Can CBD Products Help Manage Postpartum Depression?
As curiosity around CBD reaches a fever pitch, those suffering from postpartum depression want to know if it might be a safe option for them. Here’s what the experts say.
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Thanks in great part to forthcoming celebrities like Chrissy Teigen and social media connecting more parents than ever before, the subject of postpartum depression (PPD) is becoming less stigmatized. And it’s about time, considering the fact that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research, nationally, about one in nine women experience symptoms, although in some states, the prevalence is as many as one in five. Meanwhile, research out of the University of British Columbia found that nearly 17 percent of new moms are diagnosed with postpartum anxiety (PPA).
With so many cases, it’s no wonder more people are exploring their options. While prescription antidepressants and other pharmaceuticals might be an option for some, many are gravitating to CBD, or cannabidiol. The component of either a marijuana or hemp plant is non-psychoactive, unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)—which only comes from marijuana—and has been popping up in therapeutic products that boast anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-psychotic, anti-convulsant, and antidepressant properties.
Here’s what you need to know about CBD for PPD.
- RELATED: What is Postpartum Depression?
What the Science Says
Although excitement about CBD is reaching a fever pitch these days, published research data on its efficacy for treatment of PPD is lacking, says Felice Gersh, M.D., a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist and author of
“CBD has anecdotal reports that it can help improve mood disorders, and there is a small amount of scientific data to support its use for depression, and more data supporting its use for anxiety,” Dr. Gersh notes.
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How does it work? Researchers believe the mechanism by which CBD might offer significant mood benefits involves its ability to turn certain receptors of the human endocannabinoid system (ECS) on or off. The ECS’ purpose: To maintain bodily homeostasis, or restore balance while controlling stress and pain, according to Mary Clifton, M.D., an internal medicine doctor in New York City.
Dr. Gersh elaborates, “CBD may affect the receptors which are involved with serotonin, a powerful neurotransmitter related to mood. here are endocannabinoid receptors throughout the female brain and CBD has the potential to improve brain healthy function and calm nerves.”
Additionally, research has shown that PPD sufferers have 5-HT1A receptors, a subtype of serotonin receptor, that are less likely to bind to the feel-good neurotransmitter.
“It is possible that women who have been diagnosed with postpartum depression may not be triggering that happiness/well-being biosignal pathway,” says Robert Flannery, PhD, founder of Dr. Robb Farms. “More research is definitely needed here, but the pieces are in place to form a testable hypothesis that states that the use of a compound—ahem, such as CBD, ahem—could help trigger that happiness pathway for patients who for some reason or another have trouble triggering that pathway.”
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What Experts Say
Experts warn that people should always seek medical support as opposed to self-diagnosis or self-treatment when it comes to postpartum depression. It’s important to remember that clinical PPD is a serious medical diagnosis that should not be taken lightly, points out Syeda Amna Husain, M.D., FAAP, founder of Pure Direct Pediatrics.
“Treatment should be sought as soon as possible, and I highly recommend patients steer toward proven treatment, which is generally a three-pronged approach: social support, psychotherapy and medication,” Dr. Husain says. “Symptoms of mild PPD can often be managed with just social support and talk therapy, but if someone is struggling with moderate or severe postpartum depression, they should consider medication. There are many medication options which are very safe in pregnancy and breastfeeding, and people can discuss these options with their medical provider.”
When it comes to using CBD products to treat postpartum depression, the lack of research raises a bevy of safety questions for most doctors.
“Powerful plants can impact any and all aspects of the baby’s development,” Dr. Gersh points out. “As receptors for the endocannabinoid system are widespread throughout the body, along with other receptors that CBD may interact with, it’s simply unknown what long-term effects may be created by the use of CBD in a nursing mom or a pregnant woman.”
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That said, anyone who is nursing their child would do well to steer clear of CBD products. If you’re not nursing? You could be a perfect candidate for CBD when it comes to managing chronic pain, depression, anxiety or insomnia, Dr. Clifton says. She also notes that, apart from nursing and an allergy to CBD or cannabis, there are no significant safety concerns.
The Best Way to Use CBD
Start by seeking medical advice from a health care provider who can discuss the potential benefits or risks of trying CBD to treat postpartum depression.
“Ask what they know about CBD,” Frank advises. “If your doctor is not familiar with CBD, I’d seek out a practitioner that is. If a woman is struggling with PPD and she’s looking for options, she should explore them all and make the choice that best aligns with her goals for physical, mental and emotional well-being.”
If you get the green light from your doctor, Dr. Clifton advises that patients who are just starting out to try a CBD tincture, which will offer rapid onset relief (usually within nine minutes).
“When you’re taking a gummy bear or soft gel, the oral ingestion can take up to 90 minutes for onset of action, and that’s often too long to tell if the product is working for you,” she notes. “Once you determine what dose works for you, switching to a soft gel is often easier for some individuals.”
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Bear in mind that mild anxiety seems more responsive to CBD than depression does, Dr. Gersh notes. But anyone who is postpartum and suffering from depression would do well to seek professional guidance.
Megan Ellow, LCSW, who sees patients at Nest Counseling & Wellness, a private practice that focuses on perinatal mental health, agrees. “CBD, like other adjunctive treatments, could be a great option if someone finds it helpful for depression or anxiety,” says Ellow. “But postpartum mood and anxiety disorders often have many other layers to it which should be addressed through more evidenced based treatment options such as social support and talk therapy. Many cases of PPD or PPA are not just treating the depressive or anxious feelings but about addressing the huge loss of identity many new parents face, the deep isolation that parents feel when cooped up with a baby or the pain of unresolved childhood wounds. CBD doesn’t address those deeper issues.”
The Bottom Line
Seeking medical help for postpartum depression is essential for getting the right treatment, and anyone considering using CBD postpartum should consult their health care provider as they’ll be familiar with your medical history, notes Maggie Frank, a mom who is also the National Educator for PlusCBD Oil.
Postpartum Anxiety Or Depression
When it comes to not feeling like yourself after giving birth, postpartum depression isn’t the only diagnosis. You could have the baby blues, postpartum anxiety, or postpartum depression. Here’s a quick look at all three terms including a few suggestions on what to do next. This is not intended for self-diagnosis but for a better understanding of your symptoms.
What Is The Difference Between Postpartum Depression And Anxiety?
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (MMD) only distinguish between postpartum depression and major depressive disorders. However, most mental health professionals agree there are three conditions women could be struggling with post-pregnancy.
Baby Blues—this can last for about 2 weeks and is often caused by the rapid shift in post-pregnancy hormones. Also, the overwhelming experience of giving birth and the life change of having a baby at home.
Postpartum Depression (PPD)—this is an intense feeling of overwhelm that lasts more than 2 weeks. Symptoms include not feeling like yourself, feeling out of control, questioning being a parent, or feeling numb. Even thoughts of self-harm or harming your infant. Symptoms can vary and often last up to a year. Moms can have PPD even if they have never struggled with depression.
Postpartum Anxiety—also referred to as perinatal generalized anxiety disorder, is a loss of normalcy, balance, and calm. It can include overwhelming worry, agitation, and racing thoughts. For example, the “what if” worries of the dangers in the world or anxiety of leaving your baby with someone else. Moms can have postpartum anxiety if they’ve never struggled with anxiety. Symptoms can last a year or more.
Approximately, 15 percent of new moms experience perinatal anxiety, and up to 20 percent experience postpartum depression. Moms can experience both anxiety and depression at the same time.
Is Postpartum Anxiety A Disability?
If not treated, new mom anxiety can worsen, lead to OCD, and even depression. If your symptoms last more than 2 weeks, include thoughts of self-harm or harming your baby, or are extreme it is important to seek out postpartum anxiety help.
For example, although you know your baby is safe with your partner or parents while you go grocery shopping, you are unable to leave your baby.
If you are diagnosed with either PPD or perinatal anxiety, you may be eligible for disability benefits.
Is Postpartum Depression Covered Under FMLA?
You may be able to return to work during your postpartum recovery, but yes, postpartum depression and anxiety are covered under FMLA. This can provide you with up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off. However, this includes your maternity time. Keep in mind that you must work for a company large enough to qualify for FMLA, and you must qualify for FMLA.
General criteria are as follows:
- The company must have 50 employees or more within a 75 mile radius.
- You must be employed for at least 12 months.
- You must have worked at least 1,250 hours over the last 12 months.
- And more
However, many smaller companies that do not meet the FMLA criteria provide some type of unpaid maternity leave. Ask if you are unsure.
What Helps With Anxiety After Having A Baby?
If your symptoms last more than 2 weeks, it’s best to seek out treatment for postpartum anxiety. It’s important to note that anxiety can begin weeks or months before giving birth.
Also, every pregnancy is different. You are 50 percent more likely to have anxiety or depression if you experienced it with a previous pregnancy. So, even if you only had the baby blues during your last pregnancy, you could have anxiety or depression next time. Or only in 1 of 3 pregnancies.
Both obstetricians and pediatricians are capable of assessing the difference between baby blues, anxiety, and depression. However, they don’t provide treatment. So, request a referral or search online for “postpartum anxiety therapist near me”.
Search for a therapist who specializes in postpartum mental health and who is a cultural and ethnic match.
How Long Does Anxiety Last After Having A Baby?
Most new mom’s anxiety will gradually fade over the next 12 months, faster if working with a therapist. If left untreated, it’s possible for anxiety to last longer or transition into an anxiety disorder. Chronic anxiety also increases your risk for depression.
Some women put off seeking out help because their loved ones are dismissive. Statements like “oh it’s just the baby blues” or “every new mom feels that way” can leave you feeling frustrated, misunderstood, and confused. Yes, life will be different with a new baby at home, but if you don’t feel like yourself for more than 2 weeks—seek out help.
How Long Should You Rest After Giving Birth?
Even after a cesarian, you’ll be asked to begin walking after you’ve had a bit of time to rest. However, most physicians suggest that you wait for at least 6 to 8 weeks before returning to strenuous physical activity. In the meantime, you can take strolls with your new baby and perform assigned exercises and stretches. Assigned exercises and stretches are designed to be gentle and restorative. These often include Kegels, abdominal exercises, and pelvic-floor strengthening.
How Long Did It Take For Your Stomach To Go Down After Birth?
Your body has just created the miracle of life and some of your stress may be related to getting your body back. The fact of the matter is, your body may never be the same. That’s ok!
It takes the average woman between 6 to 12 months to lose their baby weight. Oftentimes longer. But, even after your stomach tones up, you may have a stomach pouch. The odds of a pouch are higher if you’ve had more than one baby. If you have diastasis recti the postpartum workout video may help.
Can You Take CBD Postpartum?
Pregnant and breastfeeding moms should not take CBD. Once you have given birth and completed breastfeeding, Holmes Organics CBD may help to soothe your anxiety. In the meantime, your therapist will suggest a personalized mix of activities and exercises.
Are CBD Products a Potential Treatment for Postpartum Depression?
The curiosity around postpartum depression is rising – and many sufferers are in search of safe solutions.
Here’s what you need to know about the use of CBD products to ease postpartum depression.
Did you know that about one in ten women experiences some degree of postpartum depression from the time of giving birth for up to five years, if not treated properly?
In fact, this number can be as many as one in five in some places. The cases of postnatal depression are highly misunderstood due to the nature of its symptoms.
It can be easily confused for baby blues, lack of sleep, anxiety, etc. Another reason for it to be unreported or untreated is the stigma surrounding it.
Firstly, dealing with depression is challenging, and the additional responsibility of having a newborn can get in the way of gathering your emotions.
Well, thanks to social media, many celebrities and influencers are coming forward to talk about the reality of postpartum depression to spread more awareness amongst new parents.
Naturally, the subject is becoming less stigmatized and more mothers are now seeking safe solutions to treat PPD. Before we jump into options of treatments, let’s familiarize you with the symptoms, causes, and diagnosis of postpartum depression.
What Is Postpartum Depression (PPD)?
Postpartum depression (PPD) is another name for postnatal depression. It is categorized as a type of mood swing or disorder associated with giving birth.
The simplest way to identify even the mildest symptoms of PPD is not feeling like yourself emotionally and mentally. It is very common for women to feel vulnerable, sad, anxious, and emotionally down after they have given birth.
However, these feelings are mostly referred to as “baby blues”—particularly if they only last for a week or two. If they last longer than a span of two weeks or more, they could be considered to be the first symptoms of postpartum depression.
There is a very thin line between baby blues and PPD. It’s important for us to clearly state some of the signs and symptoms of PPD to eliminate the confusion around it.
Common signs and symptoms of PPD may include:
- Feeling down
- Bonding with your baby becomes difficult
- Fluctuations in your mood
- Uncontrollable thoughts of harming your baby or yourself
- Isolating from friends and family
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Excessive crying
- Lack of self-confidence
- Sleep deprivation, insomnia, or sleeping too much
- Lethargic or lack of energy
- Disconnection from hobbies
- Short-temper or anger issues
- Doubting your parenting
- Guilt or shame
- Not being able to think or make decisions
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Violent thoughts of ending your life
Being diagnosed with PPD clinically is no different from a standard depressive episode, not only in the UK but all over the world. The symptoms are often similar to typical depression.
Hence the criteria of PPD diagnosis must be met before one qualifies for treatment. With so many rising cases of postpartum depression, it’s become more common for sufferers to explore their options of treatment.
This brings us to the main point of this article—why are wholesale cbd uk products being touted as an option for treating PPD?
What is CBD?
Obviously, there’s a lot of curiosity around this subject, particularly for new mothers who are suffering from PPD. Many are exploring their treatment options and want to know whether consuming CBD is safe. Before we dig deeper, let’s look at what CBD is.
The real term is cannabidiol. Known as CBD, it is the second most common active ingredient in cannabis (marijuana). Components of CBD are extracted from the hemp plant—referred to as the cousin of marijuana.
It is an essential chemical found in medical marijuana that doesn’t contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana that gives you a high.
Usually, CBD is prescribed in the form of an oil, but there are other forms of consumption such as vaporized liquid or oil-based capsules in the UK. CBD oil is amongst the most popular ones.
There are many CBD-infused food items, drinks, and even beauty products that are now available all over the world. Prescription-based CBD oil is becoming an effective treatment alternative for conditions like Parkinson’s disease, seizures, schizophrenia, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and anxiety.
However, there are still a lot of gaps that need to be filled by experts. In order to determine CBD’s benefits and safety, particularly for people diagnosed with PPD, let’s look at what experts have to say.
The only CBD oil that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the UK is an oil called Epidiolex. So far it is being prescribed by doctors to treat a type of epilepsy.
Other than this, many are also considering CBD oil as an alternative to prescription-based antidepressants. Having said that, the drug benefits are still in a gray zone because of research limitations.
For new mothers, experts have advised that the first thing they need to do is reach out to their medical provider. Treatment should not be delayed, but it’s essential for patients to lean toward proven medical treatments.
Usually, there are three clearly defined approaches in the medical world: social support, psychotherapy, and medication. Mild symptoms of PPD can often be managed by seeking therapy through support groups or social circles.
Moderate or more serious symptoms need a more active course of medication. Currently, there are various options to choose from—but one should only consider options keeping safety in mind.
What Does Science Say?
According to science, chemical components found in CBD have a calming and relaxing impact on the nervous system. This helps to alleviate anxiety and improve mood swings.
There is no credible source that vouches for the cure of PPD with the consumption of CBD, but there is some data that states that depression can be treated with CBD.
There are certain elements in CBD that impact the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in people by either switching them on or off. The objective of ECS is to balance stress and anxiety in humans.
Research shows that CBD enters the system to stimulate the more complex receptors with serotonin. Neurologically, the neurotransmitter serotonin is in charge of managing mood.
By impacting these receptors, CBD’s chemical components help to increase the functions of the brain by soothing the nerves.
Moreover, science has evidence that women diagnosed with PPD have a subtype of serotonin (5-HT1A) that is more challenging to connect to those neurotransmitters that release good and positive feelings.
Is CBD safe for PPD?
This brings us to the main question—if CBD has the potential to treat PPD, and to what degree. Firstly, it is evident that power plants can have a negative impact if there’s a baby on the way.
This is applicable to breastfeeding mothers. The receptors of ECS are spread throughout the entire body, which is connected to other receptors. However, the effects of consuming CBD, in the long run, are still unknown, particularly for expecting and breastfeeding mothers.
We highly recommend you discuss with your doctor before taking any form of CBD. In fact, it is advised to stay away from any CBD-based products during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
So does this mean that if you are not nursing or pregnant, CBD-based products are safe for you? There is no simple answer. Yes, if you are suffering from PPD, you are an ideal candidate for CBD oil, as it can help you with managing your depression.
It’s not just for depression, either; CBD oil has benefits for stress, anxiety, and chronic pain as well as insomnia. Whatever you decide, it is best to check with your doctor first.
The dose for beginners will obviously be small, but the exact amount of consumption should be advised by your physician.
What Are the Best Ways to Explore and Use CBD?
If you are a beginner, then it’s best to sit down with your doctor to get a clear understanding of its benefits—especially if you are concerned about treating PPD.
The likelihood of your doctor not having enough knowledge about the use of CBD is common. There are many doctors who are not familiar with the chemical’s benefit for postpartum depression.
It’s okay to explore your options—maybe get a second medical opinion before coming to a decision. You might have to experiment a little bit with the dosage.
Start with the smallest possible option if you have to, and work your way up to see how well it works for you—emotionally, mentally, and physically.
If you get an okay from your doctor, you will obviously have more perspective. You will probably start off with a CBD oil which kicks in within 7-9 minutes of consumption.
Some other forms of CBD products are CBD gummies, tinctures, chocolates, lotions, etc. If you are opting for supplements like gummies, you should be aware that it can take up to 90 minutes for it to take effect.
For many people, this time frame could be too long, particular if you are suffering from anxiety and depression. The whole point of it is to get instant relief, which is why CBD oil is often preferred.
After you have found the perfect dose, you have the option of switching back to CBD gel or capsules, as they are easier for women to consume, according to data in the UK.
It is important to factor in the degree of the diagnosis. Postpartum mood and anxiety disorders have a lot of layers. This means that PPD should be self-proclaimed. You must address your concerns with your doctor to get more evidence-based treatment.
Many cases get lost in transition, as it is more than just treating PPD, but is about pinpointing the loss of identity that many new parents face and struggle with.
CBD does not address those issues. Your life completely changes after you bring home the baby. Therefore seeking proper help for postpartum depression is essential if you want to be on the road to recovery.