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Products that contain THC and CBD shouldn’t be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women, as per the new warning issued by the FDA.
CBD has become extremely popular in the market because of the numerous benefits it has to offer to the human body. Because of this reason, researchers are constantly trying to understand how THC or CBD can be ingested in different ways. Its effect on a developing infant is also currently studied.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning where it advises against the use of marijuana of any kind, especially products that contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) when women are pregnant or breastfeeding.
The recent times have made CBD products extremely popular, especially in the West. With more and more states legalizing the use of marijuana, items containing THC (a powerful psychoactive ingredient) are also becoming immensely popular.
Understanding CBD and THC
Many people say that both CBD and THC are known to offer a varied range of benefits, including treatment of inflammation, insomnia, acne, anxiety, and depression.
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The industry is growing rapidly, but the effects aren’t clearly understood by researchers yet. It is particularly true for women who are breastfeeding or pregnant, as the risks seem to outweigh the benefits.
Dr. Jennifer Conti, a well-known OB-GYN from Stanford Health Care, mentioned that there are a lot of aspects regarding the potential health effects of the compounds that aren’t understood, especially when it comes to lactating and pregnant individuals. Until more research is conducted in this area, people need to proceed with caution.
Risks Associated with CBD and THC
As per the FDA, there are a few potential risks of taking CBD and THC when taken by women who are breastfeeding or pregnant.
The FDA cautioned that THC has the potential to enter the brain of the fetus through the mother’s bloodstream. Therefore, there is a possibility of brain development issues because of the presence of THC. It could also increase the chances of stillbirth, premature birth, low birth weight, and so on.
If THC is exposed to the baby through breastmilk, there could again be issues with regards to brain development, ultimately causing poor cognitive function and hyperactivity.
There aren’t many research studies available to study the impact of CBD on newborns and growing fetuses. However, that doesn’t discount the risks.
Animal studies were able to show that high doses of CBD could impair the male fetuses’ reproductive systems in pregnant animals.
In addition, several medications could be passed to the babies through the breastmilk; the FDA is worried about the possibility of passing CBD through the mother’s breastmilk.
The FDA also suspects the contamination of many CBD products by other kinds of harmful chemicals like heavy metals, fungus, bacteria, pesticides, and so on. All of these have the potential to harm the baby or fetus.
Dr. Jennifer Hirshfeld-Crytron from the fertility Centers of Illinois mentioned that the market has many safe alternatives for pregnant women. Until the CBD industry does its homework, it is better for nursing and pregnant women to avoid these products.
She suggests that nursing and pregnant women should try acupuncture and other safe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) for treating depression and pain rather than relying on cannabis.
The Nature of CBD Regulation
The FDA doesn’t regulate CBD, which in itself is a massive red flag, as warned by experts.
The compound doesn’t necessarily require approval in order to go live in the market. Therefore, the products being sold are pretty much a mystery to health officials.
They aren’t aware of the efficacy and safety features associated with the use of CBD, especially when it comes to treating various ailments. They are also not are of the right dosage if there is any. Its interaction with other foods and drugs should also be something that cannot be ignored.
In addition, researchers are trying to figure out the dangerous side effects associated with the use of CBD. Certain studies have shown that it could result in extreme sleepiness, liver toxicity, and harmful interactions with other medicines, as per the FDA.
As per Conti, more research on the area of breastfeeding, postpartum, pregnancy, and preconception is necessary to state anything conclusively.
The Need for More Research
It is important to note that researchers are also interested in finding out the hidden benefits that these two compounds have to provide, especially in dealing with menstrual pain. However, this area is still largely unstudied.
Dr. Kecia Gaither, the director of perinatal services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln, mentioned that there isn’t any real human study available that evaluates the effect of cannabis on the relation between the mother and fetus, including breastfeeding. Unfortunately, there isn’t any ethical way to do so.
There are animal studies available; however, it would be incorrect to apply its findings to humans.
Ultimately, it is essential for breastfeeding women, pregnant women, and women in the preconceptual period to avoid the use of any form of cannabis product in order to prevent any adverse perinatal outcome.
The FDA speaks about the potential risks that could occur from the use of THC and CBD in women who are breastfeeding or pregnant. Some of these issues include stillbirth, premature birth, brain development issues, and long-term behavioural issues.