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can you take cbd oil while pregnant

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

What You Should Know About Using Cannabis, Including CBD, When Pregnant or Breastfeeding

FDA strongly advises against the use of cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and marijuana in any form during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

A mother holding an infant, a pregnant woman holding baby shoes, a marijuana leaf and the letters CBD and the word WARNING

Cannabis and Cannabis-derived products have become increasingly available in recent years, with new and different types of products appearing all the time. These products raise questions and concerns for many consumers. And if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you might have even more questions about whether these products are safe for you.

FDA strongly advises against the use of cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and marijuana in any form during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

What are cannabis, marijuana, hemp, THC and CBD?

Cannabis is a plant of the Cannabaceae family and contains more than eighty biologically active chemical compounds. The most commonly known compounds are THC and CBD. One type of cannabis plant is marijuana, which contains varying levels of THC, the compound that produces the “high” that is often associated with marijuana. Another type of cannabis plant is hemp. Hemp plants contain extremely low amounts of THC. CBD, which does not produce a “high,” can be derived from either marijuana or hemp.

We are now seeing CBD-containing products everywhere. CBD can be found in many different products, like drugs, foods, products marketed as dietary supplements, and cosmetics. These products often make questionable health promises about CBD.

FDA wants you to know there may be serious risks to using cannabis products, including those containing CBD, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

What do we know about the effects of marijuana use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding?

There are many potential negative health effects from using marijuana and other products containing THC during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. In fact, the U.S. Surgeon General recently advised consumers that marijuana use during pregnancy may affect fetal brain development, because THC can enter the fetal brain from the mother’s bloodstream. The Surgeon General also advised that marijuana may increase the risk of a newborn with low birth weight. Research also suggests increased risk for premature birth and potentially stillbirth 1 .

While breastfeeding, it is important to know that breastmilk can contain THC for up to six days after use. This THC may affect a newborn’s brain development and result in hyperactivity, poor cognitive function, and other long-term consequences.

Additionally, marijuana smoke contains many of the same harmful components as tobacco smoke. Neither marijuana nor tobacco products should be smoked around a baby or children.

What do we know about the effects of CBD use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding?

There is no comprehensive research studying the effects of CBD on the developing fetus, pregnant mother, or breastfed baby. FDA is continuing to collect and study the data on the possible harmful effects of CBD during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. However, based on what we do know, there is significant cause for concern.

High doses of CBD in pregnant test animals have caused problems with the reproductive system of developing male fetuses 2 . In addition, based on what we already know about CBD, we expect that some amount of CBD will be transferred to babies through breast milk.

We also know that there is a potential for CBD products to be contaminated with substances that may pose a risk to the fetus or breastfed baby, including THC. We have also heard reports of CBD potentially containing other contaminants (e.g., pesticides, heavy metals, bacteria, and fungus); we are investigating this.

Moreover, CBD has known risks for people in general. Based on clinical studies in humans, risks can include the following:

  • liver toxicity (damage)
  • extreme sleepiness
  • harmful interactions with other drugs

FDA is studying the effects of CBD use from different angles, such as: (1) the use of CBD-containing products, like food, cosmetics, or supplements, over a person’s entire life; and (2) the effects of using these various products in combination. There are many unanswered questions about the science, safety, and quality of products containing CBD.

We especially want to learn more about the effects of CBD during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, including, for example, whether and to what extent the presence of CBD in human milk harms the breastfed baby or the mother’s milk production.

Has FDA approved any CBD products and are there any benefits?

FDA has not approved any CBD products except for one prescription drug to treat rare, severe forms of seizure disorders in children. It is still unclear whether CBD has any other benefits.

Other than the one approved prescription drug, CBD products have not been evaluated or approved by FDA for use as drug products. This means that we do not know:

  • if they are safe and effective to treat a particular disease
  • what, if any, dosage may be considered safe
  • how they could interact with other drugs or foods
  • whether they have dangerous side effects or other safety concerns

The clinical studies that supported the approval of the one available CBD drug product identified risks related to the use of CBD, including liver toxicity (damage), extreme sleepiness, and harmful interactions with other drugs.

What about hemp seeds?

FDA recently completed an evaluation of some hemp seed-derived food ingredients and had no objections to the use of these ingredients in foods. THC and CBD are found mainly in hemp flowers, leaves, and stems, not in hemp seeds. Hemp seeds can pick up miniscule amounts of THC and CBD from contact with other plant parts, but these amounts are low enough to not raise concerns for any group, including pregnant or breastfeeding mothers.

What should you remember about using cannabis or cannabis-derived products?

If you are considering using cannabis, or any products containing THC or CBD, you should be aware of the following:

  • FDA strongly advises that during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, you avoid using CBD, THC, or marijuana in any form.
  • Although many of these products are being sold, FDA has not approved these products, other than one prescription CBD drug product and two prescription drug products containing dronabinol, a synthetic version of THC (which are approved to treat certain side effects of HIV-AIDS or chemotherapy). All three of these prescription products have associated risks and side effects.
  • Always talk with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist before taking any medicines, vitamins, or herbs while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Do not put yourself or your baby at risk by using cannabis products while pregnant or breastfeeding. Check out these links to learn more about cannabis, marijuana, CBD, and THC, and about taking medicines while you are pregnant.

FDA strongly advises against the use of cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and marijuana in any form during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

CBD While Pregnant

The FDA strongly advises against taking cannabidiol (CBD) while pregnant or breastfeeding, as there is not enough research to support its safety.

As the content manager at Advanced Recovery Systems, Melissa Carmona puts years of writing and editing. read more

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When a woman becomes pregnant, everything she comes into contact with can potentially affect her fetus. While there are several beneficial products that women can take, such as prenatal vitamins, other substances negatively impact the fetus. These can include certain types of foods, prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and illegal substances.

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IS CBD Safe for Pregnant Women?

CBD , also known as cannabidiol, is a compound found within the cannabis plant. Although there is not enough research outlining the beneficial or negative effects of CBD, many people around the world use it for therapeutic purposes. Unlike another common compound found in cannabis (THC), CBD does not provide mind-altering effects.

If you are wondering if you can take CBD oil while pregnant, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strongly advises against taking CBD while pregnant or breastfeeding. There does not yet exist a strong body of research around CBD during pregnancy. Taking CBD while pregnant can pose some harmful risks for babies in the womb. Until the FDA can study more data and answer questions surrounding CBD products and their effects on pregnant and nursing mothers, taking CBD is not recommended.

While using CBD is thought to be safer than smoking cannabis itself or THC-rich products, this does not mean it is safe for pregnant women.

The Effects of CBD on a Fetus

There is a lack of conclusive data to determine the effects of CBD hemp oil on a fetus. To avoid the potential risks on human babies, the few studies conducted on this subject have been on animals.

In one study , CBD exposure in the womb has neurobehavioral consequences. A growing fetus is equipped with an endocannabinoid system (all humans are). Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors and seem to help with early neuron development and cell survival. Artificially manipulating that system early in development had a long-lasting impact on the animal subjects’ brains.

In another study conducted on pregnant mice, CBD doses led to reproductive problems for male fetuses throughout their lives. It is important to note that the results of animal studies may not be transferable to human subjects, so more research is needed.

If you have any questions about using substances or medications while pregnant, including CBD, you should always speak with your doctor before trying anything new. Your doctor can determine if the potential benefits of a particular medication outweigh the risks of using the product during pregnancy.

If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance abuse disorder, seek professional help right away. The Recovery Village has several treatment options for those who are looking to live healthier, substance-free lives. You can find treatment programs in your specific area here .

  • Sources

Schneider, Miriam. “ Cannabis use in pregnancy and early life and its consequences: animal models. ” European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, July 2, 2009. Accessed June 25, 2020.

Dalterio, SL; deRooij, DG. “ Maternal Cannabinoid Exposure. Effects on Spermatogenesis in Male Offspring. ” International Journal of Andrology, August 1986. Accessed June 25, 2020.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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When a woman becomes pregnant, everything she comes into contact with can potentially affect her fetus. Learn why taking CBD is not recommended while pregnant.