Whenever a new medication or supplement becomes popular, safety questions inevitably follow. But while adults happily use CBD, you may find some of those same people feeling reluctant to serve CBD to children.
This stance isnâ€™t unreasonable. Children canâ€™t consume every food, supplement, or medicine that we use. Consequently, concerns are bound to pop up from worried parents and pediatricians.
So should we hesitate when giving CBD to kids? Why would we do so in the first place? Letâ€™s see what we know so far.
Kids and the CBD Industry
Many of us may have forgotten, but for a while, the face of CBD was a child. Charlotte Figi suffered from Dravet Syndrome – a rare, severe, and virtually uncontrollable form of epilepsy. .
Children with this condition suffer multiple seizures per day, and Charlotte was no exception. But when introduced to CBD oil, her seizures reduced dramatically, allowing her to live a normal life with almost no seizures to stop her.
This in turn led to several studies into CBD and severe childhood epilepsy. The findings conclusively proved that CBD can have anti-convulsant effects. As a result, the first CBD epilepsy drug, Epidiolex, received FDA approval.
Tragically, Charlotte died of health complications at 13, but her impact is still felt among the CBD community. Today, sheâ€™s a symbol of the discovery that sparked a health supplement revolution and put cannabis into a more favorable light.
Since then, people from other states or even countries moved to locations in the U.S. where CBD was legal (prior to the 2018 Farm Bill), just to see if CBD could help their children with epilepsy. Many found success.
Does CBD Work Differently for Kids?
So far, thereâ€™s no evidence suggesting CBDâ€™s effects on children are any different than adults. The only arguable difference may be dosage needs. The smaller age, size, and weight will require less CBD for the desired effect.
The bigger question is what benefits – if any – does CBD have for children?
ADHD affects children and adults alike. A small 2020 study found that cannabinoid consumption, including CBD, may help reduce the need for prescription medication. However, this research was questionnaire-based, with the authors emphasizing a need for further investigation.
Some terpenes, like beta caryophyllene are believed to help increase energy and focus. These compounds are likely present in broad or full-spectrum CBD products.
We briefly mentioned Charlotte Figi as the face of CBDâ€™s efficacy against seizures. But itâ€™s important to note (which we covered in an earlier blog) that our research revolves around Dravet Sydrome and Lennox Gastaut Syndrome (LGS).
Both occur in small children and involve a debilitating number of seizures, with conventional epilepsy medications being virtually useless.
But while we have an FDA-approved CBD drug (for $35,000 per year without insurance), CBDâ€™s accepted benefits only those specific forms of epilepsy.
Does this mean CBD canâ€™t help with more common forms of epilepsy in children? Thatâ€™s difficult to say, because epilepsy – despite being grouped into a single condition – is unique in every case. We need more research to discover if CBD has other anticonvulsant applications.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects people of all ages. Some individuals barely show signs, while in other cases, individuals may require constant care.
Children with low-functioning autism may show aggressive behaviors and tantrums that make caregiversâ€™ lives difficult. Itâ€™s therefore no surprise that parents want to find a natural way to help their children.
Unfortunately, we have no research on CBD and autism in children. However, anecdotal evidence continues to mount, along with CBDâ€™s popularity for ASD.
But does it work? According to Autism Parenting Magazine, the answer is a resounding â€œyesâ€:
â€œSome parents report that their children who used to be unreachable during fits of rage are able to implement calming techniques; other parents report decreased instances of physical violence,â€ the magazine says.
They also point out that 30% of children with ASD also have epilepsy. We already know how effective CBD can be against certain types of seizures. Some experts theorize that this unique mechanism may apply to autism, reducing things like fits, self-injury, and violence against others.
CBD Side Effects
The side effects of CBD in adults appear to be the same for younger individuals. CBD is demonstrably well-tolerated, with most side effects being mild and temporary. Some side effects include:
One concern, however, is prescription medication. CBD relies on the liver to metabolize, along with many other drugs. This can counteract or increase the effectiveness of they CBD, the medicine, or both.
Bottom Line: Is it Safe to Give CBD to Children?
None of the evidence presented indicates that CBD is any more dangerous to kids than it can be for adults. If anything, itâ€™s been instrumental in documented and undocumented cases
The only concern is lack of regulation surrounding hemp-derived CBD products. While reputable vendors do their best to stay vigilant with third-party tests and other safety measures, there are still many seemingly reliable brands who cut corners.
This corner-cutting can lead to serious consequences, such as labeling mistakes that lead to accidental THC ingestion, as one Oregon vendor learned the hard way.
But what if a child were to consume a mislabeled product and suddenly be hit with an adult-sized serving of THC? While thereâ€™s no risk of permanent damage, the symptoms can be frightening and intense. And the example above isnâ€™t the first instance of accidental or deliberate mislabeling.
Contaminants, like heavy metals, microbes, fungi, and chemical solvents could also be present. Any of these toxins could caused long-term damage to your child.
As for pure CBD, thereâ€™s no evidence that the cannabinoid itself is inherently harmful. With proper FDA standards and stronger oversight, CBD products could have enormous potential.
Hopefully, future legislation will federally regulate CBD.
- CBD may benefit children in the same way as adults.
- CBD likely no more dangerous to kids.
- Research into CBD on children is virtually non-existent, with a lot anecdotal evidence.
- CBD could offer a solution for children with ADHD, epilepsy, or ASD