Between your interrupted sleep schedule, increased levels of stress, and the newfound bodily pains that you might encounter while breastfeeding, it makes total sense why a you'd want to introduce CBD products into your routine at this time. Cannabidiol or CBD, as you've probably heard, is a non-psychoactive compound that's naturally found in cannabis and hemp plants. People claim CBD can help with anxiety, plus soothe aches and pains. But the question is, can breastfeeding people safely use CBD?
This is a tough question to answer at the moment, because CBD hasn't been studied extensively, and the products on the market are hardly regulated, explains Philip Anderson, PharmD, clinical professor at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, who has researched cannabis use and breastfeeding. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists discourages cannabis use for lactating people, because there's not enough data to determine the effects the substance would have on an infant's health. Of course, not all CBD is derived from cannabis, which is where this gets tricky.
The appeal of many CBD products is that they're supposedly devoid of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the compound in cannabis that makes you high. But, save for the one pure CBD pharmaceutical product that's been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, "all others from hemp or cannabis have the potential to be a mixture of CBD and THC," Anderson says. "There are no standards that are followed in analysis or labeling that I would trust." In other words, there's always a risk that a CBD product could contain traces of THC in it, and get passed to an infant through breastmilk.
Unlike alcohol, which we know can clear out of a person's breastmilk in a few hours, it's not clear how long either of these cannabis compounds would stay in a person's system and breastmilk. "The studies on the length of time that these compounds stay in milk is conflicting," Anderson says. For example, one study estimated it takes six days to get THC out of breastmilk, while other show it takes six weeks. This pretty major discrepancy is probably due to the fact that the amount and frequency that people use cannabis products varies a lot.
So, for all of these various reasons and unknowns, it's probably best to just save the CBD oil for after you've finished weaning. It's up to you and your doctor to determine what's safest for you and your baby. And if you are struggling with insomnia, anxiety, or just want some help for your painful clogged duct, it's always worth it to talk to your doc, healthcare provider, or a lactation consultant. They might be able to recommend more reliable methods that will help your breastfeeding journey feel more chill — sans CBD.