Giving birth to a healthy, beautiful child is the dream of every mother. However, there’s no way to prepare for the darkness that is postpartum depression. It can range in severity from mild baby blues to severe depression. When it’s more serious, it can induce symptoms in new moms such as extreme anxiety, mood swings, crying spells, thinking about hurting someone else including your baby, anger, and much more.
The symptoms of postpartum depression can last anywhere from a few days after labor to as much as a weeks, and even months beyond especially if you haven’t treated it. Untreated postpartum depression can actually be a dangerous situation for both mother and child, which is why medical help is necessary.
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Postpartum depression is more common than we think. According to experts, around 85% of mothers will go through some kind of mood swings after giving birth. Despite this, treatment can be tricky because of all the new things a mom is going through especially with physical change, lack of sleep, and the fact that you are breastfeeding so it isn’t advisable to take mood stabilizers when doing so. Ensuring that you get proper self-care and rest is essential for nipping postpartum depression in the bud, and natural treatment.
For many moms, cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive compound in marijuana, has been a lifesaver.
How CBD Can Help Moms Fight Postpartum Depression
CBD has been attracting more women than ever because of its ability to help with a wide range of women’s health issues. Millions of women are now taking CBD, and companies have even created entire lines of product specifically focused on women’s health.
There have been numerous studies backing up CBD’s efficacy in treating depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. In one study from 2021 conducted by Realm of Caring (ROC), individuals who consumed artisanal CBD products were shown to have significant decreases in symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as better sleep and less pain. The study also clarified how much CBD was effective to treat mood disorders.
“The biggest misconception this study addresses is that CBD doses need to be between 400-600mg before positive psychiatric effects can be achieved,” explains Dr. Nicolas Schlienz, Realm of Caring’s Research Director. “We observed positive effects in people taking an average of only about 60 mg per day, 1/10 of that dose,” he added.
In a 2021 study, researchers analyzed the benefits of laboratory tested CBD over the course of six months on 279 subjects. The participants were suffering from moderate to extreme cases of anxiety, depression, and pain. Those who had more severe cases demonstrated great relief from taking CBD. “This study on CBD-rich products demonstrates the potential of RWE (real-world evidence) for the advancement of medical cannabis research and practice guidelines, especially in a world where CBD use is exponentially increasing but scientific data are limited. It revealed that CBD-rich treatments have a beneficial impact on patients with self-reported moderate or severe symptoms of pain, anxiety, or depression and overall wellbeing but not in patients with mild symptoms,” the authors wrote.
Unfortunately, as of the time of writing, there is still a lack of studies focused on the effects of CBD on breastfeeding mothers as well as the breastfed baby. Experts are still collecting data to determine if there is any impact. The studies we do have show that THC can be passed down to the baby through breastmilk, even though ancient cultures have been using THC even while breastfeeding (and still do, such as mothers in Jamaica). It’s worth stating that mothers already contain some level of cannabinoids in breast milk which are produced by our very own endocannabinoid system.
The presence of endocannabinoids are important because they contribute to the development of babies. They are vital in stimulating appetite and encouraging babies to suckle, and it’s widely demonstrated that breast-fed babies are clearly much calmer after they feed. It is a known fact that endocannabinoids are present in breastmilk though scientists are still unsure which ones these are.
Mothers who are interested in using CBD for postpartum depression are recommended to talk to their health care providers. It’s also important to do your own research on products and brands, as it’s always recommended to choose CBD products that are made by reputable manufacturers. Using isolate and clean, organic CBD is your best chance to avoid consuming those that may contain harmful contaminants including bacteria, pesticides, and heavy metals. These can cause harm to the baby as they are transmitted through the breast milk. You also want to consume hemp-derived CBD that doesn’t contain any traces of psychoactive THC.
Currently, the FDA still advises against the use of any cannabis product while breastfeeding. But we hope that new research changes that. At the end of the day, this is a choice between breastfeeding moms and their doctor.
For those who want peace of mind, you can opt to use topical CBD products because these don’t enter the bloodstream the way that edibles, inhaled CBD, and drinks do. In fact, many moms also find relief using topical CBD to help with sore nipples and muscles.
In addition, there are other things that moms can do to help speed up healing from postpartum depression. These include getting regular mild exercise, asking for help, working with a therapist, and maintaining relationships with loved ones during your recovery.
This article originally appeared on Cannabis.net and has been reposted with permission.