CBD Oil and Breastfeeding

Alexandra Campbell About CBD, FAQ

CBD and Breastfeeding

With all of the presumed health benefits of CBD Oil, it’s no wonder that new moms are taking an interest in it and wondering about the safety of CBD oil and breastfeeding. In theory, and since CBD has a remarkable safety profile, CBD oil and breastfeeding could go well together.

However, the research regarding CBD oil and breastfeeding is few and far between–something we’ll touch on early in this article. We’ll then explore how CBD oil interacts with the human body through the endocannabinoid system and the physiological process of breastfeeding as it relates to CBD.  

There are plenty of paths of discussion when talking CBD, and it seems that CBD oil and breastfeeding might be a popular new avenue to travel, though it’s important to take safety concerns into consideration.

The Research So Far

To date, there is only a handful of research and clinical trials which focus on the use of CBD oil and breastfeeding mothers. In September of this year, a group of researchers from the University of California San Diego conducted one of the most robust studies, albeit still limited in scope.

The focus of the research was marijuana use by breastfeeding mothers and cannabinoid concentrations in breast milk. It’s important to note that CBD was not the sole focus of the study and so still leaves many questions unanswered.

While the results of CBD on breastfed children are not yet available, the test noted psychomotor deficits in more than half of the study’s 12-month old infant participants. With the limited amount of data and the uncertainty about the effects of CBD Oil and breastfeeding, complete abstinence is the safest course of action.

One of the most important takeaways from this lone study is that a small percentage of breastmilk did have CBD in it after the mother consumed CBD. It bears repeating–since we don’t know what effects CBD might have on infants yet, it’s best to err on the side of caution.

The few studies that exist on only CBD were either conducted in vitro or on non-human subjects. One study on the former gathered that CBD use during pregnancy might change the physiological characteristics of the placenta, which is a potentially frightening thought. However, this study was looking at prolonged exposure to marijuana over 24 to 72 hours. In future studies and ones that are focused solely on CBD, patients would use CBD at a lesser dosage over a longer period. Most studies focus more profoundly on the effects of THC on breastfeeding moms and their babies.

CBD and Breastfeeding


The research on THC and its effects on infants has been startling. One study found that exposure to cannabis in utero has an adverse influence on birth weight and raises the chance of an infant baby going into intensive care. As defeating as this news is, it only outlines the fact that women shouldn’t smoke marijuana while pregnant, and doesn’t say anything about CBD use during pregnancy.

CBD Oil and the Endocannabinoid System

The discovery of cannabinoid receptors within the human body is novel. It’s only recently that scientists and doctors are uncovering the full potential of these receptors which the endocannabinoid (ESC) houses. Primarily, the function of the ESC is that of regulation and homeostasis within the body.

CBD oil works by connecting to the cannabinoid receptors in the body. Through this process, CBD is said to influence the modulation of activity in the ESC involving many conditions such as mood and anxiety disorders, movement disorders such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury, cancer, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, stroke, hypertension, glaucoma, obesity/metabolic syndrome, and osteoporosis.

The medical and healthcare communities are taking a new interest in the endocannabinoid system of the human body. That said, we’re only scratching the surface of what this powerhouse is capable of.

Endocannabinoids and CBD in Newborn Babies

Endocannabinoids help teach a newborn baby how to eat by stimulating the process of suckling. If these endocannabinoids didn’t exist, babies would be unaware of how to eat, not to mention they would lack an appetite altogether. The result would be malnourishment and possibly death.

Clearly, endocannabinoids are absolutely essential to the health of newborn babies but, unfortunately, that doesn’t say much about CBD’s effect on breastfed babies.

Another pertinent idea to keep in mind is that cannabinoids do naturally occur in breast milk. While this might seem promising for the world of CBD oil and breastfeeding, it remains inconclusive about the potential interactions between CBD and nursing mothers and their babies.

However, this exciting new development is worth looking into, at the very least because it is helping to build the amount of research we so desperately need on the topic. Also, it’s important to note the term ‘cannabinoids’ in these studies and what that refers to. Remember, there are dozens of cannabinoids and there is no evidence that human breast milk contains CBD or THC explicitly for that matter.

Moreover, it’s nearly impossible to find an accurate estimate of the amount of CBD within breast milk, making it potentially unsafe for babies to consume. Research by the American Chemical Society showed that CBD binds so closely with the fat in breast milk that it has been impossible to measure the amounts in breast milk.

CBD and Breastfeeding

Why the Sudden Interest in CBD Oil and Breastfeeding?

First and foremost, let’s take into account that CBD, unlike other cannabinoids like THC, is incapable of causing psychoactive results in its users. This fact alone makes it, at the very least, a safer option for breastfeeding moms vs. other cannabinoids, especially THC.  

CBD, conversely, also provides a host of medical advantages. Nevertheless, while it doesn’t offer a buzz, there are concerns about its appropriateness for nursing women.

In new mothers, CBD oil is especially hopeful in the fight against Postpartum Depression (PPD), which is known for causing anxiety and depression, two ailments that CBD might be able to help manage. Although newer antidepressants are intended not to conflict with breastfeeding, there are no guarantees that they will be successful–again making CBD oil and breastfeeding a potentially more advantageous route to take.

One part of the issue lies in the fact that nursing moms have limited choices when it comes to prescription drugs. Moreover, if you have a bad response to one medicine, there may not be any other alternative. This limitation makes CBD especially attractive for breastfeeding moms.

By far the most significant issue surrounding CBD oil and breastfeeding is the need for more deductive research on nursing mothers and their infants. CBD oil interacts with the human body through the endocannabinoid system, a powerhouse responsible for bodily regulation.

While we know some of the negative effects of THC on breastfed babies, we’re unsure of how CBD will interact. Moreover, breast milk has cannabinoids already present in it–but this isn’t enough information for us to give CBD the stamp of approval to moms interested in CBD oil and breastfeeding.

CBD is a promising treatment to the troubling symptoms that often come with Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, and could be more effective than traditional medications. Despite all of this and CBD’s growing popularity, there have not yet been any conclusive studies about the safety of CBD oil and breastfeeding.

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Last modified: June 3, 2019