CBD and Breastfeeding — Is It Safe?

Published July 07, 2021
CBD and Breastfeeding — Is It Safe? - Secret Nature

Unless you’ve been in the military or suffered horrific abuse, you’ve probably never been through anything as difficult as caring for a newborn. The latest research indicates that breastfeeding until at least age 2 is best for developing babies, but that’s a long time to go without the things you like best.

In the end, take this guide as inspiration to stick to your guns and avoid CBD while breastfeeding. We still don’t know enough about what CBD does to babies to be confident that combining this cannabinoid with breastfeeding is safe, and we’ll explain why as we go on.

Is it safe to use CBD while breastfeeding?

No, we would not say it is safe to use CBD while breastfeeding a newborn, infant, or toddler. We don’t know if CBD could pose the risk of developmental harm while breastfeeding, and when it comes to your child, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

In the future, moderate CBD use while pregnant may be deemed safe by relevant medical authorities. Based on concerns about the effects of THC on developing babies, though, there’s currently a degree of healthy skepticism regarding the effects CBD might exert in utero.

CBD & pregnancy — quick recap

Breastfeeding and pregnancy are part of the same bundle of baby-related activities, and CBD is something you should avoid just as much during pregnancy as while you’re breastfeeding. The majority of development, of course, occurs when your baby is still inside your body, but we’re starting to understand just how delicate human beings remain for years (or even decades) after they’re expelled from the womb.

Cannabinoid products of the future will take into account each individual’s current place in life. It might be the case that a particular combination of cannabinoids is safe during pregnancy while all others are not. Cannabis science remains in its infancy, and until more research is done, we just don’t know how any cannabinoids affect the developing mind.

Is CBD harmful to babies?

CBD could be harmful to babies whether you administer this cannabinoid directly or indirectly expose your child to CBD via breastfeeding. There is no particular evidence indicating that CBD is harmful to developing children, but there’s also no countervailing evidence placing CBD in the clear.

When it comes to your child’s health (but not the court of law), the presiding principle should be guilty until proven innocent — unsafe until proven safe. CBD might be safe for babies, and we’ll examine why in a moment. CBD might just as well be harmful to developing children in ways we simply don’t understand yet, making an abundance of caution the only prudent approach.

Is CBD safe for babies?

It’s possible that medical science of the future will determine that CBD — or at least the dramatically watered-down concentration of CBD present in breast milk — is safe for babies. There are a few fundamental reasons for this supposition that aren’t just the result of too many pipe dreams. Let’s list them out:

1. CBD is different from THC

When used the wrong way, THC has the potential to harm. CBD, though, is non-intoxicating, it appears to be non-addictive, and it’s also remarkably non-toxic. You could probably hurt yourself with CBD, but you’d have a hard time, and no matter how much CBD you use, you’ll never get high.

2. Scientists haven’t discovered any significant side effects of CBD

A while back, a study made a stir when it indicated CBD might cause liver damage. The methods of this study were flawed, however, and the results have never been repeated. Otherwise, journal review after journal review confirm that no major side effects of CBD have yet been confirmed by the international scientific community — quite the shock, we’re sure.

3. The mother’s body is a pretty good filter

It’s probably the case that no doctor will ever recommend administering CBD (or any other cannabinoid) directly to babies or infants. Toddlers could be another matter, but that’s not for us to judge. All we know for certain is that a mother’s body is designed to weaken and denature substances that might harm a baby before they make their way into breast milk.

Does CBD show up in breast milk?

Depending on how much CBD you use on a regular basis, this cannabinoid might show up in a sample of breast milk if you had it tested. It’s likely that the concentrations would be measured in the parts-per-million (PPM) instead of milligrams (mg), though, meaning that your baby wouldn’t actually consume enough CBD to have any effect.

The only conceivable situation in which this wouldn’t be the case is if a mother consumed concentrations of CBD close to a gram (1000mg) per day. If that were the case, bioactively significant amounts of CBD might make their way into breast milk. Any CBD user knows, however, that consuming such a dose would be very difficult if not impossible. 

Can babies get high from breastfeeding?

Not with CBD, but the potential for infant intoxication is certainly there if a mother uses THC while breastfeeding. Sure, the amount of THC that actually ends up in the baby’s body is minuscule, but we don’t know if any amount of this cannabinoid (or any cannabinoid, for that matter) is safe for developing babies.

How long does it take CBD to leave your system?

As a lipid, the CBD molecule has a tendency to store in your fatty tissues after absorption, meaning that CBD can remain in your system for 30-90 days after ingestion. Water-based substances are excreted quickly, but cannabinoids like CBD tend to stick around, potentially showing up in bodily fluids like urine and breast milk.

The amount of time CBD stays in your system is based on how much CBD you used and for how long. If you only use 25mg of CBD once, for instance, any traces might disappear within three days. If you use 100mg of CBD per day for a year, though, trace concentrations might remain in your system for more than 30 days.

CBD & breastfeeding — the bottom line

Until we know more, CBD isn’t something you should use while breastfeeding. If you want to be absolutely certain your child is not exposed to CBD at all, consider waiting 60 days after stopping breastfeeding before you use CBD again. Such an overabundance of caution is not likely to be borne out by the science, however, as we learn more about the more-benign cannabinoids in Cannabis sativa and how they affect both developing and adult bodies.
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