Medical Cannabis And Postpartum Anxiety: 3 Facts | cannabisMD

Medical Cannabis And Postpartum Anxiety: 3 Facts

Medical Cannabis And Postpartum Anxiety

When you have a baby, it is meant to be one of the most joyous experiences of your life. But this is not always the case. For millions of women around the world, the month after the birth of their child are extremely bleak due to postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. After these women have, for decades, been prescribed often unsuccessful, conventional prescription drugs, it is starting to appeal medical cannabis could be a viable alternative to treat postpartum depression and anxiety.

Postpartum Anxiety

Much like postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety (PPA) tends to involve physical symptoms, such as shifts in eating and sleeping, dizziness, hot flashes, rapid heartbeat, and nausea. For a majority of sufferers, these symptoms kick in sometime between birth and the baby’s first birthday, but in specific cases, they begin much earlier. According to Ann Smith, CNM and President of Postpartum Support International, “Twenty five to thirty five percent of postpartum anxiety cases begin during pregnancy.” Smith clarifies that while women start feeling on edge shortly after giving birth, a particularly trying life change, weaning, etc. can trigger PPA months later.

Postpartum Depression vc. Postpartum Anxiety

Postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety can be comorbid but the general separation is whether the majority of your symptoms are obsessive and overly cautious and nervous, as with anxiety, or emotional detached and lethargic, as with depression. The symptoms of the two diverge.

Postpartum Anxiety Symptoms:

  1. Racing thoughts. Inability to quiet your mind. Cannot settle down or relax.
  2. Feel like you must be doing something at all times. Cleaning bottles. Cleaning baby clothes. Cleaning the house. Doing work. Entertaining the baby. Checking on the baby.
  3. Feel really worried all the time. (Ex: Am I doing this right? Will my husband come home from his trip? Will the baby wake up? Is the baby eating enough? Is there something wrong with my baby that I’m missing? No matter what anyone says to reassure you, it doesn’t help).
  4. Have intrusive thoughts.
  5. Feel scared of being left alone with your baby because of scary thoughts or worries or things in your house that potentially cause harm (ex: kitchen knives, stairs).
  6. Feel the need to check things constantly. (Ex: Did I lock the door? Did I lock the car? Did I turn off the oven? Is the baby breathing?
  7. Physical symptoms like stomach cramps, headaches, shakiness, or nausea, even panic attacks.
  8. Feel like a captive animal in a cage, pacing back and forth, restless, on edge.
  9. Have no appetite.
  10. Insomnia (cannot sleep).
  11. Feel a sense of dread, like something terrible is going to happen at any minute
  12. Feel afraid this is your new reality and you have lost the “old you” forever
  13. Afraid to reach out because you worry people will judge you or your baby will be taken from you.

Postpartum Depression Symptoms:

  1. Excessive crying
  2. Major difficulties ‘connecting’ with your baby
  3. Withdrawing from friends and family
  4. Sleeping too much or an inability to sleep
  5. Reduced interest and joy in things you used to like
  6. Anxiety and panic attacks
  7. An inability to think clearly or make decisions
  8. An innate sense of worthlessness
  9. A feeling that you’re not a fit mother
  10. Thoughts of death/suicide
  11. Severe mood swings
  12. Thoughts of self-harm or hurting the baby

If you are having these symptoms, it is possible you are experiencing common illnesses that 15 to 20% of new mothers have. There is help available. This is a list of postpartum depression treatment specialists and programs and postpartum depression support groups. We find that if possible it helps to see someone who has more experience treating women with these illnesses. You should reach out first and foremost to trained professionals.

Medical Research:

The cannabis plant–particularly the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD)–is well known for its antidepressant effects. New mothers are recommended to stay clear of any strain with high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD, however, has shown great potential as an antipsychotic, antidepressant, and anti-anxiety medication. CBD is able to do this all without the psychoactive “high” associated with THC. There are many novel studies on marijuana’s impact on depression and anxiety.

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