Is CBD Safe For Use In Children?

If you’re a parent, you’ll go the extra mile for your child’s health. When your child is sick, and your child is not improving with conventional medicine, you may consider alternative treatments. You may have read or heard stories from parents saying they’re using CBD with their children. So, if CBD is appealing to you and you’re curious about how it could keep your child healthy, this article will explain to you elaborately what you need to know about CBD for children and why you should consider using CBD with your children too.

Cannabidiol, commonly called CBD, has gained popularity due to its reported therapeutic effects. Though CBD’s idea may seem doubtful to parents, research has shown that CBD is safe for children’s consumption and has considerable potential in treating several pediatric illnesses and disorders and is vital for a child’s overall development.

What Is CBD, And How Does It Work?

CBD for children is labeled negatively because of its linkage with marijuana. It is expected and reasonable for parents not to want their kids to use actual marijuana and get high. But CBD is different from marijuana.

Cannabidiol or CBD is a naturally-occurring substance from the cannabis plant with no psychoactive effects and has generally been tagged safe and effective by the World Health Organization (WHO).CBD does not get users “high,” and is non-addictive. CBD is a promising medication for many health conditions, including chronic pain, autoimmune disorders, mental and neurological conditions, inflammations, and many more due to its impressive interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The endocannabinoid system is present in every human being. The ECS’s ultimate function is to maintain a stable environment in the body (homeostasis) and make sure that cells of all kinds effectively communicate and coordinate with one another. One example of how this works; say you sprained your leg, at the sprained area, cannabinoids are there working to reduce tons of sensitizers and activators being from the sprained area. As a result of this, your nerves feel less inflamed and less painful.

The ECS is composed of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids receptors. These receptors are found throughout the body and are responsible for vital body processes. These receptors are mostly located in the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, and immune cells.

So, how does CBD work with the ECS?

When you consume CBD, the CBD mimics the cannabinoid in the body. CBD is active at both CB1 and CB2 receptors; meaning CBD helps in regulating mood, appetite, sleep, and it helps in relieving pain and inflammation, and many more.

Can Children Safely Consume CBD?

The use of CBD for children is generally safe, as concluded by WHO. CBD is non-psychotropic, meaning it doesn’t alter perception or consciousness or cause “high,” making it a good option for treating pediatric health conditions.

A study in 2018 examined CBD’s long-term safety in a group of 607 adults and children. The study concluded that CBD is safe for children, and the only side effects reported were minor – diarrhea and sleepiness.

Suppose you are administering CBD to your child. In that case, your child can benefit from improved mental focus, better cognition and memory function, increased alertness during the day, improved sleep quality, and enhanced immune function.

There are numerous ways to administer CBD to children. Many parents choose to give CBD to their child via vaporization or tinctures. Vaporization can deliver the CBD to your child’s bloodstream more quickly than any other method, but more child-friendly formats are CBD-infused gummy sweets and CBD oils. You can put a few drops of CBD oil under your child’s tongue, but children often dislike the earthly taste, so instead, you can mix CBD oil with food like yogurt or smoothie. CBD-infused gummies are also perfect for children’s sweet tooth as it can help override the taste of the oil.

Also, remember that, yes, CBD for children is safe, but CBD products are unregulated, so don’t immediately place your confidence in a product you’ve just seen online. Here are tips to help you find safe and reputable CBD for children:

  1. Read the label and look for the CBD amount per recommended dose.
  2. Research on where the product is manufactured; ask the manufacturer or retailer about the origin- if it comes from hemp if it was cultivated free of pesticides or toxins.
  3. Make sure that the CBD product you are purchasing has undergone third-party testing. Ask for the lab results and read them to verify. The product must have a certificate of analysis (COA) issued from laboratories certified by either one of these organizations: Association of Official Agricultural Chemists (AOAC), the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), or the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP).

Dravet Syndrome and CBD

Dravet syndrome is a severe type of epilepsy that develops in children. The syndrome also causes brain-organic developmental disorders; it slows down the psychomotor and cognitive development of children. Other diseases also develop as Dravet syndrome progresses, such as hyperactivity, behavioral problems, autism, and depression. Dravet syndrome is complicated to manage because most patients do not respond adequately to antiepileptic drugs. However, new data shows the positive effects of CBD in reducing seizures and increasing the life expectancy of patients with Dravet syndrome. 

In 2019, the drug Epidyolex (spelled as Epidiolex in the U.S.) was approved by the E.U. for the treatment of Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, another type of epilepsy in children. Epidyolex contains 100 milligrams of highly purified CBD per milliliter. This drug is available in 28 countries of the European Union, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein. 

The USA has also been using Epidiolex since 2018 to curb severe epilepsy and is the first cannabis- containing drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The Case of Medical Marijuana For Epilepsy

A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2017 shows that CBD can reduce and attenuate the epileptic seizures of Dravet syndrome patients. The study involved 120 children and adolescents with therapy-resistant seizures aged 2 to 18 years. The participants reported seizures that occur four times in a month and have shown no response to antiepileptic drugs. The participants were grouped into two; one group received CBD orally at 20mg/kg dose, while the other received a placebo solution without CBD. The children and adolescents who were given CBD oral solutions resulted in a more significant reduction in convulsive-seizure frequency, from 12.4 to 5.9 per month. At the same time, the seizures in the placebo group reduced only from 14.9 to 14.1 on average. 

Aside from intense research, a child named Charlotte Figi bought national attention to the medical benefits of CBD for children. Charlotte suffered her first seizure at three months of age. Her seizures continue to worsen, and at age 5, she suffered as many as 300 grand mal seizures a week. She then began losing milestones; she is no longer responding to any medications. Struggled to walk and talk, she was full-assisted with her daily living activities, and she went into repeated cardiac arrest. Her family was told that Charlotte had reached the end of the road.

Charlotte’s mother sought the benefits of CBD. While her physicians initially discouraged cannabis therapy, they eventually gave her the green light. Charlotte started at low doses of CBD, and she immediately experienced seven consecutive days without a single seizure; that is more than a 90% reduction! Her mother slowly increased the extract dose, and at 20 months of CBD use, she had only 2-3 seizures per month, and she has started talking, walking, and eating on her own. Charlotte’s autistic behaviors became better, as well. With CBD, she began to live in a relatively healthy life, showing no long-term side effects from her constant CBD usage.

The CBD since then gained much attention as an option for managing severe types of seizures. The case of Charlotte Figi has also sparked the call for thoughtful and thorough scientific investigations into CBD to confirm its safety and antiepileptic potential; while calling for legal access to CBD for children has also amplified.

Is CBD Right For Your Child?

The science of CBD for children is relatively recent, but there are already numerous studies that point to its benefits. CBD can help manage pain in children caused by various conditions. CBD is also useful in reducing anxiety and depression in children. It could also improve the symptoms of autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). More research is still required for CBD to become a conventional treatment, but it is worth talking to your doctor if you want to know if CBD is for your child. 

While CBD is full of health benefits, it is not a magic potion for everything. CBD for children is not perfect. CBD also has potential side effects, though minor, that is worth considering, such as sleepiness, diarrhea, and difficulty in concentrating. CBD for children is safe itself, but it can potentially interact with other medications. So make sure that you’ll get the doctor’s approval before administering CBD to your child. Your doctor will advise you on how to use CBD for children, recommend suitable CBD-infused products to use, and give proper dosing so your child can get the most out of it.