CBD Posts

How Could CBD Help New Moms?

Becoming a mother for the first time is, of course, a life-changing experience, but change isn’t always easy to adapt to. The process can be stressful, tiring and even anxiety-inducing at times. For years and years, new moms have just had to grin and bear it, adapting to the realities of motherhood as best they can. But now, there’s a non-intoxicating cannabis compound called cannabidiol (CBD) that could help to make the transition into being a mother somewhat easier. But just what is CBD, what medicinal benefits does it have, and is it safe for new moms to take?

CBD: what is it, and how does it work?

CBD is part of a collection of compounds known as cannabinoids. These substances are mostly found in plants from the cannabis family, however recent research has shown us that cannabinoids aren’t quite exclusive to cannabis as was once believed. However, cannabinoids are rare and unusual compounds that have the ability to influence the body in a way that scientists were clueless about until the 1990s: through the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The ECS is a major discovery for the future of medicine, as it has revealed a multitude of mechanisms that affect our psychological and physiological health. It just so happens that the endocannabinoids which work as neurotransmitters in the ECS bear such a chemical resemblance to the cannabinoids (or phytocannabinoids) found in cannabis, that they can help to rebalance the system if it has become dysregulated. The ECS plays an important role in keeping the body in a stable equilibrium, otherwise known as homeostasis.

Let’s look more closely at why having a balanced ECS can make life much more enjoyable in the early stages of motherhood.

Pregnancy after miscarriage

CBD for stress

The immense weight of responsibility can make being a new mom a very stressful experience. Of course, alcohol, one of society’s most popular de-stressers, is not the most sensible tonic for a new mom. But CBD can help to relieve stress without having any negative impacts on cognitive function or memory.

How does it manage this? A recent study found that CBD helps to reduce levels of cortisol – a stress hormone – in the brain. The cannabinoid does this by affecting the rate of cortisol excretion in the adrenal gland. In a nutshell, CBD regulates cortisol so that it is only produced in concentrations which are beneficial for the body.

CBD for anxiety

None of the emotions that stem from anxiety are helpful for a new mom – there are enough things to be getting on with without becoming overwhelmed by exacerbated worries and doubts. The good news is that CBD is proving to be an extraordinarily effective remedy for anxiety, thanks to the interactions that the cannabinoid makes in the brain.

Anxiety occurs when the brain becomes overactive and starts sending too many signals – this is what causes the incessant overthinking, and sometimes random sequence of thoughts. The GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) helps to regulate anxiety in the body, alongside a myriad of other functions, such as vision and motor control. CBD essentially amplifies GABA by working as a positive allosteric modulator for the GABA-A receptor. This effect means that more GABA neurotransmitters are able to link with GABA-A receptors and reduce anxiety.

Researchers have been at a loss as to why CBD can be so therapeutic when it doesn’t bind directly with the main cannabinoid receptors in the ECS. However, this interaction with GABA may hold some answers.

Furthermore, CBD has the power to boost anandamide in the brain through its inhibition of the FAAH enzyme, which typically breaks down the endocannabinoid. Having higher concentrations of this potent antidepressant in the brain can deliver a nice mood boost, taking focus away from anxious thoughts.

CBD for insomnia and general lack of sleep

Sleepless nights are to be expected as a new mom, but having sleep regularly disrupted can be very harmful in the long run, as the body is unable to spend as much time in deep sleep which is important for neurological health. It is essential that cerebrospinal fluid in the brain gets a daily opportunity to remove neurotoxins from the organ which contribute to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s.

CBD is a biphasic cannabinoid – it tends to have an uplifting effect in small doses but a sedative effect in larger doses. For those struggling to get to sleep, CBD is a much safer treatment than prescription sleeping tablets, which can be addictive and cause side effects of dizziness, drowsiness, constipation and more. CBD does not induce a mental “high” but relaxes the body and mind to make dozing off to sleep that much easier.

Anxiety and insomnia often goes hand-in-hand – just when sufferers of these conditions settle down to sleep, the mind has a habit of becoming swamped with negative thoughts that make it difficult for the brain and body to shut down.

CBD for overall wellbeing

We briefly touched on homeostasis earlier, and the endocannabinoid system has a huge job in ensuring the body stays in this state. And since it’s the role of CBD to regulate the endocannabinoid system, we can say that CBD products are helpful in promoting homeostasis and good overall wellbeing.

There are enough challenges to face as a new mom, and it’s crucial to take care of the factors that are within personal control. While mainstream science is yet to fully appreciate the ECS, it’s a powerful system that requires regulation, and this can be achieved through safe means.

Are there any risks for new moms taking CBD?

Indeed, with the World Health Organization’s comments that CBD poses no risk of abuse, it is a safe substance to experiment with. However, since CBD is not completely understood, there is a lack of scientific evidence on whether it’s appropriate to consume while breastfeeding. Interestingly, research has found that endocannabinoids contain breastmilk, meaning that CBD could affect this process.

Also, for those taking other medication, it’s worth checking with a cannabis-informed doctor how CBD may respond with it – the metabolization rate of some drugs is known to slow down when CBD is present.

But CBD will not cause the horrible side effects that comes from many strong prescription drugs, and plenty of new mothers are using the non-psychoactive chemical successfully to manage postnatal depression.

Stay within the law when using CBD

CBD is certainly garnering wider acceptance than the entire cannabis plant because of its non-psychoactive status. We have seen an embracement of CBD in the United States over recent years, and hemp-derived CBD products can be found all over the country. CBD stores in Europe are also popping up and continued growth of the industry seems a surety.

Singapore, however, is taking a slower approach to medical cannabis and CBD. But progress is coming. The National Research Foundation, which is operated by the Singaporean government, is researching the medical benefits of cannabinoids with a focus on developing synthetic compounds.

Please remember that the contents of this article are meant to be informative and educational – not a substitute for official medical advice. CBD is considered safe and non-addictive by the World Health Organization, but it’s best to consult a doctor before attempting to self-medicate.

 

How Medical Cannabis and CBD can be used to Manage Postpartum Depression

Postpartum (or postnatal) depression is a mood disorder that affects many new parents, and new moms in particular. Scientists are yet to establish a cause for this condition, which can induce intense feelings of sadness and anxiety. And unfortunately, the lack of attention that this area receives means moms are often left to deal with postpartum depression themselves – the anxiety can also cause feelings of inadequacy and embarrassment which can make a new mother reluctant to speak out and seek a suitable treatment.

Anti-depressants are available; however, these can be accompanied with harsh side effects. Counselling is also recommended and talking therapy can certainly help to get to the root of anxieties and various uncomfortable emotions. But interestingly, an increasing number of new moms are turning to medical cannabis and specifically the primary non-psychoactive component of the plant, cannabidiol (CBD).

How Medical Cannabis and CBD can be used to Manage Postpartum Depression

CBD is a therapeutic compound that doesn’t produce any of the psychoactive effects cannabis is historically known for, and there is growing evidence that this cannabinoid exhibits anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects. A 2014 study from the Institute of Psychiatry at the Federal University of Rio concluded that CBD had these effects by reviewing animal studies which looked at these aspects of the compound.

Cannabis scientists made a significant breakthrough in the 1990s, with the discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which we now know is responsible for regulating a plethora of mental and physiological functions in the body. It just so happens that cannabinoids, a group of compounds found almost uniquely in the cannabis plant, can interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the ECS.

America’s Postpartum Depression Problem

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered some worrying data during a study conducted between 2004 and 2005, estimating that around 600,000 American women were battling the condition. This figure was reached by asking mothers in 17 states to take part in a self-reporting study.

The research found that around 1 in 7 new US moms either had or had gone through postpartum depression, with the condition affecting young mothers and those with low incomes and education levels more than most. Researchers have speculated that the extent of the postpartum depression could be even greater, given that it was a self-reporting study. Not to mention, new moms whose symptoms reflected postpartum anxiety more than postpartum depression were not considered by this research.

How Medical Cannabis and CBD can be used to Manage Postpartum Depression

Depression can be a very difficult mental disorder to overcome on its own, and the pressure and responsibility of being a new mother can make things even tougher. The CDC has noted doubting one’s ability to be a successful mother, guilt for “not being a good mom” and feelings of disconnect from the baby as common symptoms of postpartum depression. Sadly, Postpartum Progress reports that around 85 percent of new moms with PPD do not seek professional help for their condition – perhaps some of this is due to a mother not even knowing that they are experiencing a pain which is ultimately treatable.

The decision to take a cannabis-derived medicine as a new mom can be challenging, even despite the gradually declining stigma surrounding the herb. Many are still unaware about the non-psychoactive potential of cannabis, and that it’s now possible to get the plant’s therapeutic benefits without feeling high. Furthermore, the argument that cannabis can cause memory problems and cognitive impairment no longer holds, with CBD and other cannabinoids, such as cannabigerol (CBG), displaying neuroprotective properties.

However, before going further, it is important to point out that research into cannabis and new mothers is thin on the ground, and that concerns about the psychoactive THC compound are very valid. It would not be recommended for a new mother to take THC, even though there is no research to suggest that cannabinoids pose a neonatal risk.

But even for treating general depression, THC can be problematic, with the compound inducing anxiety and paranoia in some due to its stifling of the GABA transmitter. GABA has a calming effect on the brain, and interestingly GABA receptor activation helps CBD to produce its anxiolytic effects. It’s important to realize that until recently, researchers had nowhere near this level of understanding of cannabis, and how it can be harnessed safely to eliminate side effects. Now various strains are developed, some high in CBD, others high in THC to combat various conditions.

However, a 2005 study found that endocannabinoids – cannabinoid-like compounds made by the human body – are present in breastmilk. Whether phytocannabinoids from cannabis could affect this is unknown, but it is a crucial area for future research.

Therefore, it’s understandable that a new mother would be apprehensive about medicating with any kind of cannabis, even if it’s non-psychoactive. Moreover, the American Academy of Pediatrics has noted that the breastfeeding process can be stressful enough as it is for new moms with postpartum depression. That said, there is the potential for a CBD-rich cannabis oil product to ease a mother’s depression and improve her confidence as a parent beyond breastfeeding.

PPD can have a detrimental effect on a new mother’s ability to form a strong bond with her baby. Therefore, if it’s possible that CBD can help with that, then it’s worth considering. Using formulated milk over breastfed milk is perhaps a better option for a mother than battling on without a treatment for PPD and not making that vital attachment with her new-born. Of course, for those that see breastfeeding as an absolute necessity, CBD may not be the solution. But there is no strict guide to parenting and many mothers who have embraced CBD are delighted with the results.

Global CBD told the story of a new mother who uses cannabis products that contain 99 percent CBD and no THC to manage her PPD. In a video on Vimeo, she comments how the CBD helped reduce anxiety, back pain and more. And perhaps most importantly, it allowed her to be “relaxed with her kids.

Isolated CBD may be preferable to whole-plant cannabis

cannabis

In the battle for cannabis legalization, activists have always zoned in on the benefits over whole-plant and full-spectrum extracts over products where the cannabinoids have been isolated. This is because the synergy created by all 400-plus cannabis compounds interacting may enhance the overall therapeutic value of cannabis. However, in the case of postpartum depression, an isolated CBD oil tincture, or one that also contains non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBG, could be better. Not least because an isolate is less complex and therefore better understood, enabling mothers to medicate with increased confidence.

It’s important for any young mother suffering from postpartum depression or anxiety to speak with a doctor before contemplating self-medication. While the World Health Organization deemed that CBD “does not appear to have abuse potential or cause harm” in December 2017, it’s possible that the compound may influence other medication due to its effects on the metabolism. Furthermore, medication is not always the best remedy for patients with mental health disorders, with talking therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) sometimes proving better.

But it seems clear that, when used responsibly, CBD can have a positive effect for new mothers who are afflicted with postpartum depression, anxiety and more.

 

 

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