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CBD for moms: Is cannabidiol a good antidepressant for post-partum depression?

Postpartum depression is a condition triggered by childbirth that causes symptoms including irritability, difficulty bonding with a newborn, anger, restlessness, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight gain, depression, and fear. The condition develops in stages, and can last for months or years. 

Depression may trigger ‘mom’s rage,’ a phenomenon that entails a mom experiencing unexplained, intensive, and disruptive anger. Is CBD safe for new moms? According to the CBD and FDA, no, because the long-term side effects of CBD on infants remain unknown. Some sources claim that the chemical may hinder brain development. What we do know is CBD is a safe anti-depressant and can help new mothers combat stress, anxiety, depression, and related symptoms. But you must wait at least six months to one-year post-childbirth to start using. 

Should new moms take CBD? Below is what you need to know.

Quick take: Is CBD a good anti-depressant for new moms? 

  • The FDA discourages the use of CBD and other cannabinoids during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
  • Post breastfeeding, mothers may use CBD to improve sleep, and manage pain.
  • Postpartum depression may escalate into postpartum psychosis if you do not get help.
  • Build a support system to help manage stress, depression, and anxiety. 
  • CBD’s effect on postpartum depression is still under investigation. But current medical data says that CBD may have uses in the treatment. 

How soon can you start taking CBD post-childbirth?

According to the CDC, CBD is fat-soluble. The consequence of that is that the compound can be expelled in breast milk and transferred to the baby. The more you consume, the higher the exposure. Limited conflicting studies claim that CBD has benefits for infants, and some claim that it may be harmful.

Because of that, it is safer to wait until you stop breastfeeding before you start taking CBD. On average, breastfeeding should take 6 to 12 months. 

 How long does it take for cannabidiol to get out of breastmilk

CBD stays in the body for between 5 days to a month, depending on how much is consumed. In breastmilk it may last 6 days, meaning it is safer to avoid consumption until you stop breastfeeding.

Post-breastfeeding, CBD can help new moms in the following ways.

What is postpartum depression, and can CBD help?

It is somewhat normal for new mothers to experience a jumble of emotions days or weeks after childbirth. You may experience a mix of crying spells, insomnia, mood swings, and anxiety. These spells may last a few days or weeks. 

However, some mothers experience these symptoms longer. Sometimes months and others years. If you are one of them, you may have developed post-partum depression. Left unchecked, postpartum depression may escalate into postpartum psychosis. 

What is the difference between postpartum depression and baby blues?

Post-partum depression lasts longer than baby blues, and the symptoms are advanced. The table below explains the difference. 

Baby blues Symptoms- may last a week or two post-childbirth. Post-partum depression symptoms. You may experience these symptoms for up to 3 years. 
Appetite problemsIntense anger, irritability, sadness, and crying
Unexplained crying, sadness, and irritability.Fatigue/lack of energy
Trouble concentratingSelf-doubt about your ability as a mom.
InsomniaDifficulty bonding with an infant.
AnxietyReduced interest in work, pleasurable activities, or food.
Mood swingsSevere anxiety
Suicidal thoughts
Panic attacks
Shame, guilt, and hopelessness

What happens if postpartum depression is left untreated?

Postpartum depression may escalate into postpartum psychosis, a condition that may last for up to one year and is characterized by symptoms including:

  • Severe insomnia
  • Delusions and hallucinations.
  • Obsessive thoughts about your baby.
  • Disorientation and confusion.
  • Self-harm or attempts. 
  • Suicidal thoughts.

CBD for new mothers: How it can help you manage stress, anxiety, and postpartum depression 

Nothing prepares you for motherhood, so feelings of inadequacy or “I should be a better mom” will haunt you throughout the first year. The symptoms may even last longer. The question is, how does CBD help you manage self-doubt, stress, anxiety, and depression? And why should you use it?


It is worth mentioning that a study on cannabis use before pregnancy concluded that, quote:

This study provides evidence that preconception cannabis use is associated with increased risk of PPD. More studies are warranted to confirm this finding before cannabis cessation policies can be reinforced on reducing the risk of PPD.”

The issue is THC, a psychoactive compound in cannabis plants. 

What to remember:

  • Cannabis use 3 to 15 months before pregnancy may increase the risk of developing post-partum depression. 
  • CBD is non-psychoactive, and you may use it to manage post-partum depression and pain as explained below. 

How to treat post-partum depression and “mom rage” using CBD

According to mental health professionals, the treatment of postpartum depression entails:

Getting social support

Use the people around you or your healthcare provider to build a support system for your mental health. You may avoid isolation by joining a support group. We recommend:

Talk to other mothers

The benefit is other mothers can relate to what you are going through. “Talking it out” is one of the best ways to manage stress and anxiety. You may also reach out to friends or family daily or join an online group.

Let go of distractions and connect with your baby

Social media, financial stress, and other issues you are going through may hinder bonding. If you feel that you are spending too much time on social media, turn off your electronic devices and spend time with the baby. 

Do not be afraid to ask for help

Taking care of a baby is not an easy task. Sometimes you need help. because of that, if you need help or time on your own, ask for help. 

Eat healthily, stay active, and get plenty of rest.

Your body needs rest and energy. So, eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, and exercise. 

We recommend a thirty-minute walk daily. 

How to use CBD for post-partum depression

According to medical studies, CBD can help manage stress, anxiety, and depression through interactions with the endocannabinoid system. The human endocannabinoid system is responsible for bodily functions, including:

  • Emotional processing
  • Sleep temperature control
  • Inflammatory and immune response.
  • Eating.

Benefits of CBD for new moms.

Improved sleep quality 

A new baby will disturb your sleep cycle for weeks, months, or even years. To ensure that you get enough rest, you should:

  • Tire out the baby. The more tired he/she is, the easier it will be to get them to sleep. We recommend giving the baby a massage, providing toys that cause swaying, swinging or repetitive movement, dimming the lights, or other creative ways to induce sleepiness.
  • If you have a partner, share nights. 
  • Go to bed early if you can. 

Post-breastfeeding, you may consume CBD orally to encourage muscle relaxation, calmness, and sleepiness. Remember, CBD is a mild sedative, and according to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, quote:

Anxiety scores decreased within the first month in 57 patients (79.2%) and remained decreased during the study duration. Sleep scores improved within the first month in 48 patients (66.7%) but fluctuated over time. In this chart review, CBD was well tolerated in all but 3 patients… Cannabidiol may hold benefits for anxiety-related disorders. Controlled clinical studies are needed.”

Stress, anxiety, and depression management

Post breastfeeding, CBD can help mothers manage depression symptoms, including:

  • Appetite problems. At low doses, CBD is a stimulant.
  • Panic attacks and anxiety. 
  • Restlessness
  • Mood swings
  • Intense anger, sadness, and irritability

If you are experiencing intense thoughts of harming yourself or your child, you should seek immediate help. You may contact the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit their website here.

Pain management

Whether taken sublingually or applied topically, CBD can help relieve pain anywhere in the body. 

Pain associated with childbirth or cesarian section may last for days, weeks, or months. You know that you have chronic pain if you experience pain for at least 15 days in a month.

Weight management 

According to anecdotal evidence, CBD can help you lose weight. There is limited medical research on this, but according to medical data, persons who use cannabinoids tend to be “lighter” than non-users. Another benefit is CBD helps the body recover and increases energy levels, meaning that you can indulge in more exercise.

We recommend combining daily consumption of CBD with exercise to reduce weight. 

What is the best way to use CBD if you have post-partum depression

The FDA classifies CBD as a supplement. Before you start consuming it to treat depression or any other ailment. It is in your best medical interest to consult with a physician. You want to understand the benefits and risks that may be triggered by consumption, given your current situation.

Remember, stress, depression, and anxiety are not only triggered by external factors, meaning there may be an underlying issue that triggers episodes. That said, depending on preference, you may consume CBD gummies, oil, tinctures, pills, and so on. 

To treat postpartum depression, combine regular CBD intake with:

  • A support system
  • Get enough sleep. 
  • Exercise.