The history of the therapeutic use of cannabis is so long and complex, that no wonder it involved use by pregnant women, or in labour. In fact – the oldes documented cases of such cannabis use in Mesopotamia date back to 2.0000 years BC! But what does modern science says about utility (and safety!) of such application of this ancient plant? And where does it put one of the safest hemp products – the CBD hemp oil?
Cannabis and pregnancy – a brief history
Among the thousands of real and supposed properties cannabis, its influence on fertility has always been a major one, also because of the semi-sacred status most of the traditional cultures tend to bestow upon the healing plants. It was believed that cannabis has the power to: increases potency, bring relief in pregnancy and labour, prevent miscarriage, protects the fetus, and eventually increae the production of milk and prevent the postnatal depression. At least some of these beliefs are justified – especially when it comes to relaxing, easing muscle tension and contractions, stimulating appetite, or improving the overall wellbeing, so it is not like it was all pure magical thinking. Interestingly, in terms of of the administration of cannabis to pregnant women, our ancestors were quite creative, and various preparations were used: in Mesopotamia infusions made from saffron, mint and beer were in use, one and a half thousand years ago in Egypt vaginal smears mixed hemp with honey, while in Cambodia, it was believed that drinking hemp tea and eating hemp flowers would increase the milk production of breastfeeding mothers.
Cannabis has been administered to pregnant women for thousands of years in the Middle East, Persia, Cambodia, Tibet and India, and its pro-health applications have largely survived in traditional medicine. It is worth emphasizing that in most cases it was not pure marijuana – the most notorious, but only one of dozens of forms of cannabis – what was in use, as the most of the quoted descriptions relate to various formulations obtained from whole Cannabis sativa plants or their seeds, in other words – hempe products bereft of any psychoactive effect whatoever. It is important to remember this not only in the context of cannabis use in pregnancy.
CBD and pregnancy
So much about traditional applications of cannabis. But what about findings of modern medicine, and most importantly – what role can CBD play in cannabis’ influence on pregnancy? As health-wise cannabidiol is the most important non-psychoactive cannabis compound, it can be expected that it could have been responsible for many of the effects that have been associated with the cannabis’ beneficial impat on pregnancy for thousands of years.
What is intriguing, there are not many studies on the effect of CBD on pregnant women. Although such (still inconclusive) studies exist for THC a psychoactive ingredient found in large quantities in specific forms of cannabis, there are was no research on CBD hemp oils’ effect on human pregnancy. In this case we have to resolve to the already known health benefits of CBD – interestingly, at least some of them could be useful for pregnant women. Because cannabinoids work by interacting with our internal endocannabinoid system, it is important to pay attention to the processes that system regulates in pregnant women. And there are quite a lot of them. Drawing on the fiels regulated by the system at hand, we can speculate that CBD can: relieve nausea, prevent contractions, ease the pain, or help fighting postnatal depression. Sure, all these qualities have been known to folk medicine for ages, but when talking about pregnancy they are still only promising premises, while to be able to safely recommend cannabis diet supplements further studies is needed. Unfortunately, studies on the effects of CBD on pregnancy are neither conclusive, nor comprehensive. One trial on rats did not show any effect of CBD on the course of pregnancy, while the in vitro test suggested some reduction of the embryo’s mass after exposure to cannabidiol – but it is worth noting that the ammount of CBD used in the said experiment was huge – exceeding recommended doses of dietary supplements by orders of magnitude.
It would seem that valuable – if not decisive – answers could be provided by analising the trial results of CBD-based drugs already available on the market. One example of such drug, GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex, is a product consisting mainly of isolated cannabidiol. However, it appears that Epidiolex did not undergo such tests, as the pregnant woman were explicitly excluded from the test group. This obviously makes sense considering the special care that pregnant women have, and the fact that the product in question was intended for children only, though it does not change the fact that there is no comprehensive study of the use of CBD in pregnancy and labour.
Use of CBD hemp oils during pregnancy
It is important to remember that the research mentioned above, as well as the articles we refer to, only referred to medicine-grade cannabidiol – either to CBD isolates or whole plant extracts of medical grade and with very high concentrations of CBD. Meanwhile, the vast majority of CBD products – including Cannabigold oils – are a completely different class of products. The CBD hemp oils we are talking about here are dietary supplements – they have different uses than medical products, and other quality-control standards apply to them. These standards are still quite strict, but when choosing hemp oil, especially by pregnant women, it is extremaly important to pay attention to the composition and the way the extract was obtained – as those two factors determine the purity of the final product. Fortunately, the Cannabigold method of supercritical CO2 extraction fully removes potentially dangerous impurities or heavy metals from the product. Unfortunately, this can not be said of all commercially available hemp products.
In summary, there are no studies linking CBD hemp oils with any risk for pregnant women. Add to this the wide array of health benefits of these diet supplements, properties that could affect the most common ailments associated with pregnancy, and it would appear that CBD hemp oils may be the perfect product for pregnant women. Additionally, CBD hemp oils are known for their safety, so choosing a quality product from a well-established provider who cares for the purity of oils, we should not be afraid of anything. However, it is important to remember that pregnancy is a particularly sensitive period, and any precaution will not hurt even in the case of diet supplements. Despite all the indications for the use of CBD oils during pregnancy and during breastfeeding, we cannot, at this time, explicitly recommend its use by pregnant women.
- Feinshtein et al.: Cannabidiol changes P-gp and BCRP expression in trophoblast cell lines. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24058883)
- Russo: Cannabis Treatments in Obstetrics and Gynecology:A Historical Review (http://files.iowamedicalmarijuana.org/science/obgyn/Russo-Cannabis%20in%20OB-GYN.pdf)