Is CBD Safe for Kids? — What Experts Think
On June 26, 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration announced its approval of Epidiolexin for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes, two rare and severe forms of epilepsy. “[Epidiolexin] is the first FDA-approved drug that contains a purified drug substance derived from marijuana,” the FDA stated in a press release.
That’s right, Epidiolexin is a liquid cannabidiol, more commonly referred to as CBD, and it’s available to patients starting as young as two years old. Which raises the question: Is CBD safe for kids?
Issues Surrounding CBD Treatment for Children
“The CBD market has exploded over the past year, and this trend definitely applies to awareness around the use of it for children,” Dr. Stuart Titus, CEO of Medical Marijuana, Inc. and subsidiary HempMeds tells Parentology.
CBD is being targeted to treat various pediatric issues — even those encountered by newborns. These include cancer, anxiety, ADHD, OCD/ODD, inflammatory bowel symptoms, PTSD, Parkinson’s, and neurological disorders. It’s also being used as an immune booster for those grappling with colds and flu. The biggest buzz being generated around children benefitting from CBD has been in reference to epilepsy and autism/spectrum disorder.
With a multitude of benefits being recognized, Titus hopes CBD use of will become more universal. A first stop for treating children dealing with seizures versus a last resort.
Stigma vs. Reality
So if CBD is so great, why isn’t everyone using it?
What first must be tackled – dispelling the myths behind the hemp-based product. For many years the public has been bombarded with stories about marijuana abuse. Much of the confusion is over the two main ingredients in medical cannabis: THC and CBD.
“THC causes a euphoric ‘high’ at recreational doses, but when dosed in small amounts for medical purposes, patients can achieve symptom relief without the high,” Dr. Stacia Woodcock, a pharmacist with Curaleaf NY dispensaries, explains to Parentology. “CBD is the non-euphoric component of cannabis that’s a very powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, anti-seizure medication.”
There’s also the difference when suffering children use medical marijuana versus healthy kids using it recreationally. Adolescents who are medically well should avoid cannabis,. It can interfere with their body’s developing endocannabinoid system, which maintains the body’s homeostasis and helps produce a healthy adult brain.
However, for kids dealing with specific wellness issues, Woodcock says, “The use of CBD poses little to no risk to a developing brain, but offers a dramatic life-changing opportunity for pediatric patients to have a better quality of life.”
The benefits of CBD, Woodcock says, often outweigh other treatment protocols. “It’s important to understand that in many cases, the seizures or self-harming behavior a child is exhibiting, along with the many medications often prescribed for these conditions, can be far more damaging to their brain and quality of life than CBD, with or without THC, could possibly be.”
According to Woodcock, several studies, including one from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, state that parents of pediatric patients using CBD report their children are more alert and verbal, sleep better, are in a better mood, and in the hospital less when CBD is added to their medication regimen.
CBD Research Needed
Buoying the trend of CBD becoming mainstream are success stories from parents. Doctors currently using CBD are also eager for research to join anecdotal evidence.
The government is even beginning to acknowledge CBD’s benefits. Titus points to US Government Patent #6,630,507, aka 507 Patent. “Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants” describes CBD as being a potent antioxidant — stronger than vitamin C and vitamin E — as well as having neuro-protective properties.
Whether or not CBD is safe for kids to use is also discussed in Patent 507. It describes CBD as being extremely non-toxic with no possibility of a fatal overdose or damage. However, a concern is the lack of research regarding potential liver damage.
Titus has seen that, “The synthetic version of CBD does seem to create a type of liver toxicity in some children, but we don’t see this with the all-natural botanical version.” Additionally, he says, “Some children are on six to 12 medications, but seem to tolerate CBD quite well and without interference with their other medications.”
Forms of CBD for Pediatric Use
Pediatric patients tend to use products with a high CBD-to-THC ratio, meaning they contain very little THC. The second form used for children is hemp-derived CBD with no THC.
Hemp CBD comes in various forms, from liquid tinctures (where CBD is mixed with an MCT oil like coconut oil) to capsules, edible candies, and topical products. Not advised for young developing lungs are products that require being smoked or vaped. Woodcock warns against using food-based products, which children can mistake for treats versus medicine.
“Typically, the tinctures or oil-based drops are the easiest to administer to children as the dose is easily adjusted and they are simple to administer. They can even be hidden in food if necessary for a picky child,” Woodcock says.
That said, Woodcock adds, “If your child has any underlying liver or kidney disease, CBD may not be a good option for them. There are also some drug interactions, particularly with anti-epileptic medications, that can occur when adding CBD to a child’s medication regimen.”
Sourcing and Dosing
From chain pharmacies to Bed, Bath & Beyond, CBD products line store shelves. Knowing the source of a CBD product is imperative.
“As of now, over-the-counter hemp CBD products are not regulated by the FDA,” Woodcock notes. “This means companies that sell hemp-derived CBD products don’t have to test or prove their products are free from contaminants like heavy metals or pesticides, don’t contain ingredients not listed on the packaging — like melatonin or dextromethorphan, both of which have been found in mislabeled CBD products – and actually contain the amount of CBD listed on the packaging.”
Her advice: only purchase a CBD product from a trusted company that performs third-party testing and manufactures them with the highest standards.
Finding the right dosage can also be an issue for parents. Finding the right dose often comes down to trial and error or word-of-mouth.
Woodcock offers the following guidelines regarding dosing, “In lower doses under 50mg/day, CBD can be over-stimulating and make symptoms worse, so getting the right dosing can be a challenge.” Typically, she says, when dosing CBD without THC, higher doses are needed to see an effect – something that can be cost prohibitive. “Thus, it’s important that parents not only purchase CBD from a trusted source, but that they consult a doctor or pharmacist trained in cannabis medicine to help them properly dose their child.”
Is CBD Oil Safe for Kids?
What is the Correct CBD Oil Dosage? Over recent years, CBD has reported a number of benefits to adults. It is has been widely used and its supplement benefits ferociously floated online.
With reports that CBD can assist in alleviating symptoms of certain conditions like epilepsy, most parents have been left wondering if CBD oil is safe for children and if it can be used for the same benefits that most adults have reported.
According to most reports and studies, hemp derived CBD oil is safe for kids. It is important to emphasise that there is a difference between THC and CBD and every parent should know the differences before deciding to give CBD oil to their children. Unlike THC, CBD does not have any psychoactive effects and the behaviour of the child will largely remain the same after taking CBD oil. However, you should ensure that the CBD you buy is medical grade and doesn’t contain any THC.
Some conditions CBD can help with
Firstly, all products are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. It is recommended to check with a physician before starting a new dietary supplement program.
The endocannabinoid system’s purpose is to respond to endogenous cannabinoids produced within the human body.
During their research, scientists have learned that the system will also recognize and respond to cannabinoids from external sources, including the phytocannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD).
According to the National Institute of Health , manipulating the endocannabinoid system by introducing external cannabinoids like CBD could be useful in treating a variety of medical ailments, listed below.
Supplement Benefits of CBD Oil in Children
Other than being safe, most parents who have administered CBD to their children have reported plenty of benefits for various conditions. According to most parents, their kids have shown considerable improvement for various conditions after taking CBD oil for some time.
Seizures and Epilepsy
The positive effects of CBD on children with epilepsy have been well documented. A study carried out in the U.S showed that a solution made from CBD provided significant improvement in children with Lennox-Gas taut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome which are too severe but rare cases of epilepsy.
Charlotte Gigi is yet another documented case of a girl who suffered her first seizure when she was just three months. After taking CBD for a while, Charlotte was able to make a significant improvement. She went from having up to 300 grand Mal seizures a week to being able to walk. The frequency of the seizures also reduced.
Many adults have admitted to using CBD to help manage anxiety and panic attacks. It was no surprise when a study conducted in 2016 also showed that CBD oil can be used to treat anxiety in children. In the study, the patient was a 10 year old girl who had been sexually abused. The study showed a maintained decrease in anxiety and improved sleeping patterns.
Even though there are medications that help deal with anxiety, if the results of this study are anything to go by, kids can also benefit from the benefits that CBD oil has to offer in relation to anxiety and insomnia.
ADD and ADHD
The Israeli government recently completed one of the most extensive studies on the effects of CBD oil on Autism and other related conditions like ADD and ADHD. According to the study, the subjects reported significant improvement after taking CBD oil over a period of six months.
It is not clear how CBD oil helps to alleviate the symptoms of ADD and ADHD but, it is suggested that the condition is caused by a lack of Dopamine. Through scientific studies, there have been reports that CBD can naturally boost the production of dopamine in the body which would explain how kids suffering from ADD and ADHD exhibit improvement after taking CBD for some time.
So is it Safe?
A number of studies have shown that CBD oil might help to alleviate a variety of symptoms of diseases which are very common in children. Parents who have tried to give CBD oil to their children have also reported improvement in their children. However, the question remains, “How safe is it to give CBD oil to children?”
In the multiple studies that have been carried on different conditions and different children including a report by the WHO , none have reported adverse or severe negative effects suffered by any of the patients as a result of taking CBD oil. It’s, therefore, safe to say that CBD oil is safe for children and parents can administer CBD oil to their children.
Can I Give My Kids CBD?
As cannabidiol continues to make waves across health and wellness platforms, more people are becoming curious about this special cannabinoid and all it has to offer. But, this curiosity has also brought about safety concerns and uncertainties. Specifically, a lot of people are beginning to wonder if it is safe to give their kids CBD.
With information coming out each and every day, and miraculous stories about transformative effects being spread, more parents are looking into the effects of CBD on children. That’s why, today, we’re talking all about CBD’s safety, its effects on kids, and what we’ve seen in the past with children and cannabidiol. This way, you can make your own informed decision as to what’s best for your kiddo.
Is CBD Safe?
First thing’s first: is CBD safe? In general terms, yes, CBD is considered safe by physicians and even the Food and Drug Administration. However, that doesn’t mean that CBD comes without any negative side effects; it just means that these side effects are not severe and have been proven not deadly in any capacity.
Typically, people will have negative side effects to CBD if they consume more than their body is comfortable with. When this happens, people have reported feeling dizzy, nauseous, anxious, or tired. Thankfully, these effects do fade quickly, and it isn’t possible for someone to overdose on a cannabinoid like CBD. As we’ve mentioned in the past, CBD is completely non-psychoactive, so it cannot get you high or make you feel intoxicated. Rather, it’s used solely for its therapeutic value.
Because of the general safety aspect of CBD, the US government has legalized hemp-derived CBD; this is likely why you’re seeing the cannabinoid pop up in products left and right. A few years back, the country even saw the FDA approve the first prescription drug with CBD– a landmark decision that was actually brought on by a child.
CBD and Children: What We’ve Seen
One of the most popular cases we’ve seen with children and CBD is that of Charlotte Figi. Charlotte Figi was born a normal girl back in 2006, but, quickly, she began to show developmental signs that were far different from her twin sister. Soon, the toddler was plagued with severe, chronic seizures, preventing her from speaking, eating, and even functioning as an everyday child would.
Eventually, she was diagnosed with an incurable form of epilepsy called Dravet’s Syndrome, and Figi’s parents did everything they could to bring her relief. But, for years, nothing they tried worked. Poor Charlotte stayed having hundreds of grand-mal seizures a week, with her medications only bringing more negative side effects on top of her already painful daily life. Finally, as a last straw, her parents decided to turn to cannabis.
Partnering with a dispensary in the area, the Figis were able to get access to extracted CBD oil to give to Charlotte. The results were mindblowing: Charlotte went from having 300 seizures a week–about one every 30 minutes–to having just two or three per month with her daily doses of CBD. With this, the little girl regained her ability to speak, to eat, and to enjoy life.
Though she passed away in 2020, Figi was the first child in the public eye to show the world what CBD could do– and how seemingly gentle it was, too. This sparked an entire movement, not only revealing the medical potential of CBD, but showing how helpful it could be for children of all ages.
Of course, Figi’s story is one in a million, but it provides a sense of hope in ways that many parents who have children with chronic illness deserve. Today, small doses of CBD for children are becoming more and more commonplace, and we likely have little Charlotte to thank.
Being Careful, Consistent, and Confident
Giving your child CBD should be a decision you think long and hard about, as well as one you discuss with all of the necessary physicians. But, what’s most important, is that you stay careful, consistent, and confident with your children’s CBD dose if you so choose.
Proper dosing is absolutely key in giving your child–or any person–the amount of CBD that will help them feel their best. Parents must start with very low doses of CBD and then slowly increase the dose as they feel (or as the child feels) necessary. When your kid does have these doses, they must be consistent to reap the full benefits .
Always make sure to store your child’s CBD in a place that only you have access to. This way, your child isn’t able to take more than allowed. Along these lines, always double or triple-check your CBD brand’s third-party lab-test results to ensure the safety behind your products is solid. After all, you do not want to accidentally be giving your child THC oil.
Purchasing the Perfect CBD
At the end of the day, the choice to give your children CBD is entirely yours. So, can you give your kids CBD? Sure, if you and their primary care physician deem it an appropriate choice, then consuming a daily dose of CBD should be just fine. However, you always have to keep in mind proper dosing, ingredients, and the products you’re buying. Some CBD products are going to be more pleasant for your child than others, so always take the time to find the perfect CBD for them.
Here at TerraVita CBD, we offer a huge selection of products that are wonderful for all demographics. From tasty CBD oils to capsules and topicals, there is something on our site for every consumer, regardless of age or experience. As long as you start low and slow, and find a high-quality, trustworthy brand like ours, both you and your child should be more than safe consuming some hemp-derived cannabidiol. †