With frequent news reports about newly discovered uses for cannabidiol (CBD) in healthcare, a number of parents are investigating its uses and wondering if CBD oil is safe for their child to use.
Here, you’ll find a brief overview of the available information about the safety of CBD oil for children.
Remember, the information presented on this page should not be considered medical advice, and you should always consult a pediatrician before starting a CBD oil treatment plan for your child.
Because of the stigma and legal restrictions related to cannabis and cannabis-derived products, studies on the true benefits of CBD oil are currently limited (but growing). Add to these restrictions the ethical ramifications of conducting medical research on children, and you’ll understand why there are even fewer studies relating to CBD oil use for kids.
With this in mind, a 2017 review published in The Journal of Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics reported on a large number of clinical trials in which CBD oil was safe for children who were diagnosed with medical conditions like ADHD and epilepsy.
One of the studies examined nine patients with epilepsy, and of the four patients who received CBD every day, two were totally free of seizures and one saw partial improvement over the course of three months. While these results are promising, they also underscore the issue of limited resources—and test subjects—in the cannabidiol research space. So, for now, take what you hear about CBD oil with an open mind, and a grain of salt.
CBD is generally safe, but there is currently no recognised standard dose for children. Below are a few key factors to consider before giving your child CBD oil:
|Pros: What Makes CBD Oil Safe||Cons: CBD Oil Risk Factors|
|Non-addictive and natural substance||Extracted from a Schedule 1 substance (cannabis)|
|No mind-altering/intoxicating effects||Some people report drowsiness and/or diarrhea after ingesting high dosages|
|No reported issues or long-term negative effects||Not enough conclusive research|
|Proven relief for a variety of diseases and conditions||Interacts with certain prescription medications|
|Easily digested and processed by the body||Can be difficult to determine if CBD products have unwanted additives|
|Federally legal (must have 0.3% or less THC)||Some state laws still do not allow for CBD purchase or consumption|
As laws change and the stigma around cannabis continues to disappear, more research will be conducted to provide a definitive answer as to whether CBD oil is truly safe for children. Though, the findings from the trials and research completed so far have been exciting and interesting.
While CBD oil has been shown to impact a vast number of health conditions, there are a few that are of particular interest as they relate to pediatrics and treating children specifically.
One of the most highly publicized cases of CBD oil use, and one that suggests CBD oil can be safe for children, is the case of Charlotte Figi.
By the age of two, Charlotte had been diagnosed with Dravet syndrome, a form of epilepsy in which frequent and hard-to-treat seizures are the main symptom. By the age of five, Charlotte was severely disabled and having up to 300 grand mal seizures per day, an average of two every hour.
When Charlotte didn’t respond to traditional medications, her parents decided to look into cannabinoids as a possible means to treat her epilepsy; this brought them to the Stanley Brothers. After meeting with Charlotte’s parents and hearing her story in 2011, the Stanley Brothers developed the namesake cannabis strain “Charlotte’s Web,” which is high in CBD and low in THC.
In the first week of using Charlotte’s Web hemp oil to treat her epilepsy, Charlotte didn’t have a single seizure.
Now, Charlotte’s Web CBD oil is often recommended for treating epileptic conditions like Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome in children, and Charlotte’s story is widely cited in the marijuana and medical communities alike.
One of the ways CBD oil relieves pain is through its interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system, particularly with cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2). CBD acts on CB2 receptors, which are located throughout the central nervous system, regulating pain and inflammation throughout the body.
Shown to enhance concentration and cognition, reduce anxiety and result in a better night’s sleep, CBD oil may help combat the symptoms of ADHD in children. The majority of current treatments for ADHD are stimulants, which can actually exacerbate anxiety and sleep disturbances, in turn amplifying the symptoms of ADHD. In some cases, CBD oil may provide a safer and more effective treatment plan for children with ADHD.
The evidence largely suggests CBD oil is a low-risk treatment option for adults and children alike, with the World Health Organization even stating:
“CBD does not produce the effects that are typically seen with cannabinoids such as THC. It also failed to produce significant effects in a human study of abuse potential… Across a number of controlled and open-label trials of the potential therapeutic effects of CBD, it is generally well tolerated, with a good safety profile.”
Ultimately, whether or not you decide that CBD oil is the right treatment option for your child may come down to the cannabis laws in your state and your child’s individual circumstances.
As with any treatment, particularly those involving children, it’s imperative you talk to your child’s pediatrician.
If you are looking for a second opinion or have questions about CBD oil your pediatrician can’t answer, you might also consider setting up a consultation with a qualified cannabis doctor.
As the content and potency of CBD oil varies between products, and no two people metabolize CBD oil the same way, there is no universal dose that can be recommended.
Always consult the information leaflet provided with your CBD product, and when in doubt, seek professional advice. While it is not considered possible to overdose on CBD oil, you should take caution with dosages when it comes to children.
Remember, most dosage recommendations are created with adults in mind. A conversation with your doctor and/or the CBD oil product provider should help you find a dosage that’s safe and effective for your child.
You might also consider speaking with a cannabis doctor who specializes in natural, CBD-based treatment options.
Get the Ultimate CBD Buyer’s Guide and you won’t look at CBD the same way again!