CBD oil has been researched as a gentle and safe support for many ailments, but can it be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding?
In this article, we find out how the endocannabinoid system works during pregnancy and breastfeeding and whether the use of CBD oil is safe at that time.
The period of pregnancy and breastfeeding is very special
During pregnancy and breastfeeding, a woman is not only responsible for her own body and health, but also for the growth and development of the little person. During pregnancy, the baby is protected to some extent by the placenta, the purpose of which is to act as an intermediary between mother and baby by nourishing and filtering toxins. Although the placenta is an effective filter, it does not protect against everything. It has been found in animal experiments that CBD also passes through the placenta into the baby’s body, and therefore it is possible that its use during pregnancy and breastfeeding is not completely safe.
You can prepare for pregnancy and breastfeeding
You can and should prepare in advance for well-being during pregnancy, a gentle birth and successful breastfeeding.
During pregnancy, mental well-being, body care and high-quality nutrition take on a completely new meaning and it’s worth of investing in them. Pregnancy can be a roller coaster of emotions and constant vomiting until delivery. It may be a time of intense quieting down and deep introspection. It is perhaps also accepting a new life situation and probably a mixed bag of all this.
Preparing for birth can be challenging, because each birth goes in its own way, and nothing can really be determined in advance. The best thing is to strengthen your body connection and trust that a woman’s body was created to give birth. The body knows how to work properly together with the baby, when the birth is given peace, time and freedom to go with its own weight. Labor and birth is a powerful event for both the mother, the baby and the whole family, and it should be treated with deep respect and genuine encounter between the parents.
Breastfeeding is a natural continuation of childbirth and, depending on the circumstances, it is certainly basically possible for all women who have given birth. Milk production is initiated by hormones, and the reason behind unsuccessful breastfeeding is often stress and insufficient breastfeeding support. The background of breastfeeding guidance is unfortunately often the rush and excessive monitoring of the baby’s weight gain, in which case breastfeeding may cause frustration and fear of its success. Fortunately, there is a lot of information on social media and the internet to support a successful breastfeeding experience, and in many places it is possible to get face-to-face help from volunteers for problems related to breastfeeding.
The endocannabinoid system in pregnancy
The endocannabinoid system monitors all body functions. Although the body’s different systems work independently, there is the endocannabinoid system plays a significant role as their balancer and supreme observer.
The endocannabinoid system is involved in several different functions during pregnancy. It plays a role in enabling pregnancy and is involved in e.g. in the attachment of the fertilized egg and the development of the placenta. (1) The endocannabinoid system affects the receptivity of the uterus, the regeneration of the placenta and the development of the embryo. (2) The endocannabinoid system is also involved in and about the functions related to the menstrual cycle you can read more here .
There are two receptors of the endocannabinoid system, CB1 and CB2 receptors. The reproductive system generally has more CB2 receptors, but both have been found in the placenta and ovaries. The CB1 receptor seems to play a role in the normal duration of pregnancy. (1,2)
Endocannabinoids in pregnancy
The endocannabinoid system includes two natural cannabinoids produced within the body. Anandamide ( AEA) and 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) have their own important functions during pregnancy, from conception to delivery. Anandamide levels have been found to be higher during early pregnancy than during the second and last trimesters, when they decrease until they rise sharply again just before labor begins. The actual significance of this event is not yet known, but it has been observed in both human and animal experiments. Anandamide is considered important in the interaction between the embryo and the uterus. (1)
Endocannabinoids in breast milk
Breast milk contains huge amounts of nutritious fatty acids, which are usually enough to cover the baby’s entire energy needs until the baby is 6 months old. The quality and quantity of fatty acids vary depending on how the mother eats. The dominant fatty acid is arachidonic acid, which is also a precursor to endocannabinoids.
According to one small sample study that measured endocannabinoid levels in breast milk, both anandamide and 2-AG were clearly present, although the 2-AG levels are significantly higher. The 2-AG levels may be affected by the breastfeeding mother’s overweight, as the concentrations of the cannabinoid 2-AG clearly varied between the breast milk of different weight categories.
The importance of endocannabinoids in breast milk is still unclear, but it is definitely an object that arouses interest. (3)
It has been found in animal experiments that the baby’s meals are possibly related to the activation of the CB1 receptor and that it plays a big role in the initiation of sucking as well as in early development. (3)
Use of CBD oil during pregnancy
Although the endocannabinoid system is involved in the initiation, progression and even delivery of pregnancy, it does not necessarily mean that CBD oil use during pregnancy would be completely safe. Cannabidiol ie CBD does not actually act through the body’s cannabinoid receptors, but through other receptors, and thus does not directly affect the functioning of the endocannabinoid system.
CBD is a naturally occurring cannabinoid in hemp that belongs to the large family of phytocannabinoids. There are many different types of them, and more than 120 different types have been found in hemp. Other active substances such as more than 450 terpenes and flavonoids have been identified, and the combined effect of all these ( Entourage effect ) creates hemp’s healing properties.
The use of the CBD oil understandably, there are quite a few studies on use during pregnancy. Some animal experiments have been done, and based on the results obtained from them, it is probably safe to leave hemp products containing CBD and other cannabinoids for less use in the early stages of pregnancy and to continue their regular and large-scale use only after the end of breastfeeding.
According to some animal experiments, using CBD, especially in the early stages of pregnancy, may cause behavioral disorders in childhood and adulthood.
CBDThe use of cannabinoids may also be involved in premature birth, low birth weight and early pregnancy miscarriages, but these research results may be affected by the fact that most studies focusing on cannabinoids and pregnancy/breastfeeding are based on the cannabis , i.e. psychoactive hemp, as well as the fact that the results have not taken into account other factors affecting the course of pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, such as the mother’s health and diet.
Use of CBD oil during breastfeeding
CBD is a fat-soluble cannabinoid that is also excreted in breast milk. A child’s brain develops strongly in early childhood, and the effects of CBD as a fat-soluble cannabinoid may be similar to exposure to CBD during pregnancy.
CBD oil works as an anandamide reuptake inhibitor, meaning it increases the amount of anandamide available in the brain amount. In women prone to depression and anxiety, increased levels of anandamide in the brain can reduce the effects and possibly even the onset of postpartum depression.
Although CBD products are widely used and found to be safe, they should not necessarily be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding, at least not very regularly. Very little research has been done on the topic and it is still impossible to say what kind of dose could be safe. The endocannabinoid system plays important roles throughout pregnancy and endocannabinoids have also been detected in breast milk. CBD oil is a safe and versatile nature’s own nurse, whose regular use is safe to return to immediately after stopping breastfeeding at the latest.
- Kozakiewicz M., Grotegut CA and Howlett AC. 2021. Frontiers of endocrinology. Endocannabinoid System in Pregnancy Maintenance and Labor: A Mini-Review. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fendo.2021.699951/full. Referred on 17/10/2022
- Ezechukwu H., Diya C., Shrestha N and Hryciw D.. 2020. American journal of physiology. Role for endocannabinoids in early pregnancy: recent advances and the effects of cannabis use. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/ajpendo.00210.2020. Referred on 17/10/2022.
- Datta P., Melkus M., Rewers-Felkins K., Patel D., Bateman T., Baker T. skea Hale T.. 2021. Human Milk Endocannabinoid Levels as a Function of Obesity and Diurnal Rhythm. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=Hale %20TW% 5BAuthor%5D. Referred on 17/10/2022.
- Health feedback. Endocannabinoids in human breast milk are important for human development, but not present in cannabis. https://healthfeedback.org/claimreview/endocannabinoids-in-human-breast-milk-are-important-for-human-development-but-not-present-in-cannabis/. Referred on 17/10/2022