Pregnant and nursing moms should avoid CBD products—here’s why

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CBD products been gaining a lot of attention lately. Known as cannabis without the effects of THC, CBD has many health benefits that some moms find attractive.

For instance, CBD oil to help ease anxiety and reduce inflammation. For pregnant moms, that can sound great after a long day walking on swollen feet! But despite these benefits, pregnant and nursing moms should avoid using CBD products. Here’s why.

What are the dangers of using CBD when pregnant?

According to the Food and Drug Administration, prenatal exposure to CBD and THC can impact growth, behavior, and neurodevelopment. New research from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine has also made some discoveries. They’ve found that cannabis, when used in early pregnancy, can cause issues similar to those caused by fetal alcohol syndrome.

Researchers gave cannabinoids to pregnant mice and synthetic cannabinoids to zebrafish. Both had the same results: growth deformations during pregnancy.

These studies may have been performed on animals rather than pregnant moms and critics might find issues comparing the two. But animal tests have historically been reliable in medical trials. We might not have the flu vaccinations we do without tests like these. Still, it’s easy for critics to have trouble seeing how zebrafish tests are an indicator of CBD effects on human pregnancies. However, experts say the best course of action is to abstain from CBD products the same way you would abstain from alcohol.

What can I use aside from CBD?

People turn to CBD oil for many reasons including anxiety, chronic pain, inflammation, stress, and depression. In fact, compared to the 500,000 people living with Parkinson’s disease, there are over 350 million people in the world who have some form of depression. Up to 50% of those who have depression (including moms) in the U.S. don’t seek treatment.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many effective alternatives to CBD products that are safe for pregnant and nursing moms. Alternatives such as ginger root, peony, clove oil, magnolia, and Echinacea can be dangerous in high doses and might increase the risk of miscarriage.

Black pepper is the only safe CBD alternative for pregnant and nursing moms. Black pepper binds with the brain’s CB2 receptors, which are responsible for moderating inflammation and pain. It’s often used to help treat arthritis and osteoporosis.

Black pepper aside, it’s important that you talk to a mental health professional if you’re experiencing depression or anxiety, especially as a pregnant or nursing mom. There are different treatment options, like behavioral therapies and medication, that can help. Your doctor can also recommend exercises and treatments that can help to reduce inflammation, pain, and morning sickness.

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