Is It Safe to Use CBD Oil During Pregnancy?

CBD oil has become an integral part of many lives, with CBD users enjoying its health benefits.

With its various therapeutic effects, it’s no surprise that even pregnant women find CBD useful.

The question, though, is — is CBD oil really safe to take during pregnancy?

Are there risks in taking CBD oil while pregnant, and more importantly, can it affect the baby?

This article on CBD oil and pregnancy discusses the issues of using CBD for pregnant and lactating women.

Why Do Some Women Take CBD Oil While Pregnant?

The hormonal changes that typically come with pregnancy are distressing to many women, affecting their physical, emotional, and even psychological health.

Some feel nauseous; the morning sickness can be so severe at times that they can’t help but vomit. Throwing up can leave pregnant women feeling weak and tired.

It’s also common to feel anxious, stressed out, and even depressed, preventing women from getting a good night’s sleep.

In addition to all these, many pregnant women also experience pain and discomfort in the joints and back as the body adjusts to the growing belly.

These may be pervasive side effects of pregnancy, but they can greatly affect pregnant women, so it’s no surprise why some use CBD oil during pregnancy, as CBD oil helps relieve some of the symptoms.

Nausea Control

CBD has strong anti-nausea and anti-vomiting properties [1]. In addition, it can reduce the activities in the brain region responsible for regulating nausea and vomiting.

CBD, according to studies, may even help with nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy.

Mood Improvement

CBD helps reduce anxiety and normalize mood when it stimulates the receptors responsible for controlling anxiety, fear, stress, and mood. Some of these receptors include the serotonin and vanilloid type 1 receptors and the cannabinoid type 1 receptor.

According to one study, CBD reduced anxiety and improved sleep in most of its participants [2].

Pain Reduction

CBD oil helps decrease pain in several ways [3].

It enhances the endocannabinoid system and the other receptors that regulate pain perception, and it also decreases inflammation which contributes to the development of pain.

CBD, as an analgesic, is effective even for chronic, hard-to-treat pain.

Now, these studies clearly show that CBD has properties that can alleviate pregnancy symptoms. For example, it can help with nausea and vomiting, and it can also help improve mood and reduce body aches and pain.

Pregnant women who used CBD oil for such symptoms have also reported an improvement in their discomfort.

Unfortunately, these aren’t studies done on CBD oil and pregnancy.

As of this writing, we still don’t have any comprehensive CBD oil and pregnancy research studies, especially on the effects of CBD on pregnant women, lactating mothers, and their offspring.

There are also no studies on the long-term effects of CBD on pregnancy since ethical issues surrounding the inclusion of pregnant women and developing fetuses in research and clinical studies.

What studies we have on cannabinoids and pregnancy, however, show some concerning results.

Is CBD Oil Safe During Pregnancy?

CBD oil dropper, cannabis leaves and a stethoscope on a wooden table

There’s a debate over the safety of CBD oil and pregnancy.

Some women report that CBD oil improved their symptoms with no significant side effects, allowing them to have a more comfortable pregnancy…

However, health experts also say that CBD oil may not be good for a pregnant woman, especially the fetus.

Cannabinoids, including CBD, can easily pass through the placental barrier, a protective layer between the fetus and the mother. The placental barrier, in a way, prevents maternal toxins like bacteria and viruses from affecting the fetus.

Unfortunately, the placental barrier can’t protect the fetus from some drugs or chemicals ingested by the mother.

Studies found that active compounds, including cannabinoids (THC, CBD, etc.), can easily cross the barrier and affect the fetus. These drugs may cause some harm to the developing fetus, resulting in long-lasting effects.

What Do Studies on CBD Oil and Pregnancy Say?

There’s no specific human study done on CBD oil and pregnancy yet. Still, an animal study published just last February 2021 showed that CBD might harm the developing fetus, extending into adulthood [4].

Researchers gave mice CBD while pregnant as well as during their nursing stage. They then studied the effects of CBD use on the offspring and compared it to those who weren’t exposed to CBD.

Their study found that the offspring exposed to CBD showed increased anxiety and behavioral changes. They also found that the female mice exposed to CBD had many gene expression changes.

These effects were more commonly seen in female mice than male mice.

The study may have been done on mice, but it clearly showed that CBD crosses the placental barrier and may have harmful effects on the developing fetus.

Are There CBD Oil and Pregnancy Risks?

We don’t have enough CBD oil and pregnancy studies, but we have studies on cannabis and pregnancy.

They showed that cannabinoids, especially THC, can cause low birth weight in newborns. They can also increase the child’s risk of developing chronic health issues, including physical development and cognitive problems. Cannabis, according to the study, also increases the risk for stillbirth and premature birth [5].

Is CBD Oil Safe for Breastfeeding Mothers?

Health experts have also warned against the use of CBD oil while breastfeeding.

While there are no specific studies on CBD oil and breastfeeding, it’s been shown that cannabinoids can be passed through breast milk and affect the baby [6]. The cannabinoids can even linger in the mother’s breast milk for several days to weeks.

How Do You Use CBD Oil Safely While Pregnant?

a hand taking cbd oil from a bottle

Is there a way to safely use CBD oil while pregnant?

CBD poses some risks to pregnant and lactating women and their babies, so to be on the safe side, we recommend speaking with your doctor first. After all, they know your medical history and can better assess your risks of taking CBD oil.

However, there are still some ways to enjoy CBD while pregnant, which is through topicals.

Use CBD Topicals

Applying topical CBD products like creams and balms to painful joints and muscles can help ease pain and discomfort. CBD stimulates the endocannabinoid systems found on the skin cells, reducing pain and helping relax the muscles.

Soaking in CBD bath bombs can also help relieve stress and anxiety. The relaxing and refreshing aroma of the CBD bath bomb can not only help calm your nerves and improve mood but also relieve muscle tension.

These products are safer for pregnant women, too, since CBD is absorbed by the skin and interacts with the endocannabinoid receptors without entering the bloodstream.

There’s a reduced risk of CBD crossing the placental barrier or passing through the breast milk and affecting the baby.

Choose THC-Free CBD Oil

When choosing CBD oil for pregnant women, go with products that don’t contain any traces of THC, the psychoactive and intoxicating cannabinoid. The CBD extract should also come from compliant industrial hemp containing less than 0.3% THC.

THC, as mentioned earlier, easily crosses the placental barrier and can also be passed through the mother’s breast milk. Its effects on the fetus have been well-studied, and they show that THC increases risks of stillborn, low birth weight, decreased brain growth, behavioral problems, and cognitive problems that last into adulthood [7]

The product should have also undergone laboratory testing by a certified third party. The product’s certificate of analysis assures you that it’s contamination-free and doesn’t contain any traces of toxins, residues, artificial pesticides, fertilizers, or pathogenic microorganisms, all of which can harm the baby.

Finally, stay away from brands that make exaggerated and too-good-to-be-true health claims. More importantly, read CBD oil reviews or ask around. Always go with products that receive good ratings and feedback from consumers.

What’s the Recommended CBD Oil Dosage for Pregnant Women?

There’s no recommended dosage when it comes to CBD oil. You’ll have to listen to how your body reacts to CBD and adjust the dose from there.

However, to be on the safe side, we suggest starting with the lowest CBD oil dosage possible. If you feel some adverse side effects, then decrease the dose. If you didn’t feel any improvement, then at least stay on the current low dose for about three to five days before slightly increasing the dose.

Again, we emphasize the need to speak with a healthcare professional first before taking CBD oil.

Ask Your Doctor

Again, we lack studies on pure CBD oil and pregnancy, so if you’re thinking of using CBD products, we suggest giving your primary care physician a visit.

They will assess your situation and need for CBD and help you choose a good CBD product with zero THC content.

Moreover, your doctor can also help you choose the best CBD brand and starting dose for your condition.

Final Thoughts — Understanding CBD Oil and Pregnancy

We don’t have enough comprehensive studies on CBD oil and pregnancy. Still, the studies were done on cannabis, and pregnant women show that cannabinoids can cross the placental barrier and pass through breast milk.

Because of this, health experts warn against the use of CBD oil for pregnant and lactating women.

If you still want to enjoy some of the benefits of CBD, then you can try CBD creams, balms, ointments, and bath bombs, etc. These products can ease muscle and joint aches and pains, but CBD won’t enter the bloodstream and affect the baby.

However, if you think you’d benefit more from CBD oils, then discuss the option with your doctor to be safe.


  1. Parker, L.A., Rock, E.M., Limebeer, C.L. (2011). Regulation of nausea and vomiting by cannabinoids. British Journal of Pharmacology, 163(7), 1411-1422.
  2. Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H., & Hughes, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. The Permanente Journal, 23, 18–041.
  3. Argueta, D. A., Ventura, C. M., Kiven, S., Sagi, V., & Gupta, K. (2020). A Balanced Approach for Cannabidiol Use in Chronic Pain. Frontiers in pharmacology, 11, 561.
  4. Wanner, N.M., Colwell, M., Drown, C., Faulk, C. (2021). Developmental cannabidiol exposure increases anxiety and modifies genome-wide brain DNA methylation in adult female mice. Clin Epigenetics 13, 4.
  5. Gabrhelík, R., Mahic, M., Lund, I.O., Bramness, J., Selmer, R., Skovlund, E., Handal, M., Skurtveit, S. (2021). Cannabis Use during Pregnancy and Risk of Adverse Birth Outcomes: A Longitudinal Cohort Study. European Addiction Research, 27:131-141.
  6. Garry, A., Rigourd, V., Amirouche, A., Fauroux, V., Aubry, S., & Serreau, R. (2009). Cannabis and breastfeeding. Journal of toxicology, 596149.
  7. El Marroun, H., Brown, Q.L., Lund, I.O., Coleman-Cowger, V.H., Loree, A.M., Chawla, D., Washio, Y. (2018). An epidemiological, developmental, and clinical overview of cannabis use during pregnancy. Preventive Medicine, Nov;116:1-5.

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