Compared to its other, more well established health benefits, CBD’s effects on pregnant women remain less quantified. 1 Research has given mixed reviews and has been spread thin across many topics, many of them THC related.
This research has generated various hypotheses as to why cannabinoids might be harmful to developing babies. Yet these proposals have, for the most part, been extrapolated from one or two known biological mechanisms, required theoretical reasoning to reach their conclusions, and been in danger of missing the forest for one or two possibly pre-selected ‘trees’.
For this reason, studies that look at the whole picture give us a clearer indication of CBD’s effects on pregnancy and fetal development than anything else. In the early 90’s, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) selected Melanie Dreher, PHD, to head a study that they hoped would highlights cannabis’ dangers to fetal development.2 She conducted a five year long study on the use of cannabis among pregnant Jamaican mothers.
Participants were divided into two groups; one group abstained from cannabis, while the other did not, using ‘ganja’ in accordance with cultural tradition both before, during, and after the birth.
The results were surprising, at least to the NIDA, who eventually cut funding. It was observed that infants with ‘using’ mothers developed faster and with better motor control than those who didn’t receive any exogenous assistance. 3
When it comes to CBD, there are other benefits to consider, too. CBD has proven helpful in alleviating some of pregnancies most difficult aspects, including nausea and morning sickness,4 swelling, immune suppression, discomfort, and pain during contractions. 5
Looking ahead to after the birthing experience, it’s likely that CBD’s effects as a regulator of endogenous antioxidant levels 6 and the Endocannabinoid System as a whole directly benefit nursing mothers. Anandamide levels are already present in breastmilk, a feature that CBD is likely to help regulate and even ‘improve’. Mothers who find CBD beneficial to their existence are likely to find it safe and beneficial during and after their pregnancies, too.
- KS Grant, “Cannabis use during pregnancy: Pharmacokinetics and effects on child development”, February 2018, Volume 182
- MC Dreher, “Prenatal marijuana exposure and neonatal outcomes in Jamaica: an ethnographic study”, February 1994
- JS Hayes, “Five-year follow-up of rural Jamaican children whose mothers used marijuana during pregnancy”, September 1991
- KA Sharkey, “Regulation of nausea and vomiting by cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system”, January 5 2014
- JJ Morrison, “Effects of abnormal cannabidiol on oxytocin-induced myometrial contractility”, January 12 2010
- AJ Hanson, “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants”, April 21 1998