Cannabidiol (CBD) has long been studied as a potential treatment for postpartum depression (PPD). PPD is a common and serious illness that affects many new mothers, characterized by feelings of sadness, fatigue, anxiety, and other unpleasant symptoms.
Recent studies have shown that using CBD can help reduce the effects of PPD, offering an innovative and alternative treatment to traditional medications.
Ongoing research indicates that CBD could be a game-changer for new mothers who are struggling with postpartum depression. While further research is needed to understand how CBD truly works to treat PPD, the current evidence suggests that it could be a safe and viable option.
As curiosity surrounding the effects of CBD on PPD reaches a fever pitch, those suffering from postpartum depression are intrigued as to whether it might be a safe option for them. Let’s dive into what the experts and research hitherto have to say.
WHAT IS POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION OR ANXIETY?
After giving birth, most women experience an emotional rollercoaster. For some women, however, the lows may be much more severe than the average and could be indicative of postpartum depression, anxiety, or baby blues. Research has shown that 85% of women go through at least one of these conditions during the postpartum period.
In most cases, the symptoms of baby blues are mild and fleeting, and can be handled without any treatment. Other reports suggest that 1 in 9 women actually suffer from postpartum anxiety, which is the most common of the three conditions. It is important to be aware of the differences between baby blues, postpartum anxiety, and postpartum depression in order to seek appropriate help and treatment.
The Baby Blues: Up to 85% of new mothers may experience the baby blues, which is considered a normal part of postpartum and includes feelings of mild anxiety, irritability, and tearfulness. The blues should peak after the fourth or fifth day after delivery.
Postpartum Anxiety: This is an intense form of worry that could lead to panic attacks. It is important for mothers experiencing these symptoms to get help if their anxiety affects their ability to care for their child.
Postpartum Depression (PPD): This condition is marked by intense sadness, loss of interest in activities, guilt, worthlessness, fatigue, changes in appetite, and even suicidal thoughts. It usually occurs within the first three months after delivery, and it is important for women to seek help if they feel overwhelmed.
It is estimated that up to 20% of women experience PPD, the most severe of the aforementioned three post-birth conditions. In additional to the previously mentioned symptoms, PPD can also cause feelings of guilt or worthlessness, as well as insomnia or sleeping too much. Women with PPD may also experience difficulty bonding with their baby and struggle to perform normal daily tasks.
Treatment for PPD often includes counseling, changes in lifestyle such as getting more rest and exercise, and in some cases, medication. Supportive family and friends can also be very helpful when dealing with PPD. However, antidepressants are generally warned against for new mothers and rest and exercise may not be enough to treat the symptoms. This is why new mothers are now looking to alternative remedies to treat PPD, one of which is CBD.
ALTERNATIVE NATURAL TREATMENTS FOR PPD
It is vital for new mothers suffering from any type of mood disorder to emphasize self-care. There are a variety of natural remedies available to assist with postpartum depression. The first is exercise, which has been shown to help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety as well as lift your mood. Taking time each day to get out and go for a walk or do some gentle yoga can be especially beneficial. Eating a healthy diet is also important, as the right foods can help the body adjust to the new hormonal changes that come with pregnancy and childbirth.
Herbal remedies such as passionflower, chamomile, kava, lavender, or lemon balm can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and aid in relaxation. Acupuncture has also been known to be effective in helping to ease any postpartum depression related symptoms. Finally, taking time for self-care is also essential. Prioritizing time for activities that bring joy and relaxation such as reading, writing, gardening, or even taking a bath can help to improve mental wellness.
Another possible treatment for postpartum depression gaining traction is, of course, CBD. Preliminary studies suggest that CBD could be beneficial in reducing the anxiety, depression and insomnia associated with PPD. CBD is also known to reduce inflammation and help promote relaxation, two conditions common in women experiencing PPD. Additionally, CBD has no known side effects, making it a safe option for women who are breastfeeding.
THE LOW DOWN ON HOW CBD CAN HELP WITH PPD
CBD is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant that has been found to provide both physical and mental benefits for a range of ailments. Research has shown that CBD has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antidepressant effects that can work to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
In particular, one study from 2019 revealed that when taken over eight weeks, CBD was found to be effective in reducing the symptoms of PPD significantly. CBD works by interacting with the body’s naturally-occurring endocannabinoid system, which plays an essential role in maintaining homeostasis throughout the body.
By interacting with this system, CBD works to reduce inflammation and boost mood, creating a calming effect. It is also thought to increase levels of dopamine and serotonin, two hormones that play an important part in regulating emotions such as happiness, sadness and anxiety. “There’s lots of evidence out there that indicates how CBD may assist with mood issues,” The Bloom Method dietitian Sarah-Jane Sandy said in her blog The Benefits of CBD Oil for Women.
When using CBD as a treatment for postpartum depression, it is important to pay attention to the dosage and follow the doctor’s instructions. As with any treatment, it is also paramount to monitor one’s progress and consult a doctor if needed. Research is ongoing, and more studies will be needed to understand the potential benefits and risks of using CBD to treat postpartum depression.
CAN YOU USE CBD WHILE BREASTFEEDING?
While studies have demonstrated that THC may be passed on to a baby through a mother’s breast milk, CBD does not appear to act in the same manner. As of yet, however, research has been limited.
Topical treatments are seen as a safe option since they are not absorbed into the circulation. CBD salves, for example, can alleviate aches and pains, particularly stiff shoulders, soreness, and nursing discomfort. Many also have a soothing aroma, which aids in the relief of anxiety.
It’s also important to remember that a full spectrum CBD product will always be more effective, but if you prefer to avoid the low levels of THC found in full-spectrum formulas, you could try a broad-spectrum formula that has been further processed to remove the low levels of THC or a CBD isolate that only contains CBD and no supporting cannabinoids or terpenes.
However, it is always recommended to speak to your health care practitioner if considering taking any form of CBD while breastfeeding. The doctor is a position to provide advice on the potential risks and benefits based on an individual’s health and medical history. In some cases, a doctor may prescribe certain forms of cannabis-based medicine for specific medical conditions that cannot be addressed with other treatments, but any such use should be carefully monitored.
THE BEST WAYS TO USE CBD FOR PPD
The best way to use CBD for postpartum depression is to start with a low dose and gradually increase if needed. It is important to consult a doctor before trying any form of CBD, as their knowledge and experience can help determine the best type and dosage for an individual. And, because CBD products can come in different forms such as tinctures, capsules, or topical creams, it is also essential to consider which CBD is best for you.
It is also important to remember that all CBD products are not created equal. When choosing a CBD product, be sure to look for a product with a reliable source, third-party testing and lab reports to ensure quality and purity. Additionally, research has suggested that a combination of CBD and other natural remedies such as exercise, yoga, acupuncture, massage, and diet changes can help reduce the symptoms of postpartum depression.
THE BOTTOM LINE ON CBD FOR PPD
All in all, CBD appears to be a viable option for postpartum depression. While more research is needed to understand the full effects of CBD, it seems to provide promise in reducing feelings of anxiety, depression, and insomnia associated with PPD. Before trying CBD as a treatment, it is important to consult a doctor and discuss any potential risks or side effects.
Additionally, care should be taken when selecting a product, as not all CBD products are created equal. Finally, combining CBD with other lifestyle remedies such as exercise, yoga, acupuncture, massage, and diet changes can help promote relaxation and reduce the severity of postpartum depression symptoms.
All of this indicates that while using it to treat postpartum mood problems, consumers must be cautious. Look for lab-tested full-spectrum CBD (ideally certified organic) and begin with a modest dose, gradually increasing to a level that seems comfortable for you. If in doubt, consult your healthcare practitioner first.