Is CBD Safe To Use During Pregnancy
CBD is an impressive compound that has shown an ability to help improve a range of conditions and symptoms, but is it safe to use during pregnancy? With CBD’s ability to target many of the negative side effects of pregnancy, it’s an exciting natural option for pregnant people. However, there is more to consider with CBD than just its therapeutic effects.
It’s important to carefully consider the safety of all compounds before consuming them during pregnancy, and currently the advice is to avoid CBD. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has advised that pregnant people avoid CBD and cannabis products, stating that they could harm a developing fetus and child (1).
Benefits of CBD
While we’re still learning more about CBD and how it interacts with our bodies, current research tells us that it can induce a range of positive effects.
One potential benefit of CBD is its use as an anti-nausea treatment. CBD may be able to reduce nausea by activating CB1 receptors. These receptors are able to suppress vomiting when activated and we know that CBD is able to bind to and activate CB1 receptors (2).
Animal research also suggests that CBD may be able to help reduce nausea by activating certain serotonin receptors. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter and hormone that is involved in mood regulation, but it can also play a role in controlling nausea (3).
CBD may also be able to help you get a good night’s sleep. This tiny compound has been found to improve sleep scores and it may even be able to improve the symptoms of sleep disorders.
A 2019 review explored the effects of CBD on sleep quality and found that CBD managed to improve sleep scores in 66.7% of patients within the first month of treatment (4).
Another study investigated the effects of CBD on sleep disorders. This 2017 study found that CBD was able to significantly improve the symptoms of REM sleep behavior disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness (5).
While more research is needed to fully explore the effects of CBD on sleep, these studies highlight its potential to improve sleep quality for even hard to treat conditions.
CBD may also be able to reduce your pain levels. This cannabinoid compound has demonstrated an ability to act as an analgesic and relieve you of pain, although more research is needed to fully understand the effectiveness of CBD as a pain treatment.
One review study investigated the pain-relieving properties of all cannabinoids (including CBD) and found that cannabinoid treatment resulted in a 30% reduction in pain for 29% of participants (6).
This study did not involve CBD alone, and so further research is required to understand how CBD itself might affect pain. However, the way that CBD interacts with the body indicates that it does hold potential as an analgesic. As we know, CBD can activate serotonin receptors. This is important for pain management as activated serotonin receptors have been found to induce a cellular response that then reduces pain perception (7).
One of CBD’s strongest therapeutic effects lies in its ability to reduce anxiety.
There are two ways that CBD likely induces its effects: by increasing serotonin and reducing cortisol levels. The hormone serotonin plays a big role in mood regulation. Known as the “happy hormone”, serotonin can improve mood, reduce anxiety, and is even used in the treatment of many mental health conditions (8). CBD is able to activate serotonin receptors like 5-HT1A to increase serotonin activity (9).
The other mood-regulating hormone that CBD acts on is cortisol. Cortisol is known as a stress hormone and it is often present in higher levels in people with depression and anxiety (10). CBD is able to alter cortisol secretion to lower cortisol levels to reduce cortisol levels, helping to reduce stress that can contribute towards anxiety (11).
So why can’t pregnant people enjoy the benefits of CBD?
While CBD is generally considered to have a high safety profile, the FDA has determined that CBD is not safe to use during pregnancy. Despite its typical mild side effects, there are more significant risks to consider when it comes to CBD use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
One of the more concerning risks with consuming CBD during pregnancy is how it can affect reproductive development in male fetuses. Exposure to cannabinoids during pregnancy has been found to disrupt testicular function. CBD, in particular, negatively affects spermatozoa production, with males exposed to CBD during fetal development showing a 20% reduction in spermatozoa (12).
Another reason behind the FDA’s advice on CBD use in pregnancy is the risk of product contamination. While CBD products may list all of their ingredients, that does not account for possible compound contamination.
There have been reports of CBD products being contaminated with harmful substances that could put a developing fetus at risk. These include contaminants such as bacteria, pesticides, fungus, and heavy metals. Because CBD is often extracted from plant material that also contains THC, there is also the risk of THC contamination (13). THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis and since it can cross the placenta (14), could seriously negatively affect fetal health.
The bottom line
While CBD does hold a lot of therapeutic potential, its risks to a developing fetus make it too dangerous to use during pregnancy. The risks of reproductive damage and contamination mean that pregnant people should avoid CBD.
**Standard Disclaimer: CBD is not FDA-approved. We make no such claims that using our products will guarantee relief. Moreover, research regarding CBD is still ongoing and in the early stages.**