Acupuncture. Hypnosis. Essential oils. Meditation. Diet cleanses. When you're trying to get pregnant, there's no shortage of holistic treatments that people say you should do to "boost" your fertility or increase your chances of conceiving. One of these "natural" products that people are particularly interested in for fertility purposes is cannabidiol, or CBD, the non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis and hemp.
Sound sketchy? It's wise to be somewhat skeptical about the seemingly ubiquitous compound making its way into every wellness product. Despite the lack of regulation or scientific proof that CBD does anything, many people still use the products. But if you're someone who's trying to get pregnant, you might be extra concerned about the effect that CBD could have on you and potentially your future baby.
Past research has shown that using cannabis that contains THC, the psychoactive compound that contributes to a high, is not a good idea for people who are trying to get pregnant. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that people stop using marijuana before trying to get pregnant, because it can negatively impact the fetus's development as early as the first trimester of pregnancy. On top of that, a male partner's weed use is just as important: Studies have shown that men who use marijuana regularly have reduced sperm concentrations by 28% compared to those who don't.
While we know that cannabis can contribute to male infertility, "we do not yet know if CBD products made from cannabis might also have a negative effect," explains Julie Lamb, MD, FACOG, medical advisor at Modern Fertility. CBD is so new that there haven't been any solid studies to show that it's safe in pregnancy, or specifically what effects CBD hemp oil would have on a fetus, she adds. In one study that was conducted on mouse embryos, researchers found that the compound anandamide, which is increased with CBD use, actually inhibited the development of embryos, she says.
For all of these reasons, when a couple is having difficulty conceiving, Dr. Lamb recommends that they avoid CBD. But this also brings up an important point regardless of whether or not you're trying to conceive: it's always a good idea to check with your doctor before you try CBD. Although CBD seems harmless, the effects could interfere with other drugs or treatments. Until we know more about CBD, it's better to be safe than sorry.
And finally, just because someone suspects that CBD was able to solve all their fertility issues, that doesn't mean that the same is true for you. As we've said before, when you're trying so many different things to get pregnant, it's impossible to say what actually "worked." Even if everyone swears CBD really "works."