As more and more companies are catering to new moms or new-again moms, physicians are often answering questions about CBD and marijuana. Dr. Marina Yuabova FNP, DNP Associate Professor in Health and Science Department at CUNY, believes CBD lotion and creams are useful during the postpartum period.
“CBD’s effects are comprehensive and can help your body self regulate, which can potentially boost the mood and increase energy levels,” she explained. “Many people have found success in overcoming exhaustion, sleeplessness, and fear using these kinds of products.” Known to have a positive effect on the reduction of inflammation, CBD oils and tinctures can offer moms benefits they may not know of.
Often marketed as self-care, the benefits of CBD and marijuana products have been studied, including easing inflammation, helping with anxiety, as well as offering reprieve for pain.
In fact, a University of Washington study recently focused on marijuana as an alternative to opioids given for pain. Research cited several studies and found that cannabis could be a substitute for opiates, decreasing overdose risk:
“The evidence so far suggests that — among people who are open to using cannabis — substitution of cannabis for opiates, while not risk-free, can be beneficial in preventing opioid dose escalation and in controlling chronic pain. Considering the high overdose risk of opioid-based medications these findings are reason for optimism and underscore the urgency to conduct research on medicinal cannabis soon.”
Other studies cite the opposite, claiming that cannabis as an alternative to opioid overdoses while promising, has a long way to go. With conflicting news and reports, patients often don’t know how to bring up CBD or marijuana to their doctors. Kellie Stecher, an OBGYN out of Edina, Minn. recently sat down and discussed considerations to keep in mind with marijuana, CBD and new mothers.
Q: As new moms begin to explore their bodies and new lifestyle how does marijuana or CBD fit in?
A: It’s important to realize that marijuana and CBD are very different medicines, with very different results and side effects for individuals. There are few studies that look at CBD oil and marijuana in the postpartum period.
Some studies show a decrease in anxiety with less marijuana use. This may be critical because in the postpartum time period anxiety and depression are major concerns. Some studies suggest that marijuana can have a beneficial effect on depression. However, we don’t know what doses or frequency could achieve this and would be different in every person. You can also develop apathy and lack of motivation from marijuana which can make postpartum depression worse. This is a very complex relationship.
Is there an opportunity for new moms to use the projects to help with the added stresses and lack of sleep when parenting a new, tiny human?
CBD oil seems more helpful to decrease anxiety. CBD effects the central nervous system. There have been multiple studies looking at effects on seasonal affective disorder, PTSD, generalized anxiety. There have been favorable findings for these disorders. There hasn’t been research completed into postpartum anxiety specifically. One could argue that since its more hormonally driven it would be less effective. We need more studies to sort this out.
Are there certain ways new moms can use CBD or marijuana products on their body?
There are many products on the market. The biggest thing to keep in mind is patients need to know what they’re getting. One way to be safe is to ensure labels are read carefully.
There are many CBD topical applications; there are lotions, creams, oils, all that you can apply directly to your skin. There are gummies, tablets, and vapes you can use as well. Anything you ingest orally needs caution about medication interactions. There is also a higher likelihood of side effects. Topical use hasn’t been linked to many side effects other than skin irritation and rash.
Are there any postpartum considerations when approaching CBD and marijuana?
If you’re breastfeeding, we would advise you to avoid the products entirely. You pass THC in breastmilk at 10-30% the concentration that is in your own body. The studies we have are underpowered, and often don’t control for confounders, such as obesity, smoking and more. Some studies suggest that infants who receive breastmilk from mothers who use marijuana have gross motor delays.
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CBD on the other hand is readily available. It is derived from the hemp plant and doesn’t cause a high. CBD also has not been linked to dependency or abuse. However, this is a substance that isn’t regulated. There is a big concern about CBD being contaminated with pesticides and other impurities.
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The other concern is the lack of research. We don’t know how it will interact with other medication. For example, if someone is trying CBD oil and are taking an antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication, could it render these medications more or less effective? We don’t know. The hardest part is there are so many unknown variables here that we often can’t make direct medical recommendations. This is why the FDA says not to use these products if you are breastfeeding.
The problem really is no one wants to sign up to be studied. We need more information to determine the exact effects on infants. Most evidence of harm is associated with prenatal exposure and not exposure during lactation.
New moms may be nervous about discussing CBD or marijuana with their team. What should they know before asking about CBD and marijuana?
You should never be going to a physician you don’t feel comfortable having honest conversations with. They should be able to talk through the good, the bad, and ugly of anything you want to do in life. Just be as open and honest with them as you can, and they will help you make the best decisions for you and your health.