Prolactin works with your alveoli to make nutrients, including sugars and proteins, from your blood. They then turn those nutrients into breast milk. That is why scientists and doctors say that breast milk is the most nutritious food for babies.
- Oxytocin is responsible for making the cells around the alveoli region contract. This allows your breasts to eject milk into your milk ducts. The passing of milk from the alveoli to the ducts is known as the let-down reflex. Women can experience let-down in many ways, such as feeling thirsty, feeling a tingling sensation in the breasts. Milk dripping from your opposite breast, uterine cramping, and the infant actively sucking and swallowing also triggers it.
Your brain plays a crucial role in let-down and milk ejection. This means women may experience let-down in other situations also like when experiencing an orgasm or feeling sexually stimulated.
Is It Possible for the Body to Leak CBD in Breast Milk?
Having a baby is a stressful process. Some women might think of turning to CBD for pain relief and to keep themselves calm. But it isn’t a great idea to do so. As already mentioned, prolactin coordinates with your alveoli to make breast milk from your blood. Once you consume CBD after delivering your baby, you allow the CBD compounds to mix with your bloodstream. While CBD may not have any effects on you, it might certainly affect your newborn baby.
Doctors say that there are no safety data that can pit this argument in favor of CBD consumers, especially breastfeeding moms. According to a study, researchers took breast milk samples from eight moms who regularly took CBD themselves. They tested the samples to find that each one contained CBD strains. Although a section of society thinks CBD poses little to no threat to anyone, scientists and doctors strongly recommend not consuming or using any CBD products while breastfeeding.
Is CBD in Breast Milk Dangerous?
The FDA strongly advises moms not to use any form of CBD during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. According to scientists, CBD in breast milk may lead to inferior fetal brain development. CBD can enter your baby’s brain through your bloodstream. Additionally, it increases the risk of your newborn’s weight being below average.
Consuming CBD during pregnancy may even lead to potential stillbirth and premature birth. Breastfeeding is crucial for any baby. But remember, consuming CBD or using CBD products can lead to leaking CBD in breast milk. The strains might remain in your breast milk for six days. Poor brain development may result in poor cognitive function, hyperactivity, and various long-term consequences. Both doctors and the FDA suggest that you stop smoking and consuming CBD products if you are pregnant. You should follow this routine until your baby doesn’t need to breastfeed anymore.
How Can Women Avoid CBD in Breast Milk?
The easiest way for women to avoid the leakage of CBD in breast milk is not to consume or use any CBD products. It doesn’t matter whether you are eating CBD gummies or vaping CBD. You should stay away from it as long as you are pregnant and your baby needs breast milk to develop properly. Otherwise, your baby’s development can be negatively affected.