CBD, or cannabidiol, is everywhere. It’s available in oils, vapes, lotions, and even gummy sweets – you name it, you can find it somewhere on the market.
Originally aimed more towards the adult market, parents are now reaching for CBD to combat anxiety, sleep issues, and even irritability and focus problems. However, is it all that it’s cracked up to be?
In this article we’ll go through everything you need to know before giving your child CBD, to ensure you make the best educated decision you possibly can.
What is CBD?
A good place to start is knowing exactly what you are giving your child in the first place. Per Healthcare Weekly, CBD is extracted from hemp or marijuana. It is now used by over 64 million Americans to deal with everything from depression to heart disease, and can be bought over the counter in many stores as an alternative form of medicinal care.
Will CBD give my child a high?
My child is definitely high – I can see him hopping about, playing around a car lot all by himself. It must be the CBD in the gummy sweets he loves to have. This is a very common misconception when it comes to CBD, and the answer is no, it will not have any sort of adverse effect on your little one that will make them feel ‘high’.
THC, the chemical responsible for psychoactive effects in marijuana, is not largely present in CBD.
In fact, any product over 0.3% is illegal in most places and should not be sold as CBD.
Some studies even go as far as to suggest CBD could be used to treat cannabis withdrawal syndrome.
What can it fix?
CBD has been reported to solve an array of issues across the millions who use it on a daily basis. In children, it’s been known to help with ADHD, epilepsy, migraines, and even nocturnal snoring.
How much research is available?
It seems that the scientific world is struggling to keep up with CBD’s ever-growing popularity. However, one area it isn’t lacking is when it comes to helping children with epilepsy.
According to online studies, cannabidiol is not only considered safe for treating epilepsy but effective, too.
A study of 13 subjects conducted in 2015 reported that nine children suffering from seizures saw a 50% or higher drop in the number experienced over four weeks.
Having said this, the quality and recommended doses of these products are not very consistent across the board. This means precautions should be taken to ensure you are giving your child a product that is FDA approved.
What are the concerns surrounding CBD?
As with every drug, there are risks when it comes to taking CBD, and these risks become much more prominent when a child is involved.
Something to bear in mind is CBD products can be unreliable. Problems with regulating the drug mean some products could contain more or less CBD and THC than advertised.
Some products could even contain other ingredients that could be harmful for a child to consume, and may affect other medication your child is taking.
It’s also important to make sure your child doesn’t build up a tolerance to CBD, as this could cause bigger issues down the line with your child’s sleep.
Is CBD safe?
The World Heath Organization has reported that CBD is ‘generally well tolerated with a good safety profile. Reported adverse effects may be as a result of drug-drug interactions between CBD and patients’ existing medications’.
It also concluded that CBD ‘exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential’, which is more than likely down to the fact that THC is not largely present.
Some children may experience drowsiness and dry mouth with the first few doses, but these symptoms tend to fix themselves over a few weeks.
CBD for autism
Many parents are curious about the effects CBD has on children with autism. This study looked at 60 children with autism spectrum disorder. The study found that the behaviour improved in 61% of the patients and anxiety and communication problems were much or very much improved in 39% and 47% respectively.
Having said this, more studies would need to be conducted to conclude that CBD definitely helps with ASD.
CBD for seizures
In 2016, five Israeli pediatric epilepsy clinics treated children and adolescents diagnosed with intractable epilepsy with a regimen of medical cannabis oil.
It found that out of the 74 students, 89% reported a reduction in seizures, with 18% reporting a reduction of 75 to 100%. The study described these results as ‘highly promising’ for the future of seizure treatment but said ‘well designed clinical trials are warranted’.
What to do next
If you’re thinking of introducing CBD into your child’s lifestyle, then it’s important to discuss the decision with their doctor first. This will give you chance to address your concerns, and discuss whether your child may experience adverse side effects.
Once you’ve started administering CBD to your child, you need to consciously watch out for side effects. It’s highly unlikely that your child will become unwell as a result of CBD, but unusually high doses may pose some risk.
Never shop online when it comes to buying a product. Go into a reputable store and make sure to check that the product notes how much CBD the product contains, and how the product has fared in contamination tests.
Don’t jump straight into a high dose, either – start off low and see how your child reacts. It may take some time and a few consultations with your child’s doctor to find the perfect dosage. And most importantly, as with any medicine, keep it out of the reach of your child to avoid other problems developing.