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Ask A Doctor – CBD & Pregnancy – Part 1

Written by Dr. Leah Zachar
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Our future is our children. They are the most vulnerable members of our society. The children who are most vulnerable are those who haven’t been born yet…

That’s why, by popular demand, we decided to focus on the all-important subject of using CBD during pregnancy, and after it, to ensure proper healing and wellbeing.

Question: Can CBD may help reduce the contractions of preterm labor?

CBD acts in the same way that oxytocin antagonists work. CBD reduces myometrial contractions (uterine contractions).
Therefore, yes. CBD may help reduce the contractions of preterm labor.
Ref:
“Effects of abnormal cannabidiol on oxytocin-induced myometrial contractility” Society for Reproduction and Fertility, 12 January 2010

Question: Is anandamide, the main agent in CBD that helps adults, also important for the fetus?

Anandamide is vital for the fetus to grow and develop normally.
The neural development of the growing fetus requires a healthy endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoids coordinate the stem cells to differentiate into neurons and guide the axons to migrate and form synapses.
Anandamide also protects the brain of the developing fetus from neuronal loss – very similar to how anandamide protects the adult brain from neuronal loss after a stroke.
After the fetus is born, the cannabinoids present in the brain of the newborn triggers the number one survival reflex – the reflex to suckle on the breast.

Question: I am thinking of getting pregnant. CBD seems to have no downside to it. Now, this is a controversial issue – is CBD safe to take during the first trimester, and if it is not…why not?

The first trimester is a delicate time for the unborn child.
This is the time that the organs are being formed. CBD is not advised during the first trimester of pregnancy.

The reason is because CBD decreases the P-gp hormone & increases the BCRP hormone. Both are important proteins that protect the growing fetus. Both are in the placenta.
P-gp protects the fetus from exposure to harmful drugs or medications that the mother may take. BCRP transports medications, hormone precursors, naturally occurring carcinogens, & apoptotic molecules from the mother’s circulation to the fetus’s circulation.
Exposing the fetus to CBD during the first trimester during this vulnerable period when the organs are being formed needs to be weighed very carefully and fully discussed with the obstetrician.

Ref:
1.“Cannabidiol changes P-gp and BCRP expression in trophoblast cell lines” PeerJ, Published online 2013 Sep 12
2.“In vitro and ex vivo evidence for modulation of P-glycoprotein activity by progestins.” Biochemical Pharmacology. 2004; 68:2409–2416.
3.“P-glycoprotein expression of the human placenta during pregnancy.” Placenta. 2005; 26:268–270.
4.“Structure, function and regulation of P-glycoprotein and its clinical relevance in drug disposition.” Xenobiotica. 2008; 38:802–832
5.“Drug transporters in the human blood-placental barrier.” British Journal of Pharmacology. 2009; 158:665–678.

Question: Is THC safe to take while pregnant?

THC, whether as “pure” THC”, or THC taken in combination with CBD is not safe for the fetus.

Fetuses exposed to THC taken by the mother may show permanent neurological changes that effects behavior, memory, decision making skills, executive function, & visual perception.
Why?

Because THC binds to the cannabinoid receptors in the fetal brain.
When the fetal brain is repeatedly exposed to THC, it affects the fetal cortical circuitry.
In other words, THC disrupts the neurological development of the fetus
.
Ref:
“Miswiring the brain: Δ9‐tetrahydrocannabinol disrupts cortical development by inducing an SCG10/stathmin‐2 degradation pathway” The EMBO Journal (2014)

Question: I smoke “weed” to help with my PTSD”. My girlfriend said that it will decrease my sperm count. Is that true?

Yes. THC decreases the sperm count. In a well-done study, the use of THC more than once a week was associated with a 28% lower sperm count.
When the men abstained from THC, after a few weeks, the sperm count returned to normal.
This study was done in HEALTHY men; therefore, the results of a lower sperm count cannot be ascribed to unhealthy lifestyles or concomitant use of alcohol, nicotine, or drugs.
Ref:
“Association Between Use of Marijuana and Male Reproductive Hormones and Semen Quality: A Study Among 1,215 Healthy Young Men” American Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 182, Issue 6, 15 September 2015, Pages 473–481

Question: I have anxiety & insomnia. Sometimes I smoke “weed”. I’m a little over 3 months pregnant. My doctor told me I should switch to CBD oil because THC is addictive. Is that true?

THC is addictive. It is unwise to take anything that is addictive while pregnant, because what the mother ingests, whether it be intravenously, inhaled, or orally, is fed to the unborn child as well. CBD is not addictive. CBD is safe.

As per your request, we are moving the weekly In-house doctor session from Thursday at 1 pm EST, to Thursday at 3 pm EST (That’s UK’s 20:00, NYC’s 15:00 and LA’s 12:00)

If you want to read more from Dr Zachar, check out: ‘Ask A Doctor – CBD Safety, Side Effects & Correct Dosing

[maxbutton id=”10″] [Image credit: Pixabay]

 

About the author

Dr. Leah Zachar

Dr. Leah Zachar, M.D. is a physician who worked for nearly thirty years in Internal Medicine.
She currently is a scientific adviser to CBD Testers. Dr. Zachar believes that there is much that medical cannabis, and cannabidiol in particular can offer to traditional medicine.

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