What Is CBD?
CBD (short for cannabidiol) oil is derived from the cannabis plant. Both CBD and THC are found in marijuana, but the substances produce different results. THC is known for the mind-altering "high" it creates in users when the plant is smoked or cooked into food or other edibles. CBD, however, is not psychoactive, meaning it doesn't change the state of mind of the person who uses it. But it is thought to have numerous medical benefits, like helping with anxiety and depression, including postpartum depression.
Is CBD Oil Safe For Breastfeeding Mothers?
The short answer is, there's just not enough research to know for sure. Virtually no scientific studies have been done on lactating mothers who use cannabis in general or CBD oil specifically, meaning its effect on newborns and infants is unknown. The few studies that have been done have shown inconsistent results on whether CBD oil will affect a breastfed baby negatively, or at all.
Something to think about if you're considering using CBD oil while breastfeeding: data taken from heavy users of marijuana (not CBD oil) show that breastfed babies will test positive for the drug for up to two to three weeks. If for some reason a baby was urine tested and that test came back positive for cannabis, the pediatrician would most likely report this result to police or child protection services. It might not be a risk you're willing to take with your own baby.
What's a CBD Oil Alternative?
If you're dealing with postpartum anxiety or depression, your best bet is to talk to your doctor, according to Dr. Thomas Hale, Ph.D., the founder of the Infant Risk Center at Texas Tech University's Health Science Center and the author of Medications and Mother's Milk, currently in its 17th edition.
"Cannabinoid oil seems to be somewhat safer" when compared to the use of THC by breastfeeding moms, Hale said, "but we still do not know much if anything about it in breastfeeding or pregnant moms, or its potential effects or neurobehavioral outcome in exposed infants."
"That said, we do know a lot more about the use of the antidepressants in treating anxiety. They are both very effective and from numerous studies, have very few to no complications in pregnancy or in breastfed infants," he continued. Compared to the unknowns of CBD oil, an antidepressant might be a safer, and definitely more studied, choice.