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CBD Oil During Pregnancy and Postpartum

We had the pleasure of hosting an amazing community class here in our area with certified herbalist Julie Pettler on CBD oil. We not only discussed facts of the hemp plant, how to choose a product should we decide to supplement with it and how it works in the body, we also shared some information and studies as they relate to pregnancy and postpartum. We had a great time learning from her and listening to anecdotal evidence from some of those in attendance. For those who missed it, here is just a brief run-down of some of what we learned and discussed:


What is CBD oil and where does it come from?

CBD oil is made from the stalk and aerial parts of the hemp plant (Genus: Cannabis; Species: Sativa). Uh oh... there's that word- Cannabis.


Is CBD oil marijuana?!?  


No, my friend. CBD oil is NOT marijuana.


Both come from the hemp plant, however CBD oil is made from industrial hemp which contains less than 0.3% of THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol which is a crystalline compound found in cannabis that is the main active ingredient responsible for the "high" feeling). Marijuana, on the other hand is hemp that is hyper-bred to contain higher amounts of THC. It typically has anywhere between 5-20% of THC.


So when you use CBD oil, you will reap the benefits of the hemp plant without the buzz. 


Did you know you have an Endocannabinoid System in your body?!


Yep, that's right, folks. There is an entire system in your body comprised of cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoid molecules and their metabolic enzymes that is crucial in helping the body maintain homeostasis. 


The endocannabinoid system helps to regulate appetite, metabolism, pain, sleep, mood, movement, temperature, memory and learning, immune function, inflammation, neural development, neuro-protection, cardiovascular function, digestion, and reproduction. 


What is in Cannabis?


Cannabis is made of cannabinoids and terpenes.


Cannabinoids- one of a class of chemical compounds that act on cannabinoid receptors in cells that alter neutrotransmitter release in the brain. 


For those of you who are a little nerdy and like science, here's a breakdown of the cannabinoids:


Cannabidiol (CBD)

  • Inhibits breakdown of anandamide (which a molecular structure similar to THC)

  • Decreases anxiety via effects on limbic and paralimbic areas of the brain

  • Stimulates serotonin receptors

  • Decreases anxiety, depression, aggression, impulsivity

  • Increases sex drive, REM, prefrontal cortex function

Cannabigerol (CBG)

  • Antagonist of CBI receptor

  • Inhibits uptake of GABA or gamma-aminobutyric acid. GABA's primary role is reducing neuronal excitability throughout the nervous system. It is also directly responsible for the regulation of muscle tone. CBG therefore reduces anxiety and mm tension).

  • Strong anti-inflammatory properties

  • Decreases pressure in glaucoma

  • Anti-depressive

  • Anti-tumor

  • Helps balance other cannabinoids

Cannabinol (CBN)

  • Sedative effects

  • Active against MRSA topically

  • May stimulate bone growth

  • Strong pain reliever

Cannabichromene (CBC)

  • May decrease inflammation and pain

  • May inhibit tumor growth

  • May increase generation of adult brain cells

  • Inhibits the breakdown of anandamide

Terpenes- extracted by steam distillation or vaporization

  • Responsible for aroma of cannabis

  • Act on receptors and neurotransmitters

  • Serotonin uptake inhibitors (like Prozac)

  • Anti-depressant

  • Increase dopamine and GABA

  • Inhibit THC's intoxicating effect

  • Increases the potential of cannabis-based medicinal extracts to treat pain, inflammation, fungal and bacterial infections, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy and cancer. 

So if CBD is so wonderful and important to our health, how have we survived so many generations without it in our diet?


We didn't. Prior to the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, hemp was grown and found across the nation. People used it in various forms, but even those who did not directly consume, the animals they ate often did so their bodies were receiving these endocannabinoids. It is important to note that these natural versions of hemp were not the super-bred versions of marijuana we often find used today which are specifically bred to have higher amounts of THC for a better high. Now, does everyone need to supplement? No. Some people naturally produce enough in their own systems naturally to maintain homeostasis, however, many of us need an extra hand. 


With the introduction of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009, the doors were opened to begin farming industrial hemp again here in America.



Ok, so what about utilizing a CBD product postpartum?


Studies show that using CBD oil during the postpartum time has the following effects:



-decreases anxiety (specifically social anxiety disorder)


-decreases all types of pain

-increases pain threshold

-decreases inflammation


-general homeostasis may lead to improved sleep (although studies are inconclusive on this as it seems to affect people differently. Approximately one-third of study participants reported they experienced better sleep, one-third reported they experienced more difficulty sleeping, and another third reported it made no impact on their sleep).

Stretch Marks:

-speeds skin healing

-decreases itching of skin



What about using CBD oil while breastfeeding?

While there are no studies showing the safety or lack of safety of using CBD oil while nursing, here is what we do know:

  • Cannabinoids are naturally present in breast milk.  

  • Endocannabinoids actually stimulate the sucking reflex and support the development of the baby

Other things to consider:

  • Studies of marijuana use in pregnancy show slightly increased chance of lower birth weight in babies and increased social behavior (happier, more interactive and had better sleep patterns)

  • Endocannabinoids are critical in the process of implantation of a fertilized embryo. 

  • CBD has been found to be an excellent alternative for treatment of seizures.

So now for the next question... 


How do I choose a good product?


There are a few things to look for when choosing a CBD oil product.


First, you want to choose an organic, full-spectrum product. Full spectrum means that the entire plant is used and extracted rather than strictly the CBD oil. All the pieces of the plant work together in a beautiful harmony and most believe the overall benefits are better when we use the entire plant rather than a small specific part of it. 


A good product should be made from the stalk and/or flower, not hemp seed. You should also be sure to look at the other ingredients and be certain there isn't unnecessary fillers in it.


Your product should also be free of heavy metals and solvents. Check your company and how they harvest their product. How the product is harvested and made is important- and legitimate companies will be open about how their product is made. 


Also consider if you want a product that is mostly CBD or has more variety of other cannabinoids. 


There you have it! It's a lot of information to take in, but we hit the high points here for you. We hope this information serves you well💜



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