CBD and breastfeeding – Is it safe? There is much to be said about the therapeutic uses of CBD products and their suggested efficacy for physical and mental ailments. However, the understanding of CBD uses when breastfeeding is less clear. We review what the experts say.
Nursing one’s baby can be a wonderful time for any parent of newborns, providing critical bonding time and nutritional advantages to the baby, however, it is not without its difficulties. People who are breastfeeding can experience fatigue, interrupted sleep and mood swings. Post-partum life can also be categorised by post-partum depression, anxiety, and chronic pain, which are only added to by the natural changes in hormones and lack of sleep that happens after giving birth. CBD can offer a potential remedy for some of these problems. But whether it is safe for those who are breastfeeding is less well known. Currently, science cannot suggest what the short or long-term impacts of taking CBD while breastfeeding are on the baby. Due to a lack of conclusive research is it difficult to come to a clear and confident answer. Those who are breastfeeding and wish to take CBD should be aware and consult their doctor before making any decisions.
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What the science says about breastfeeding and CBD
Most research looking at cannabis use when breastfeeding has been conducted using THC rather than CBD. It suggests that it is possible to pass low levels of THC to the baby whilst nursing. Of those who regularly used cannabis, their babies who were breastfed ingested approximately 2.5% of the maternal does of THC.
Although the study did not look at whether the baby had significant levels of THC in their bodies. As the study was done using THC, we don’t know if CBD would act in the same way. Nor, do we know if CBD is in-fact harmful (or not) for babies.
Cannabis products that have entered the body a few days or weeks before breastfeeding can still make their way into breastmilk.Therefore, it is difficult to be confident that the CBD taken one day would have left the system, before being passed onto the baby via the breastmilk at another point. So even if you are not consuming CBD products at the time of breastfeeding, they may still be able to be passed onto the baby.
Some CBD products may also contain small, trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis that produces the ‘high’. These traces are dangerous as they could still be passed onto the baby. Scientists strongly advise against consuming THC products when breastfeeding as cannabis has been reported to lead to behavioural and cognitive performance issues, as well as affecting the child’s neurodevelopment. Although, these studies are mostly causational in nature, suggesting an increased risk but no definitive proof. There may also be other factors influencing the result, such as the frequency of use, and the potency of the products.
As cannabis products will pass through the breastmilk to the baby and there is limited data available about its safety, and the effect on the infant, it would be best to speak to your medical professional first, if interested in using CBD while breastfeeding.
Risks vs Benefits of CBD use when breastfeeding
Whilst research has yet to be able to provide a clear conclusion on CBD’s safety for babies, CBD could be beneficial for some of the experiences of post-partum life. CBD has been shown to be effective in treating some of the symptoms of depression, reducing anxiety, lessening fatigue and controlling mood swings.
Although, breastfeeders should be aware of the potential risks of CBD products. Many CBD products are unregulated and can contain harmful substances, such as bacteria, pesticides and heavy metals, which could harm the baby. There are also minimal side effects to using CBD, such as fatigue, and changes in appetite. When coupled with looking after a newborn baby, the natural bodily and hormonal changes that come from giving birth, these side effects can still negatively impact the users’ life, despite the potential therapeutic benefits of CBD.
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Is CBD safe when breastfeeding?
Conclusive research has not been done on breastfeeds and babies when using CBD. The long-term effects of continued exposure to cannabis products on an infant’s brain development are also not yet known. Although only minimal amounts make it into the breastmilk, those who are breastfeeding would do best to consult their doctor and seek professional medical advice before using CBD when breastfeeding.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Breastfeeding mothers should not use marijuana or CBD products while breastfeeding to reduce the risk to their infants.
Is CBD breastfeeding safe? While CBD may sound appealing to new mothers, little research exists on its effects on breast milk. Experts have advised against CBD use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Breastmilk containing marijuana was found to be up to six days after the last use.
The samples contained 9% cannabidiol.
Median (IQR), cannabidiol, (CBD) concentrations were plasma 0.6 ng/ml (0.5-7.4) and breast milk HTML1.2 (0.5-7.7).
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Disclaimer: Despite the general safety of CBD products, minimal side effects can occur, especially at the first use. Contact your medical professional for advice.