Author: Luke Sholl
Consuming CBD every day is commonplace, with many users taking it as part of their daily routine along with supplements and vitamins. However, does CBD pose any risk or side effects to mother or child during the breastfeeding process? Keep reading to find out all you need to know about taking CBD while breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding can no doubt be one of the most important times of a newborn's life. Not only providing a means of feeding, breast milk can also protect a baby from infection, disease, and can even promote growth. Breastfeeding is also responsible for strengthening the emotional bond between mother and child.
As we know, breastfeeding is a natural part of life, and all female mammals are capable of producing milk in the mammary gland. But, how does breastfeeding work? Taking a look at how milk is produced can give us some answers on how the substances mothers consume, including CBD, can potentially impact the milk itself.
Initially, the body produces milk as a hormonally driven need, especially during pregnancy and the first few days of the postpartum period. This is controlled by what is known as the endocrine control system (ECS—not to be confused with the endocannabinoid system). This system consists of a series of glands and organs that monitor and regulate bodily functions.
The ECS also creates colostrum—the first milk a mother produces—which is highly concentrated with both immune cells and antibodies. Colostrum gives the baby its first nutrients to ensure the healthiest start to life.
After the initial production of colostrum, the body then produces regular breast milk, which contains a higher amount of fat, lactose, vitamins, and a host of other essential proteins. In the first few months of breastfeeding, the production of milk is driven by the hormone prolactin. Eventually, the body becomes accustomed to this daily demand, producing milk in a much more mechanical way. Throughout the process, the breast milk's content is highly influenced by the mother's food, drink, and other substance intake.
The production of milk relies on a healthy and balanced diet to ensure the highest quality. While food consumed by the mother can influence flavour, certain medications, drugs, and alcohol can severely impact the quality of the milk produced, and can even harm the baby and affect their development.
As mentioned, many CBD users ingest it in a way similar to taking vitamins and supplements on a daily basis. Whether this is via capsule, softgel, or through sublingual means (CBD oil), there's no denying the popularity of cannabidiol.
While the body of formal research into CBD is still fairly limited, there are still some potential benefits of this cannabinoid to note. That said, CBD shouldn't be taken as a quick fix for any serious health issues, physical or mental, and it is important to form a baseline of how you feel before, during, and after administering the cannabinoid in order to establish an ideal dose.
Given the impact that breastfeeding can have on the body and mind, it’s no wonder many mums are curious as to whether they can use CBD to soothe potential discomfort. Although the effects of CBD will vary from one person to another, is it advisable to consume CBD while breastfeeding?
All Cibdol CBD products are made through industry-leading extraction methods, ensuring they contain no contaminants, unwanted chemicals, or adverse levels of THC. Still, although every measure is taken to produce high-quality CBD, it is unclear whether consuming CBD oil while breastfeeding is safe.
It goes without saying that THC-laden cannabis strains and products should definitely be avoided when pregnant or breastfeeding. Because breast milk can contain THC for up to six days after use, it could have some serious effects on a child. Continued use can heavily impact fetal brain development and negatively influence cognitive function. Although it is thought that the psychotropic element of cannabis is responsible for these factors, does CBD carry the same potential risks?
As previously detailed, whatever a mother consumes will be transferred into her breast milk, including CBD oil. Some scientists claim that the overall impact is unclear, as the CBD samples trialled could be contaminated with other cannabinoids, lingering THC, and other ingredients. All factors combine to make for some inconclusive results.
While research is still in its early days, at the moment it is tough to say what the true effects of CBD oil are on breast milk. This is due to a lack of dedicated studies on the subject.
However, one study undertaken by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2018 took 54 samples from 50 breastfeeding women who reported marijuana use to measure THC and CBD levels. The results confirmed that THC was detectable in 63% of the samples, and CBD was present in 9%. So, it does plainly show that CBD can be transferred from mother to child via breast milk.
CBD gummies are a popular alternative to consuming CBD oil or capsules. Unfortunately, because of their CBD content, they too should be avoided by breastfeeding mothers at present. Don’t be fooled by their candy-like appearance—they contain the same CBD as oils and capsules.
It is safe to say that, regardless of how CBD is ingested, until sufficient research has been carried out, it will likely maintain this precarious position in the public eye.
There's no doubt that CBD can offer users some potential benefits in the right settings and circumstances. While mothers should avoid ingesting it while pregnant and breastfeeding, topical CBD-infused products, such as creams and cosmetics, may still be a viable option. This is because the CBD in topical products doesn’t reach the bloodstream or contribute to the production of breast milk.
Coming full circle from the beginning of this article, the true influence of CBD and its impact on breastfeeding are still unknown. Research is in its infancy, and many unanswered questions remain. There simply aren't enough studies into possible interactions between a newborn and CBD to confirm whether it is safe or unsafe.
At the moment, it is probably best to avoid the use of CBD oil while breastfeeding. It is essential to note that endocannabinoids are already present in breast milk. Produced by the body's innate endocannabinoid system, there is no doubt that these naturally occurring chemicals play a pivotal role in a child's biological development.
With CBD's lack of toxicity being a significant factor in its favour, the challenge is to understand this mechanism and recognise any potential impact or side effects for both mother and child. However, any concerns or questions surrounding the matter should be formally addressed by a doctor.
As research continues, this information will be updated accordingly. If you're looking to stay up to date with all the important developments, be sure to register for our newsletter.
 Bertrand, K. A., Hanan, N. J., & Honerkamp-Smith, G. (2018). Marijuana Use by Breastfeeding Mothers and Cannabinoid Concentrations in Breast Milk. Pediatrics. https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article/142/3/e20181076/81671/Marijuana-Use-by-Breastfeeding-Mothers-and [Source]