By Cassandra Thompson
CBD vs. THC in Cannabis
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the active component in cannabis that can support mental, emotional, and physical ailments experienced in pregnancy and postpartum.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the active component in cannabis that, when used in large amounts, has been connected to complications in pregnancy such as low-weight for gestational age before birth or smaller babies at birth, and neurological complications for babies post-birth.
However, consumption of CBD via infusion in foods, oils, and tinctures has been found to relieve nausea, relieve anxiety, reduce pain and inflammation, regulate mood, reduce blood sugar levels and support sleep. I have seen CBD aid folx in all of these ways in pregnancy and postpartum, without the psychoactive effects of THC that can promote paranoia, anxiety and get folx ‘high’.
CBD is often taken in 10mg doses (also known as a ‘microdose’) at first, so that the individual may determine what amount works for them, and work their way up from that dose, only if necessary for their relief. It is also best to take CBD on an empty stomach, and not close after or before taking prenatal vitamins, to feel the full effects.
Here is a recipe for a CBD tincture (liquid infusion, often done with alcohol or vinegar) that can be used to safely microdose for relief of common symptoms experienced in pregnancy and postpartum, without getting the user ‘intoxicated’ or experiencing any of the symptoms caused by large amounts of THC use.
Activating Your Cannabis
Before using cannabis flower in medicinal, edible preparations, it needs to be heated (decarboxylated) to release the CBD for effective infusion in carriers and absorption in the body.
It has been found that negligible amounts of THC in a CBD dominant strain allow it to have a better effect on relieving the physical and mental ailments experienced in the body. A CBD dominant strain can be requested from your supplier/dispensary. This will have an average ratio of 4:1 CBD to THC within the plant, with an extremely low percentage of THC (less than 2%) and a higher percentage of CBD (above 13%).
If you have an oven, you can activate your cannabis by spreading a ½ ounce (14 grams) thinly on a parchment-lined baking sheet and baking on the middle rack for 1.5 hours at 240 degrees Fahrenheit (240F).
- Yields 2 cups of tincture that will remain good for years if kept in the fridge.
- 4 mL/1 tsp = 1 serving of a 10mg dose of CBD
- 2 cups A.C.V. (apple cider vinegar) – aids with digestions, nausea, heartburn and promoting healthy gut bacteria/reducing amount of group b strep developing in the body
- ½ cup raw ginger – aids digestion, anti-nauseant and anti-inflammatory
- 1 ½ tsp dried stinging nettles – supports healthy uterine tissue growth and release, reduces fatigue, lowers blood pressure, reduces inflammation, nutrient-rich, hemostatic, lowers blood sugar levels
- 1 ½ tsp dried lemon balm – relieves stress and anxiety, supports sleep and supports digestion
- 1 ½ tsp dried oat straw – supports mood regulation and supports milk production
- 1 ½ tsp dried chamomile – supports digestion, lowers blood sugar levels, antioxidant, supports heart health and promotes sleep
- 2 – 500mL mason jars with caps
- 1 – small strainer
- amber tincture bottle with measured dropper (optional)
- Combine ingredients into a mason jar and seal.
- Leave on a window sill for 1 month, turning daily/frequently.
- After 1 month of infusing, get the other mason jar, the strainer and the cheesecloth, and place the strainer in the mouth of the clean mason, with the cheesecloth inside the strainer, and pour the infusion contents thru the cheesecloth and strainer, allowing only the infused a.c.v. to pour into the clean container.
- Squeeze or ‘milk’ the cheesecloth into the clean container to get as much a.c.v. out of the herb matter as possible.
- This can then be kept in the clean container for dosage with a teaspoon, or some can be put into an amber tincture bottle with a measured dropper for on the go use. The remaining amount can be stored in the fridge for refilling the tincture bottle later on.
- Begin your dose at 1 serving, if no effect is felt after 1 hr, double your dose upon next use, more than 12 hrs after the last dosage attempt.
Cassandra is a doula and radical herbalist, owner of Seed & Cerasee, a Birth Centre Aide at the Toronto Birth Centre, a founding member of the birth work collective Ocama Collective, and is actively following her path of birth work in afro- diasporic tradition – inclusive of trans & queer IBPOC community.