Move over ashwagandha and coconut oil; there’s a new superstar in town — CBD.
Touted for its ability to ease pain, induce sleep, and even boost immunity, the naturally occurring compound has been making major waves in the health and wellness industry.
Often hailed as a natural cure-all for all sorts of things under the sun, we’re not surprised that the buzz surrounding this cannabinoid is at an all-time high.
Not to mention the number of CBD-infused products you can get your hands on almost feels as though it grows more and more daily; there’s no denying that CBD is all the rage these days.
Found in skincare products and cosmetics, as well as cocktails, coffee drinks, and chocolates, the coveted compound can be used in a myriad of ways — but is it safe for women to use during pregnancy? We’ll explain.
But First, What Exactly Is CBD Anyway?
CBD — aka cannabidiol — is a naturally-occurring compound extracted from the Cannabis sativa plant. Unlike its infamous cousin, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not produce psychotropic effects.
In other words, it can’t get you “high.” As a result, CBD products are sold as a way to enjoy the calming effects of marijuana without the psychoactive effects.
Pro Tip: If you want to ensure that your CBD product doesn't contain any traces of THC, opt for CBD isolate as opposed to broad-spectrum or full-spectrum CBD. This is the pure form of cannabidiol and contains no other cannabis plant compounds — including THC.
Hold Up — Is CBD Legal?
The short answer? It depends.
In the United States, legal CBD products are predominantly derived from the hemp plant — a species of the Sativa marijuana plant. A key difference between this plant and cannabis is that hemp contains 0.3 percent or less THC (the stuff that gets you high).
You see, cannabis contains more THC and less CBD, whereas hemp contains more CBD and less THC. So, if you purchase CBD that comes from the hemp plant (which has less than 0.3 percent THC) and live in a state where the beloved cannabinoid is legal — you are in full abidance of the law.
Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, which removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act, purchasing CBD is federally legal as long as it doesn't contain more than 0.3 percent THC. This means hemp-derived CBD products that contain more than 0.3 percent THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them illegal on the federal level but legal under some state laws.
In other words, if you're looking to use the coveted cannabinoid to manage pain, check your state regulations first to avoid getting in trouble with the law.
What Are the Benefits of CBD?
The reported health benefits of CBD cover a wide range of medical conditions and ailments. It’s most commonly used to treat chronic pain, inflammation, insomnia, and tension.
One recent study showed that the non-psychoactive compound might relieve aches and pains by influencing receptors of the endocannabinoid system — which helps regulate discomfort, mood, and memory, in addition to many other cognitive and physiological functions.
While research surrounding CBD is still ongoing, the compound may help to:
- Support healthy skin
- Ease tension
- Reduce stress
- Boost digestion
- Support emotional well-being
- Alleviate discomfort
- Combat insomnia
How Does CBD Combat Pain?
The human body contains a specialized system called the endocannabinoid system — this incredibly essential system is involved in regulating a number of vital functions, including:
- Pain sensation
- Immune system response
Although much more research is needed, some experts believe CBD interacts with a core component of this all-important system — endocannabinoid receptors in your brain and immune system.
What are receptors, you ask? Simply put, receptors are itty-bitty proteins attached to your cells that receive signals from different stimuli and help your cells respond. This response is thought to create anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects that help with pain management.
What Do Experts Say About Using CBD When Pregnant?
After learning about the incredible potential benefits of CBD, it’s easy to see why cannabidiol may be of interest to those who are pregnant.
Relief from pelvic pain, cramps, and nausea? Taking CBD during pregnancy sounds like a no-brainer — but is it safe?
Here’s the deal, despite how amazing CBD may sound, experts do not consider the compound safe to use when pregnant.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strongly warns pregnant women and nurses against using any cannabis product — including cannabidiol — saying they could pose serious risks to the developing fetus or nursing baby.
Why Is CBD Considered Risky Business During Pregnancy?
Although cannabidiol has been around for a number of years, there’s still not enough research to say with 100 percent certainty that it’s safe to use while pregnant.
So, as with many questionable ingredients that may harm the fetus (like retinol, parabens, and formaldehyde), experts say to avoid them.
With this in mind, here are some of the reasons why medical professionals recommend not using CBD during pregnancy:
- CBD products can be contaminated with things that are not safe for the healthy development of a fetus — like THC. According to research, tetrahydrocannabinol may cause congenital disabilities and abnormalities and raise the risk of stillbirth or premature birth.
In addition to THC, the FDA has received recent reports of CBD products being contaminated with other things, like pesticides, bacteria, heavy metals, and fungus — all of which are not good for you or your tot.
- CBD may lead to liver damage, appetite changes, diarrhea, and extreme sleepiness.
- Using cannabidiol while pregnant could have harmful interactions with certain medications.
- CBD could affect embryo implantation and lead to miscarriages.
- Cannabinoids — such as CBD and THC — can cause brain and facial birth defects if used during the first trimester.
- Research on the effects of CBD use during pregnancy is very limited.
One day in the future, we may have new evidence supporting the use of CBD during pregnancy, but until that time, it’s best to opt for products that are known not to put you or your precious tot at risk.
Any Tips To Soothe Pregnancy Pains Safely?
You might not be able to use CBD to soothe your aches while carrying a bun in the oven, but that doesn’t mean you have to be miserable for the entirety of your pregnancy.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help make your pregnancy a little more enjoyable:
Tip #1: Consume Healthy Amounts of Ginger
An ancient remedy that has been proven to help with nausea and vomiting, ginger is an excellent remedy for morning sickness. Relieve symptoms by making ginger tea from a slice of the fresh root steeped in hot water, or talk to your doctor about taking a ginger supplement.
Tip #2: Use Safe Magnesium Products
During pregnancy, you're much more likely to experience a magnesium deficiency, which can lead to a number of not-so-wonderful symptoms like restless legs, cramps, and lower back pain.
Fortunately, supplementing this essential nutrient can usually do the trick to keep these pesky aches and pains at bay, but for quick relief, we recommend using magnesium oils or magnesium lotion. Why? Because many studies have shown that magnesium absorbs better transdermally (aka through our skin) vs. when we take it orally.
A soon-to-be mom’s best friend, magnesium can work wonders to help prevent restless leg syndrome and cramps. Because it’s readily absorbed into the body, the best way to benefit from this essential mineral is by applying a magnesium-rich lotion-like 8 Sheep Organic’s Sleepy Body Lotion — directly to your areas of discomfort.
Made from 100 percent organic ingredients, our Organic Sleepy Body Lotion is a dream. It not only helps to prevent restless legs and painful cramps, but it works to promote deeper, more restful sleep, too.
Simply apply one to three teaspoons of lotion onto any areas of pain and hop into bed for a good night’s sleep!
Tip #3: Relax in the Bath
If you ask us, there's just about nothing better than a nice soak in the tub — especially during pregnancy. Not only is a bath oh-so relaxing, but the warm (not hot!) water provides a natural way to soothe some of the most common pregnancy discomforts while offering a great way to relax, unwind, and get some much-needed "me" time. Consult your healthcare provider for medical advice about safely taking warm baths while pregnant.
Whether you’re experiencing aches and pains or swollen feet, a relaxing soak in the tub is sure to help. For an extra boost of relaxation, we recommend tossing in a few sprinkles of our Therapeutic Bath Salts into the water to help relieve tension and stress.
Made with a healthy blend of epsom salts, himalayan pink salt, natural sea salts, and plant-based essential oils, these naturally therapeutic salts are unbelievably soothing — perfect for any mom-to-be who needs a little TLC.
Tip #4: Try Chamomile
Is your sour stomach putting a damper on your ability to sleep? Try our Organic Bedtime Tea. This calming pregnancy-safe blend is made with chamomile, a strong anti-inflammatory with muscle relaxant and antibacterial properties.
To brew, simply steep one teaspoon of loose tea per eight ounces of hot water for up to four minutes. For a bit of sweetness, add honey to taste.
Tip #5: Practice Prenatal Yoga
A movement-based flexibility and strength practice with roots in ancient India, yoga is one of the most popular techniques for pain relief.
To manage your pain, look for a prenatal yoga class in your area. This gentle form of exercise and mediation is an excellent way for moms-to-be to maintain a healthy mind and body.
Designed specifically for pregnant women, prenatal yoga addresses the concerns of expecting mothers and helps prepare them for birth and postpartum recovery.
Tip #6: Get a Rub Down
Recruit your S.O. to give you a nice massage to help relax your achy-breaky muscles and joints. The handiwork will also help your tired body release chemicals (aka endorphins) and get your mind off the pain by boosting feelings of relaxation.
You can also make an appointment with a masseuse or chiropractor to get a prenatal massage. These full-body massages aim to relax tense muscles, ease sore joints, and improve circulation. Just be sure to opt for a certified specialist with plenty of experience working with pregnant patients to ensure your safety and comfort!
So, is CBD safe to use during pregnancy?
Simply put, no — experts highly advise women to steer clear of any cannabis products (including CBD) when pregnant because it could be dangerous for you and your little one.
While much more research is needed, the FDA warns that using CBD during pregnancy may lead to liver damage, appetite changes, fatigue, and diarrhea.
Recent studies also show that CBD may be contaminated with potentially harmful ingredients, like THC, pesticides, heavy metals, mold, and bacteria. When pregnant, these icky substances can negatively impact the development of your small bundle and even lead to premature birth or stillbirth.
At the end of the day, the choice is yours to make about using CBD, but if you’re looking for a few natural remedies that can safely ease some of your pregnancy symptoms, you can rest easy knowing that there are many.
For example, if you can’t seem to get the sleep you need, 8 Sheep Organic’s Sleepy Body Lotion just might be able to help. This mom-approved and pregnancy-safe formula is made with clean ingredients — like natural magnesium — designed to prevent restless legs and cramps for a deeper and more restful snooze.
For any questions about specific ingredients and their safety while pregnant, don’t hesitate to reach out to your OBGYN or midwife.