Hemp-based wellness products benefit many people, but can you use CBD while pregnant?
While CBD poses no risk to adults who take it daily, a foetus doesn't have a fully developed brain, making the effects of hemp much stronger and potentially harmful. This means expectant mothers could unintentionally put their unborn child in harm's way.
Although CBD and THC vary in composition, it still leaves many grey areas for expectant mothers wondering if the fetus will be affected in any way.
Let's explore this subject a little more.
Why Ingesting CBD May Be Unsafe
Developing foetuses are completely reliant on their mother's health and nutrition.
Anything the mother puts into her body ultimately transmits to the foetus. On top of that, whatever the foetus needs, the mother can feel, making for some strange cravings (such as the condition known as pica, where mothers have sudden cravings to eat paper or even dirt).
As a baby develops, it has specific dietary needs that, if unmet, leads to health problems later on once it is born. This is why expectant mothers have to eat healthily and take prenatal vitamins for the baby to develop properly.
When a growing foetus encounters CBD, it may not respond the same way the mother does.
In adults, CBD is safe for daily use because it isn't toxic, addictive, or problematic for long-term health risks, but the same may not be accurate for a developing baby.
Right now, you may be asking, "who says?"
But that's the problem—there's virtually no research currently on the effects of prenatal CBD use. Until we know more, taking CBD while pregnant is just too much of a gamble.
How CBD Works
The human body is an intricate network of systems that interact and communicate with each other.
Your muscular system takes cues from your central nervous system as to how and when to move. Your veins and arteries communicate with your brain to know where oxygen needs to go.
One of the more recently discovered systems is the endocannabinoid system. As one of Mother Nature's oldest evolutionary mechanisms, all mammals have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) regulating sleep, slow inflammation, reduced stress, and more.
As research into the ECS is young, scientists haven't yet figured out precisely what it does. We do know a few things about how it works, though.
With receptors throughout the body, the ECS can have regenerating effects on the skin, muscles, and other organs. Some studies have even found that chronic pain could have something to do with endocannabinoid deficiencies.
When the brain calls for it, bodily systems are activated with hormones to get to work. After they perform their tasks, the brain sends out enzymes to clear out the hormones and clean everything else up.
CBD works by giving the ECS more time to work. It does this by making it harder for the brain to send out enzymes, allowing endocannabinoids to do more before settling down. This is why CBD helps to reduce aches and pains.
However, a developing brain may not handle suppressed enzymes very well. When foetuses encounter chemicals and compounds, the process is much more intense because their brains are much smaller, making any dose far more powerful to them than to their mother's adult brain.
What Can Happen to Foetuses When CBD Is Introduced?
CBD is still kind of a mystery in wellness culture. It has different effects on different people—no two people experience it the same way.
Some feel more relaxed, while others feel energized. Some get hungry while others feel no appetite.
During pregnancy, any feelings the mother has transmit to the growing foetus. One example of this is how mothers with high blood sugar can give birth to babies with low blood sugar, putting them at a higher risk of seizures and other problems.
Knowing this, it's easy to see how CBD might have unforeseen consequences for a baby.
Combining CBD with Prescription Medications
To keep the ECS active for longer, CBD works by weakening the brain's ability to send out enzymes.
To do this, CBD targets brain structures called cytochromes, but CBD isn't the only compound to affect the brain this way. Blood thinners do as well.
The most common side effect of CBD occurs with people taking blood-thinning medications.
Because cytochromes regulate how quickly the medication gets into the bloodstream, CBD can lead to either too much or too little medication affecting the mother.
If too much medication makes it into a foetus's bloodstream, the results could be disastrous.
Ingesting CBD isn't a good idea for pregnant women. However, it's much more hazardous for expectant mothers who take blood thinners.
Are All CBD Products a Bad Idea?
The CBD products that pose the lowest risk are topicals since the cannabinoids never enter the bloodstream; they're less likely to cause any problems for pregnant women.
Why It's Important to Buy Quality Products
Pregnant or not, buying quality products always makes a difference.
One problem with cheap CBD products is that they contain low-quality ingredients that can render the supplement useless. Sometimes, these products don't even contain CBD.
This leads to larger and larger doses to feel a benefit, leading to drug tolerance and other problems. Worse, some cheap CBD products contain residual solvents, heavy metals, and mycotoxins that can be extremely harmful to the mother and the foetus.
Always buy quality products. If you're pregnant, though, it's best to wait until the baby arrives (assuming you choose not to breastfeed) before taking any CBD.
Always Read the Lab Report
Quality CBD products come with a lab report that tells you which cannabinoids are present and how much of the product they comprise. More importantly, lab reports will tell you what's not in your supplement.
Non-organic products, for example, are often grown with synthetic pesticides and fertilisers that can negatively affect the CBD (they might even cause brain damage).
You should always buy organic whenever possible, as these products almost always work better thanks to their intact plant matter.
In closing, don't use CBD if you're expecting a baby. Should you decide to use a CBD topical, make sure it comes from a vendor that only sells organic products.