All about CBD
CBD oil is becoming more and more popular, for all the right reasons. A ‘wonder’ compound that can aid many ailments, from chronic pain, anxiety and nausea, it is also available in many different forms such as oils, capsules, as well as tinctures and topicals that soothe the skin and target inflammation. With such a wide spectrum of beneficial effects, and little to none side effects, it seems to tick all the boxes to be the miracle supplement for pregnant women - but is it safe for them to use?
The main area of concern when it comes to using CBD while you’re pregnant may be its origin. The cannabidiol compound, or CBD, is extracted from the cannabis sativa plant. It is then diluted with an appropriate carrier oil, that is safe to consume and preserves CBD’s properties. Unlike the full grade ‘cannbis oil’ , which is only available in the UK on prescription due to its high THC content, CBD oil contains no more than 1mg of THC which are considered to be trace amounts. There are many CBD products that are THC free also, and are usually classified as “broad-spectrum” oils.
Different Types of CBD
While all forms of CBD can be useful there are differences in the main types of CBD. Full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate all vary in the different compounds that are contained within each of them. The easiest way to explain them is by distinguishing these compounds.
Full spectrum CBD products contain naturally occurring cannabis plant extracts. This includes compounds like cannabinoids and terpenes, and even THC up to 0.2 or 0.3% depending on whether you are in the United Kingdom or the United States. Full spectrum oil is often preferred by CBD lovers due to what’s called the ‘entourage effect’. Coined by two Israeli scientists, the phrase describes their findings; that taking the entire spectrum of natural compounds found in cannabis works far better together and are much more beneficial than only taking a single isolated molecule compound.
Full spectrum CBD contains many compounds: cannabinoids, chlorophyll, flavonoids, terpenes, essential oils, fats, and wax, which complement each other’s functions and properties, improving the absorption of the compound.
Broad-spectrum CBD - What differentiates it from full-spectrum CBD is that it contains absolutely no THC, whilst still containing all of the other naturally-derived cannabinoids. This is a safe option for many of those who are intimidated by the THC compound, even in trace amounts, but still want the benefit of all the additional terpenes and cannabinoids found in THC oil.
CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD. In the name, it contains no other compounds within it from the cannabis plant bar CBD. CBD isolate has to go through a process called chromatography. This process takes out all of the terpenes, which are responsible for scent, flavor, and other differentiators. Additionally, chromatography separates out the unwanted cannabinoids, such as the most commonly known psychoactive one — THC. CBD isolate is easily mixed into carrier oils and bases meaning it can be easily added to the likes of e-liquids or edibles. As much as CBD isolate only contains the active CBD compound, it is often less desirable than full spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD oils due to the absence of compounds enabling the entourage effect.
CBD and pregnancy - is it safe?
During the life-changing journey of pregnancy, a healthy lifestyle is essential to ensure the healthy development of the baby as well as the well-being of the mother. As we all know, pregnancy is extremely physically demanding and produces many changes within the body. From hormonal fluctuations to weight gain, back pain and nausea, many future mums are forever searching for safe solutions that will help them feel better whilst being safe to use.
Natural supplements are often preferred, as they are considered to be gentler and safer to use during pregnancy. As CBD is a completely natural, plant-based compound, is should really tick all the boxes, however, little studies have been done on CBD use and pregnancy, and with its correlation to THC, it is often discarded as a potential solution by many mums.
A recent study conducted on mice found that THC inhibited the development of embryos , which indicates it could also be harmful to a human baby and their development. THC is also considered by some researchers as a developmental neurotoxin, so exposure in the early stages of growth could also potentially lead to issues later in a child’s life.
A valid reason for THC consumption resulting in this potentially serious side effect is the role our endocannabinoid system plays during pregnancy. Through cell regulation and cannabinoid processes, it’s essential in the early development of the fetus, as well as helping support the growth of the child throughout pregnancy.
What about broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate?
Luckily, there are THC free solutions that allow us to benefit from the miraculous benefits of the CBD compound, but are they safe for pregnant women? There are no studies currently done on the effects of CBD on pregnant women, with a few studies floating online that were conducted on mice, with mixed results.
It’s imperative that more research is conducted into how CBD interacts with our internal process during this fundamental stage to absolutely guarantee that there are no negative side effects. However, due to the ethical implications of testing on pregnant women, it’s very unlikely that we will see any evidence to support claims, either way, any time soon.
Due to the limited research currently available, the general stance on taking CBD oil during pregnancy is more so angled towards ‘no’, just as a safety precaution. On the contrary, the internet is also flooded with reports from pregnant women who do claim to have taken CBD throughout their pregnancy with great success, saying it had helped them with nausea, cramps and pregnancy-related stress.
The bottom line is - CBD use during pregnancy is probably best discussed with an appropriate doctor, who might be able to provide the most up-to-date advice on whether it will be right for you.