Positive Attitudes Toward CBD Use in Pregnancy "Concerning"

By Megan Brooks

November 01, 2019

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Many women and their healthcare providers assume that cannabidiol (CBD) is safe to use during pregnancy, despite a lack of evidence, according to a new survey.

"CBD is the latest craze. You see it everywhere, you can even get it in your coffee," Dr. Mark Zakowski, senior author and chief of obstetrical anesthesiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, in Los Angeles, told Reuters Health by phone. "CBD has very little regulation and oversight and may actually contain THC or harmful contaminants like pesticides."

"In our practice, we noticed that doulas and some pregnant women were using CBD during pregnancy and labor to reduce nausea, anxiety and pain," Dr. Zakowski said.

To gauge attitudes toward CBD (and alcohol and marijuana) use in pregnancy, he and his colleagues surveyed 315 women of reproductive age, 113 physician anesthesiologists, 48 doulas and nine certified nurse midwives, all from California.

Fewer than one in 10 of the women believed one drink of alcohol a week was safe, yet 29% thought topical CBD was safe.

Physician anesthesiologists and certified nurse midwives were more skeptical, with 18% of physician anesthesiologists and 20% of certified nurse midwives believing it was safe. However, 70% of doulas generally thought CBD was safe to use during pregnancy.

Twenty percent of the women said they would consider using any form of CBD to reduce anxiety during pregnancy and 28% would consider using it during labor. They had similar attitudes towards using CBD for nausea and pain.

Among the physician anesthesiologists surveyed, 7% would consider using CBD to reduce anxiety in women during pregnancy or labor; 12% would consider it for nausea during pregnancy and 8% during labor; 13% would consider it for pain during pregnancy and 12% during labor.

In contrast, 42% of certified nurse midwives and 54% of doulas would consider using CBD to reduce anxiety in women during pregnancy; 33% and 44%, respectively, would consider it during labor.

Nearly two-thirds of physician anesthesiologists said they never ask pregnant women about topical CBD use and 57% said they never ask about oral CBD use.

The survey results were released October 20 in Orlando, Florida, at Anesthesiology 2019, the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

The attitudes about CBD use in pregnancy uncovered in this survey are "concerning. We need more research to determine if CBD is safe for pregnant women," Dr. Zakowski told Reuters Health.

"CBD has the potential to interact with commonly used anesthetics like propofol and ongoing CBD use has shown the potential to act like SSRI antidepressants, which can adversely interact with other drugs," he said. "We as anesthesiologists need to be better at asking about CBD as I think it may fly under the radar."

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/2N4kQ0Y

American Society of Anesthesiologists 2019.