CBD for Postpartum Depression: Is It Safe?

By Harris Wheless
Mathilde Langevin, Unsplash

About 85% of women experience some kind of mood disturbance after giving birth. For many, this comes in the form of postpartum depression and anxiety, or baby blues. New mothers can endure fear, anxiety, chronic pain, insomnia, and other physical changes that may lead to mental health issues.

Some antidepressants and prescription drugs can have side effects like mood swings that can make you feel even worse. Fortunately, there are other options. Many mothers have started to use CBD as an alternative treatment for symptoms that arise during pregnancy and early childcare.

But the CBD market is a confusing and rapidly changing space. To help you on your journey to a better mothering experience, we’ve put together a guide that explains everything you need to know about CBD for postpartum depression.

What you need to know about CBD

Cannabis products have become extremely popular with people all over the U.S.—and not just in states where marijuana is legalized. If that statement has you scratching your head, let’s give you a little background on the different forms of cannabis.

The plant can be divided into two categories: marijuana and hemp, which can be distinguished from one another by their THC content. Marijuana, the Schedule 1 controlled substance that is still illegal in many states, has high THC levels. Hemp, however, has lower THC concentrations that make up less than 0.3% of the plant’s compounds.

THC and CBD are both cannabinoids, or a type of compound found in cannabis. But unlike THC, CBD has no psychoactive effects, so it can’t get you high. And while studies have shown that THC can be passed to a baby through the mother’s breast milk, research suggests that CBD doesn’t have any such effects.

CBD products that are widely available across the U.S. use extracts derived from the hemp plant and will contain little to no THC. For those concerned with using CBD while breastfeeding, you may want to try CBD isolate, which only contains CBD and no other cannabis compounds.

Is CBD safe to take while pregnant?

If you have postpartum anxiety or depression and are considering taking CBD to mitigate some of your symptoms, make sure you consult a doctor before doing so. Also keep in mind that CBD has not been approved or evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition.

If you’re taking any prescription medication for a pre-existing medical condition, you should consult with a physician about possible drug-on-drug interactions. It helps to get advice from a healthcare professional who knows your medical history and can perhaps recommend the product type and dosage that will work best for you.

With CBD, it’s generally good to dose low and work your way up incrementally to a place that feels right to you. While there is a lot of positive anecdotal evidence about using CBD while pregnant, not many studies have been done because of the risks involved in using pregnant or nursing women as subjects.

In addition to talking to a doctor, it’s a good idea to do your own research and find a trustworthy brand with products that offer the kind of relief you’re looking for. The World Health Organization has said “CBD is generally well-tolerated with a good safety profile.” Despite its minimal side effects, it’s better to be cautious and measured in your approach when considering postpartum treatments.

How CBD may offer relief

The benefits of CBD are extensive and can go a long way towards helping your body regulate itself, which can ultimately improve your mood, emotional state, and energy levels. Many women have found success using these kinds of products to fight nausea, sleeplessness, and inflammation.

If you decide to use CBD for quick relief of symptoms like nausea and sleep-deprivation, a vape will probably be the best fit since it allows CBD to enter the bloodstream almost immediately. For something that you can take consistently, a longer-lasting product like CBD oil or a capsule might work better.

CBD creams or topicals are rubbed onto the skin and generally don’t penetrate through this barrier to effectively enter the bloodstream, so they are considered by some to be less risky for new mothers to use. They also tend to work great on localized pain areas to reduce inflammation and irritation.

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