CBD has achieved cult status amongst health enthusiasts, but there’s still a lot we don’t understand about how this compound interacts with the human body.
On the topic of taking CBD oil while breastfeeding, the medical community is very clear: pregnant, and breastfeeding parents should not be using CBD products.
In February 2020, the Food Standards Agency set out guidelines for CBD businesses, instructing them to provide more information about the contents of their products.
This was accompanied by guidelines for a suggested maximum daily dose of 70mg of CBD per day for healthy adults.
In particular, the Food Standards agency points to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers as being particularly vulnerable.
As a result, the guidelines state that they should not consume any products containing CBD.
What's in this Guide?
Is It Safe To Take CBD Oil While Breastfeeding?
We simply don’t know if it is safe or not to use CBD while breastfeeding, but early research suggests that it could be detrimental to a child’s development.
For example, studies in pregnant mice found that CBD caused problems in the reproductive system of developing male fetuses.
A 2011 study found that cannabis exposure during pregnancy led to neurological and behavioural problems in children.
And another study from 2016 found that prenatal cannabis exposure led to adverse outcomes such as low birth weight, preterm birth, and placement in a neonatal intensive care unit.
And finally, a 2013 study found that CBD use during pregnancy could lead to changes in the physiological characteristics in the placenta. However, it’s worth noting that this was the only study of the three that looked purely at CBD exposure.
The others focused on CBD and THC combined.
While CBD and cannabis are not the same, these studies still make medical professionals cautious about recommending CBD for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
When it comes to children, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
And in the face of limited knowledge, avoiding CBD products while breastfeeding seems like the easier option.
Does CBD Show Up In Breast Milk?
Another difficulty faced by researchers attempting to determine the safety of using CBD while breastfeeding is that it is very difficult to detect in breast milk.
CBD is a fat-soluble compound, which means it is difficult to detect in breast milk, which is also full of fats.
The majority of research into cannabinoid use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding focuses on THC.
Since these studies highlight the dangers of THC, this doesn’t give much hope that CBD will be any safer.
The Role Of Endocannabinoids In Breastfeeding
Interestingly, endocannabinoids appear to play a pivotal role in breastfeeding. Breast milk contains endocannabinoids, which are the cannabinoids produced in the body. These help to encourage suckling during neonatal development.
This development has led researchers to conclude that a lack of endocannabinoids could lead to a nonorganic failure-to-thrive disorder.
This is when a child displays poor growth with no known medical condition.
It’s important to remember the distinction between endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids occur naturally in the body, while phytocannabinoids can be found in plants.
Phytocannabinoids may have some structural similarities, but they are not the same thing.
Therefore, there is no reason to believe that supplementing the mother with phytocannabinoids will help to support the infant.
How Long After Taking CBD Can I Breastfeed?
Anyone hoping to be able to use the “pump and dump” approach will also be disappointed. Similar studies of THC found that it was still present in breast milk six days after exposure.
For this reason, it isn’t worth the risk of exposure.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should steer clear of all products containing CBD.
Is CBD Harmful To Babies?
We simply don’t know what impact CBD could have on a babies development.
Therefore, the medical community advises against pregnant or breastfeeding women using CBD due to the unknown effects on infants.
It isn’t only the CBD content that could be potentially hazardous. There is also the risk of THC contamination.
In addition, less reputable CBD brands may not disclose the actual THC content, which could be potentially dangerous.
There is also the risk of contamination by pesticides, heavy metals and microbes.
This can occur as the result of poor production procedures, and poor hygiene produces during manufacturing.
How Long Does CBD Stay In Your System?
CBD can stay in your system for 2 to 5 days, with some suggesting that it could remain detectable after five days. A high concentration dose of CBD oil could last for up to 15 days.
Parents may sometimes choose to “pump and dump” the day after they have consumed alcohol to help protect the child, but this doesn’t work the same for CBD.
The compound could still be present in the body for days after the initial exposure.
What Alternative Remedies Are Available?
New mums need a lot of extra support to stay healthy and happy after giving birth.
If you are turning to CBD to help with symptoms of anxiety, you may need to find an alternative method until you have stopped breastfeeding.
The four most common remedies for postpartum anxiety that are safe to use when breastfeeding are:
- Passiflora incarnata (Passionflower)
- Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha)
- Scutellaria (Skullcap), and
- Eleutherococcus (Eleuthro)
These herbal remedies may help to manage symptoms of anxiety without risking your child’s health.
Once you have stopped breastfeeding, it should be safe to continue using your favourite CBD products – provided they do not interact with any medications you might be taking.
Your tolerance to CBD may have changed after childbirth, so we recommend starting from scratch with your dosing regimen.
Start low and increase slowly while paying close attention to how the CBD makes you feel.
New mums may be more susceptible to certain side effects such as drowsiness. If you’re already sleep-deprived, taking CBD oil could make you feel more sleepy during the day.
If in doubt, always consult with your pharmacist or GP before adding any supplements to your routine.