Can I Take CBD While Breastfeeding?

By Marc Lewis
Hollie Santos, Unsplash

CBD oil is becoming more popular each day. People are taking it for pain, anxiety, and sleep. Like THC, CBD is found in marijuana. But the two cannabinoids are very different. CBD does not get you high. It doesn’t change the user’s state of mind at all. That’s what’s making it so popular—it’s the health without the high.

But should new moms take CBD while breastfeeding?

This is a tough question to answer. There’s not a lot of conclusive research available. If you go on YouTube for advice, you’ll hear people say CBD is completely safe to take while breastfeeding. If you look around for professional medical opinions, you’ll likely find very different opinions.

That’s putting new mothers in a difficult position. Having found a natural anxiety reliever and, potentially, a natural remedy for postpartum depression, moms are wondering if CBD is safe for their babies.

Here’s a couple points to consider.

Cannabis can be passed on to the baby

One thing that may be clear is that the CBD a breastfeeding mom takes will likely be passed on to the child. When breastfeeding mothers take marijuana, the drug shows up in the urine of the child. With marijuana, experts warn that a baby may become sedated and unable to suck. CBD interacts differently in the body than THC, but also has calming effects. If you are taking a full-spectrum CBD oil, you baby may ingest some, even trace amounts, of THC. Asking if CBD is safe to take while breastfeeding is also a question of whether or not CBD is safe for babies.

Cannabis and young brains don’t mix

The effect of cannabis on young brains is another thing to consider. Research has shown that introducing marijuana to young or developing brains has risks.

We talked to Dr. Gary Wenk, professor of Psychology & Neuroscience & Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics at Ohio State University, and he was clear: “One, if you used marijuana when you’re very young, you place yourself at risk to develop psychosis as you get older. Two, if you carry a genetic vulnerability to psychosis, to depression or something, it may unmask those symptoms,” Dr. Wenk said.

However, Dr. Wenk also told us that if one wanted to study the negative impact of cannabis on people there has, historically, been plenty of research funding available. But there was less money available for researchers who want to look at the benefits of cannabis. This may speak to the largely negative opinion of marijuana in the medical community. It may be a reason to be skeptical.

However you look at it, research on cannabis is limited, and even more limited when we’re talking about children and breastfeeding moms. So while YouTube may tell you CBD is safe for your baby, it’s hard to know for sure.

Have an honest conversation with your doctor

If you are a mother who is considering CBD as a treatment for anxiety or depression after the birth of your baby, speak to a healthcare professional you trust. While literature on the subject is limited, there is enough information available for your doctor to take a position or help you find more information.

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