When a woman becomes pregnant, everything she comes into contact with can potentially affect her fetus. Learn why taking CBD is not recommended while pregnant. Little research is out there on CBD use during pregnancy. We take a closer look. CBD has been hailed as a remedy for health issues including pain, digestive issues, and insomnia. Could it be the answer to the common symptoms of pregnancy? Find out why this isn’t the case.
What You Need to Know About Taking CBD While Pregnant
By The Recovery Village | Editor Melissa Carmona
Medically Reviewed By Benjamin Caleb Williams, RN A licensed behavioral health or medical professional on The Recovery Village Editorial Team has analyzed and confirmed every statistic, study and medical claim on this page. | Last Updated: May 26, 2022
The FDA strongly advises against taking cannabidiol (CBD) while pregnant or breastfeeding, as there is not enough research to support its safety.
When a woman becomes pregnant, everything she comes into contact with can potentially affect her fetus. While there are several beneficial products that women can take, such as prenatal vitamins, other substances negatively impact the fetus. These can include certain types of foods, prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and illegal substances.
IS CBD Safe for Pregnant Women?
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a compound found within the cannabis plant. Although there is not enough research outlining the beneficial or negative effects of CBD, many people around the world use it for therapeutic purposes. Unlike another common compound found in cannabis (THC), CBD does not provide mind-altering effects.
If you are wondering if you can take CBD oil while pregnant, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strongly advises against taking CBD while pregnant or breastfeeding. There does not yet exist a strong body of research around CBD during pregnancy. Taking CBD while pregnant can pose some harmful risks for babies in the womb. Until the FDA can study more data and answer questions surrounding CBD products and their effects on pregnant and nursing mothers, taking CBD is not recommended.
While using CBD is thought to be safer than smoking cannabis itself or THC-rich products, this does not mean it is safe for pregnant women.
The Effects of CBD on a Fetus
There is a lack of conclusive data to determine the effects of CBD hemp oil on a fetus. To avoid the potential risks on human babies, the few studies conducted on this subject have been on animals.
In one study, CBD exposure in the womb has neurobehavioral consequences. A growing fetus is equipped with an endocannabinoid system (all humans are). Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors and seem to help with early neuron development and cell survival. Artificially manipulating that system early in development had a long-lasting impact on the animal subjects’ brains.
In another study conducted on pregnant mice, CBD doses led to reproductive problems for male fetuses throughout their lives. It is important to note that the results of animal studies may not be transferable to human subjects, so more research is needed.
If you have any questions about using substances or medications while pregnant, including CBD, you should always speak with your doctor before trying anything new. Your doctor can determine if the potential benefits of a particular medication outweigh the risks of using the product during pregnancy.
If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance abuse disorder, seek professional help right away. The Recovery Village has several treatment options for those who are looking to live healthier, substance-free lives. You can find treatment programs in your specific area here.
As the content manager at Advanced Recovery Systems, Melissa Carmona puts years of writing and editing experience to work helping people understand substance abuse, addiction and mental health disorders. Read more
Benjamin Caleb Williams is a board-certified Emergency Nurse with several years of clinical experience, including supervisory roles within the ICU and ER settings. Read more
Is CBD Safe During Pregnancy?
Little research is out there on CBD use during pregnancy. We take a closer look.
It’s hard to turn on the TV or hop on social media without hearing mention of CBD. It’s on everyone’s minds lately. CBD—cannabidiol—is a chemical derived from cannabis. CBD is non-psychoactive and contains no tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. So, it doesn’t produce the high associated with marijuana. Since this therapeutic agent is legal in some states, it’s enticing to those who want relief minus mind-altering effects.
Countless products containing CBD have popped up, touted as natural remedies for ailments ranging from joint pain and seizures to anxiety and insomnia. CBD is thought to alleviate conditions like inflammation, migraines, nausea and sleep disorders. And women are getting in on it, too, using it for issues like hormone regulation, beauty benefits, menopause and premenstrual syndrome symptom alleviation, and sex life enhancer.
CBD is sold in various strengths and forms including oils, capsules, edibles and topicals at health food stores, smoke shops and pharmacies (if it’s legal in your state). You might dab CBD lotion on problematic areas or drizzle CBD oil into your coffee. Or maybe you munch on CBD edibles like chocolates or gummies.
But is CBD safe during pregnancy?
Some pregnant women have been curious about using CBD oils, lotions, creams or other topical products to alleviate pregnancy-related issues like moodiness, anxiety and muscle pain. These women theorize that applying CBD on top of your skin—instead of digesting it—means that it won’t end up in their bloodstream. In fact, in California, the number of pregnant women using cannabis almost doubled between 2009 and 2016, according to a study out of Kaiser Permanente Northern California, the only U.S. healthcare system that screens all pregnant women for prenatal marijuana use.
Still, little research is out there on CBD use during pregnancy. No conclusive evidence shows that taking CBD during pregnancy is or isn’t safe. So, it’s wise not to use CBD to soothe your ailments. It’s not proven how it impacts your body and developing fetus. No long-term research exists as to what happens years down the road after taking CBD during pregnancy.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women who are pregnant or thinking about conceiving shouldn’t use marijuana or any of its by-products, including medical marijuana. THC, CBD’s cousin, may interfere with baby’s brain development and function and may be linked to stillbirth, lower birthweight and other unwanted outcomes. Even the lowest-dose products aren’t considered safe during pregnancy.
Yes, CBD isn’t THC. It’s much safer and has minor side effects like tiredness and diarrhea. Still, exactly how it works is unknown. It may even impact your hormones, which is something you don’t want to interfere with during pregnancy. Plus, CBD is a new and largely unregulated market. Products, even ones marketed as pure CBD, may be contaminated with pesticides, toxic metals and bacteria that you don’t want near your fetus.
Talk with your health care provider about any questions you have regarding CBD use during pregnancy.
CBD and Pregnancy: What You Should Know
If you’re having pregnancy symptoms, maybe you’ve wondered if CBD (cannabidiol) can bring you relief. CBD is a compound in marijuana and hemp that doesn’t get you high. And products with CBD in it are becoming more and more popular. Manufacturers use it in things like foods, drinks, beauty products, and supplements.
Some pregnant women consider using CBD for symptoms like:
or vomiting from morning sickness or stress
It’s a bad idea to take CBD for any of these reasons, though. The FDA urges women not to use cannabis or any type of CBD product while pregnant or breastfeeding. It could be dangerous for you and your baby.
Why It’s Risky
For one thing, we need a lot more research into the effects of CBD on pregnant mothers and unborn babies. Experts mainly have animal studies to go on. For instance, researchers who gave pregnant test animals high doses of CBD noticed problems in the reproductive systems of male fetuses. That doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing would happen in people, but the FDA says it’s concerned by the finding.
It’s also possible for CBD products to be contaminated with things that could be dangerous for a developing or nursing baby, like THC. That’s the chemical in cannabis that gets you high. Experts advise all women to avoid THC while pregnant and breastfeeding. It may affect a baby’s brain development in the womb. It can also raise the chances of stillbirth or premature birth. THC can pass to an infant through breast milk, and experts think this can happen with CBD as well.
The FDA has gotten reports of CBD products possibly being contaminated with other things, like:
- Heavy metals
What’s more, studies show that CBD poses risks for everyone, like liver damage and extreme sleepiness. It could also hurt your health by affecting medications you take.
Approved Uses for CBD
It has one approved medical use: a prescription drug that treats certain rare, severe types of seizure disorders in kids.
Otherwise, the FDA doesn’t review supplements like it does medications. So if you see a CBD pill, oil, capsule, or liquid with a package that makes health claims, be skeptical of its promises. And don’t take it if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. If you’re having pregnancy symptoms, ask your doctor or OB-GYN for a safer treatment instead.
In general, don’t take a new supplement without talking to your doctor first. They can let you know whether it’s likely to be safe and effective for you.
FDA: “What You Should Know About Using Cannabis, Including CBD, When Pregnant or Breastfeeding,” “FDA Approves First Drug Comprised of an Active Ingredient Derived from Marijuana to Treat Rare, Severe Forms of Epilepsy.”
UCLA: “Looking for relief, pregnant women turn to marijuana despite medical advice.”
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: “Marijuana and Pregnancy.”