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These days, it’s gaining momentum in the world of health and wellness. You’ll find it in everything from skin creams and cosmetics to foods, drinks and even sleep aids. If you guessed that I’m talking about CBD, you’re right. But what exactly is CBD? And is CBD safe during pregnancy? Let’s take a look. 

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, then diluting the essence with a neutral, usually edible oil. Unlike THC (pot’s most active ingredient, and the one that gets you high), CBD is touted for its buzz-free medicinal properties.

Earlier this month, I saw a patient in her first trimester who uses CBD oil cream to help relieve sore muscles after a busy day. She raved about the product to me, pointing out that it’s over-the-counter, smells good and is non-narcotic. In her words: “It’s not dangerous for me or my growing fetus.” She sounded just like a CBD advertisement! 

I couldn’t help but think… How true is this? How can pregnant women take this chance when there’s no studies done on how it affects fetuses? There wasn’t much that I could say to her, though. Research about CBD and its risks didn’t exist.

Until now! Yes… Finally an evidence-based study is here to the rescue! On November 5, 2019 the first official report came out on CBD use in early pregnancy and its effects on early fetal development. A new study from UNC School of Medicine researchers published in Scientific Reports, a Nature Research journal, demonstrates how using synthetic or natural CBD just once during early pregnancy can cause growth issues in a developing embryo. Lab studies were completed on mice, which mirror the fetal development of a human baby. According to the study, “the brain and facial developmental effects caused by one-time exposure to CBs – CBD and THC (the primary ingredients of marijuana) – are very similar to what is seen in fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).” 

BINGO! I can now back up my suspicions with evidence. My opinion about CBD may change in the future once more studies are completed. But for now, if a patient asks me if CBD is safe during pregnancy, my answer is absolutely not!

If you read this whole article, thank you! Please share it on your social media accounts, and follow me for more stories about evidence-based medicine… not hype and gossip!

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Yuliya Boruch

Dr. Yuliya Boruch

Yuliya Boruch is a graduate of Hunter College Nursing Program and the SUNY Downstate Midwifery Program, where she received both Clinical and Academic Excellence Awards. Mrs. Boruch is nationally accredited by the American Midwifery Certification Board, and is a member of the American College of Nurse Midwives. She is also a certified Obstetrics and Gynecology Nurse Practitioner. Mrs. Boruch has been a Midwife since 2004, and has worked in a private practice settings as well as at Beth Israel Medical Center. Introduced to Midwifery in Brooklyn during her early student clinical Midwifery rotations at Coney Island Hospital, Mrs. Boruch has grown fond of the patient population she serves in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. She lives with her husband in Queens and is raising three wonderful children.

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