Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is quickly becoming popular in the health and wellness realm. It’s one of over 120 cannabinoids, or chemicals, found in the cannabis plant, and its list of potential benefits continues to grow. With more people turning to CBD to relieve various physical and mental health symptoms, you might be wondering about using CBD during pregnancy. After all, it’s a natural, plant-based substance. Those facts aside, experts do not consider CBD safe to use during pregnancy. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strongly warns pregnant and nursing women against using any cannabis product, including CBD, saying they could pose serious risks to the fetus or a nursing baby.
Why CBD is Considered Unsafe
CBD doesn’t produce the “high” you might associate with cannabis. Therefore, you might assume this makes CBD safe to use during pregnancy, but experts still recommend avoiding it entirely. Research around CBD and pregnancy is very limited, but the results of these studies have prompted some concerns. A 2019 study found that fetal exposure to cannabinoids could affect immune system development and possibly weaken the body’s ability to defend against cancer and infections. That said, the study referred to cannabinoids in general rather than specifically focusing on CBD. The study authors also noted that cannabinoids mainly work by binding to CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body. They went on to explain, though, that both THC and CBD can also bind to other receptors, which could have other developmental or health consequences during pregnancy and nursing. Future research may help shed more light on possible risks of CBD use during pregnancy or while nursing.
Talk to Your Doctor
There’s no doubt that pregnancy can cause plenty of physical discomfort. Symptoms such as nausea, pain, anxiety, and insomnia are not unheard of and can linger throughout pregnancy. It’s always best to share any symptoms you experience with your doctor, along with any questions you might have about medications to avoid during pregnancy. Your doctor can help you find safe treatments and home remedies to help ease pregnancy-related discomfort. Keeping them updated on your symptoms can also help them recognize signs of more serious health complications early on. That goes for mental health symptoms, too. You might prefer to avoid prescription antidepressants during pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave symptoms of anxiety, depression, or other emotional distress untreated. A therapist can offer support and guidance on safe treatment options during pregnancy.
The Bottom Line
You might feel tempted to turn to CBD to help ease the pain and discomfort associated with pregnancy, but for the moment, experts caution against using any cannabis product during pregnancy. Your healthcare professional can offer more recommendations for safe alternatives to manage medical and mental health symptoms during pregnancy.