Hear about my decision to use CBD while breastfeeding. Is it safe to take CBD oil while pregnant? What about CBD oil and breastfeeding? Find out what we know – and don't know – about cannabidiol oil and its safety.
CBD for Mamas
My experience with Equilibria CBD products. Disclosure: I am an affiliate with Equilibria brand, however all thoughts are my own. Equilibria did not ask me to write this blog post. This is not medical advice.
Everything You Wanted to Know about CBD for Moms!
I’ve gotten so many questions about using CBD, especially about using CBD while breastfeeding. I totally get it! It’s relatively new and there are A TON of products out there, yet there’s not nearly enough research! Today I’m going share a little bit about why I decided to take CBD, and what makes these CBD products special (hint: it has everything to do this incredible company!). Over the last few months, I’ve been sampling products and learning so much about CBD for mamas. I’m really excited to share more and answer some of your most commonly asked questions.
Why I decided to take CBD
My biggest reason for looking into CBD was stress management and headaches. I was getting really bad headaches – so frequently, that they were becoming debilitating. I have never been one to really like prescription medications — I don’t even like to take Advil or Tylenol!
As I started looking for treatments that felt a little bit more natural, I heard about Equilibria’s line of CBD products through a few people I knew and different influencers. I was curious about the products — could they possibly match the hype? When they reached out to me, I was really excited to talk with them and learn more.
As you know, with any partnership or any product I’m trying out, I always ask LOTS of questions. I always make sure that I’m able to try it for a while, long enough to decide if I want to share it. I’ve been using these products for the last few of months and I’m LOVING it. I don’t have headaches anymore, I’m not as stressed out, and I’m not as reactive. It’s been working really well for me, and I’m so happy to be working with this brand.
What are the Benefits of Using CBD?
Proponents of CBD report that the studied benefits are still emerging. Benefits from CBD range from treatment of chronic pain and migraines to anxiety and depression.
Why I chose Equilibria
When I started looking into CBD products, it was really overwhelming! There were so many different options, plus I was looking for some really specific features from the products I tried. Below were a few requirements I had:
I wanted a more natural option. I chose Equilibria is because their products are completely organic and non-GMO. There are no pesticides, herbicides, or heavy metals found in their soils. You can actually go on their website and look up the lab results and learn more about their farm in Colorado!
I wanted to support a woman-focused business. This company is not just an all-women company — the entire focus of their products is women. All of their products are specifically designed for a woman’s body, and all of the changes that women go through.
I wanted a full spectrum products. The products that Equilibrium offers are full spectrum. When you’re looking at the entire market of CBD options, there are three different types of CBD you can choose from: full spectrum, broad spectrum, or CBD isolate. I wanted full spectrum, because I wanted more potent results with a smaller dose.
I wanted (and needed!) help with choosing products. The best thing about this company is that you get access to a Dosage Consultant with every order. You can talk about any specific concerns that you’d like to treat, and they’ll make recommendations based on your personal life — whether you’re looking to reduce inflammation, manage stress, headaches, or anxiety (or all of these things!). But they’re giving you more than product recommendations – they’ll also tell you what time of day to take it, and how often. If you know nothing about CBD, your consultant will walk you through everything you need to know — that accessibility is HUGE for me. I know so many people who are really curious about CBD, but also hesitant, because they just don’t really know where start — this is perfect for you.
Is CBD Right for You? Is CBD healthy for breastfeeding moms?
The FDA currently advises against all CBD and THC products for pregnant and nursing parents. Does CBD get into breast milk? Yes. It’s fat-soluble and will be expelled through your breast milk. However, much of the CBD and breastfeeding controversy lies within the studies done on THC and breast milk, not CBD. The FDA strongly advises against all cannabis products, mostly due to studies regarding THC in pregnancy having negative outcomes. The primary concern with CBD in particular, appears to be the potential for low-quality CBD products to be contaminated with pesticides, bacteria, fungi, and heavy metals. This is why it was a top priority for me to find the cleanest brand possible.
Of course, you should always talk with your doctor before making any major health decisions. CBD is really under researched, especially in pregnant and lactating people. Just like any other medication or supplement, there’s always going to be less research available around pregnancy and lactation, because of ethics with medical testing. We are typically last to be tested for new products.
That being said, everything I’ve learned from my Dosage Consultant has made me feel really comfortable taking it while breastfeeding. Again, you always do what works for you and always talk to your doctor when you’re introducing something new into your routine.
While I do feel that it’s safe for me, it’s also worth considering that there are certain medications that CBD might not react well with it. Always check with your doctor (I did, and mine feels it’s perfectly safe and fine for me!) before starting any new supplement or medication.
A few more resources:
(Note: this is not medical advice, just more information!)
My favorite CBD products
Equilibria’s line is expanding and growing, which is super exciting. While they’re currently US-only, I’ve also been chatting with them about what they might be able to offer international folks. These are my favorite products so far!
Daily Drops (Mint): I was expected CBD products to taste bad, and these don’t taste like that at all! They taste kind of like grassy and minty – it’s nice! I use the little dropper and take these in the morning.
Soft Gels: The soft gels are slow release. These are what you’d take if you’re having trouble sleeping, or want help with stress throughout the day.
Relief Balm: I wanted to get my mother and mother-in-law something beautiful and usable, so I got them both this. It’s a creamy balm used for aches and sore muscles, and it comes in the “relief box.” It would also be a great gift to a new mom or yourself.
Daily Treatment Oil: My mother-in-law and mom have raved about this facial oil. It has a beautiful lemony floral scent, but it’s totally natural, with no added fragrances or chemicals.
Mindful Mineral Soak: This is my new favorite! This would be such a cute gift with a loofah or candle. The mineral soak is like a bath salt and dissolves completely in a warm bath- my favorite form of self care!
NEW Rapid Calming Melts: Peppermint flavored 5mg tablets that dissolve under your tongue and are perfect to take whenever you’re feeling extra stressed and overwhelmed! Discreet and can be taken any time you need fast-acting relief – perfect to stash in your purse when you are on the go. They begin working in as little as 10 minutes and can last up to 6 hours.
Is CBD safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding?
Most experts recommend avoiding CBD while pregnant or breastfeeding. We don’t know enough about CBD oil to conclude that it’s safe or effective for a pregnant mom and her developing baby – or for a breastfeeding mom and her nursing baby. Because CBD isn’t regulated by the FDA, there are serious questions about product quality, too. CBD products may be contaminated with THC and other substances, and there are no good guidelines for dosing.
What is CBD oil?
CBD oil is extracted from cannabidiol (CBD), one of the active ingredients in the cannabis plant.
The other most commonly known ingredient in this plant is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the psychoactive compound that causes a high.
Both marijuana and hemp are cannabis plants. Marijuana has varying levels of TCH, while hemp contains it in extremely low levels.
Most CBD oil is made from hemp plants. (While it’s sometimes labeled hemp oil or CBD hemp oil, CBD oil not the same thing as hemp seed oil.) Oil made from marijuana varieties of the cannabis plant is called cannabis oil, and it’ll contain some THC as well as CBD and other compounds.
CBD does not produce a high, and evidence suggests that it’s not addictive, according to the World Health Organization.
Some methods of taking CBD:
- Sublingual: The most common way people take CBD is by placing drops or tinctures under the tongue. That part of your mouth is rich in capillaries, so the CBD reaches your bloodstream quickly.
- Vaping: Vape pens are often used to take CBD, which also reaches the bloodstream quickly.
- Capsules/pills: These are attractive to people who want an easy way to take CBD regularly.
- Liquids: CBD oil can be blended into smoothies or cocktails.
- Edibles and gummies: The oil can be baked into sweets such as cookies, and is also used to make candies, chocolate, and gummies. While edibles aren’t the most efficient way to get CBD into your bloodstream, they have longer-lasting effects.
- Topical: CBD can be blended with other oils – such as coconut or beeswax – and rubbed into muscles and joints or used in cosmetics.
- Smoking: The CBD flower can be smoked like other forms of cannabis. This is another method that gets CBD into the bloodstream quickly.
What is CBD oil used for?
CBD oil and other CBD products are used to treat many ailments. According to a study of more than 2000 CBD users, more than half were using it to treat a medical condition or symptom – most often:
- Pain (chronic pain and arthritis/joint pain)
- Insomnia or other sleep disorders
Users are also enlisting CBD to treat:
- Migraine, cluster, and tension headaches
- Nausea, including chemotherapy-induced nausea
- Allergies or asthma
- Epilepsy or other seizure disorders
- Multiple sclerosis
- COPD/other lung conditions
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
In addition to using CBD to alleviate stress, anxiety, pain, and insomnia, some pregnant women take it to treat morning sickness. But there’s no proof that CBD is effective in treating these conditions, and there’s no consensus on what doses are appropriate.
Is CBD oil safe during pregnancy?
We don’t know if CBD oil is safe during pregnancy, so experts say to avoid it. Here’s what some leading groups say:
- The Food and Drug Administration(FDA) states: “There may be serious risks to using cannabis products, including those containing CBD, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.” The organization “strongly advises that during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, you avoid using CBD, THC, or marijuana in any form.” They are collecting and studying data on the possible harmful effects of CBD during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, but say based on what they know so far, “there is significant cause for concern.”
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points to the need for more research on how babies and their future health might be affected by CBD, and recommends health care providers counsel pregnant women about the use of marijuana and any byproducts. They caution that CBD products “have not been evaluated for whether they work, what the proper dosage may be if they do work, how they could interact with other drugs, or whether they have harmful side effects or other safety concerns.”
- The American Academy of Pediatrics similarly recommends that “women who are using marijuana or other cannabinoid-containing products to treat a medical condition or to treat nausea and vomiting during pregnancy should be counseled about the lack of safety data and the possible adverse effects of THC in these products on the developing fetus.” (CBD products are not guaranteed to be THC-free; see below.)
Here’s why using CBD during pregnancy isn’t considered safe at this time:
Lack of reassuring safety studies
While there have been some studies on marijuana use and pregnancy, there’s no comprehensive body of research yet about the safety of CBD during pregnancy. The studies we do have don’t support CBD use during pregnancy. For example:
- A recent animal study by researchers at the University of Minnesota found that CBD exposure in mice during pregnancy and lactation affected long-term brain function in their offspring. Female offspring whose mothers were exposed to CBD showed increased anxiety as adults. And hundreds of genes in their brains were affected, in particular those involved in neurological disorders, including diseases like autism spectrum disorder, epilepsy, and substance use disorder. No changes were found in the male offspring.
- A review of 32 studies (animal and human) concluded that CBD has negative effects on the reproductive systems of males, including the size of testes, the number of sperm cells, fertilization rates, and pituitary and gonadal hormones. Regular doses of CBD were linked to impaired sexual behavior in mice.
- Some studies conclude that high doses of CBD may cause liver damage in humans. Others suggest that the doses commonly used in supplements and foods would likely not increase the risk of liver damage. Research to determine what doses of CBD are safe in terms of liver health is ongoing.
CBD may interact with other medications, such as blood thinners, and potentially cause serious side effects. Other possible side effects of using CBD include:
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
- Extreme sleepiness
Lack of product quality and purity
CBD products aren’t well regulated. They can be contaminated with substances that aren’t safe for a fetus, including THC, pesticides, heavy metals, bacteria, and fungus.
The label on the CBD product you purchase may be incorrect. In one study, researchers tested 84 CBD products and found that 26 percent contained substantially less CBD than shown on the label, and 43 percent contained substantially more. THC was detected in 18 of the 84 samples.
It’s against federal law to market CBD by adding it to a food or labeling it as a dietary supplement. The FDA says that some CBD products are being marketed with unproven medical claims and their quality is unknown. Only one CBD product is approved by the FDA for medical use, and that’s a drug used to treat rare, severe forms of seizures in children. Still, some companies continue to make unproven claims about CBD.
Is CBD oil safe to use while breastfeeding?
We don’t know if CBD oil is safe to use when you’re breastfeeding. Based on what we know so far, experts expect that some CBD is transferred through breast milk to nursing babies. (We know that breast milk can contain THC for up to six days after use.) That means that any contaminants in the CBD might also be transferred to your baby.
It also means that all of the reasons you shouldn’t use CBD while pregnant apply to taking it while breastfeeding. The CDC says, “To limit potential risk to the infant, breastfeeding mothers should be advised not to use marijuana or marijuana-containing products in any form, including those containing CBD, while breastfeeding.”
The truth is, there are far more questions than answers when it comes to CBD, especially for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
If you’re looking to CBD to help cope with issues like morning sickness, pregnancy insomnia, anxiety during pregnancy, or postpartum depression, talk to your doctor or midwife about other, safer treatments.
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Karen Miles is a writer and an expert on pregnancy and parenting who has contributed to BabyCenter for more than 20 years. She’s passionate about bringing up-to-date, useful information to parents so they can make good decisions for their families. Her favorite gig of all is being “Mama Karen” to four grown children and “Nana” to eight grandkids.