CBD for Children 101 – Safety, Benefits, and Side Effects
CBD is hardly something that one would expect children to use. The hemp-derived compound, which has become a huge part of many people’s lives today through, is psychoactive. However, it does not cause the “high” that THC is responsible for. But today, when you browse the CBD section on different online shops, you may notice that there are products advertised for specific audiences – including children.
CBD is used to treat certain health conditions or relieve various types of pain, while others simply use it as means of relaxation. But is this a compound that should be given to children?
Whether you were planning to start giving your little one some CBD treats, or this topic simply piqued your interest, this post is here to give you all the details. We’ll dive into the safety of CBD for children, as well as the benefits and side effects of the supplement.
What Is CBD and How Is It Used?
There are two things that those who hear about CBD for the first time wonder: what exactly is CBD and how do people use it?
Cannabidiol or CBD for short is a chemical found in the Cannabis sativa plant. It is one of the most popular and researched active ingredients in the plant. Cannabis and hemp feature hundreds of other components, but CBD is the most known one along with THC.
Despite being a psychoactive ingredient, CBD is not responsible for getting you high. THC is the one that leads to intoxicating effects, which is why many individuals who order CBD products look for something that has little to no THC.
Whether CBD has THC in it or not depends on the particular plant it is extracted from. CBD that comes from marijuana sometimes has THC in it, although it’s not always the case. But when it does, the amount of THC is higher. In comparison, hemp has more CBD than THC, so even when THC is present, it will be there in smaller amounts. 
You can find CBD in different forms, and each person chooses one based on the CBD content or their preferences. People use CBD in the following ways:
CBD oils or tinctures
Creams, lotions, or different topicals
Is CBD Legal for Children?
As a parent, you may be worried about the legality of giving CBD products to a child. The laws surrounding the hemp-derived compound left many people confused. Also, seeing so many products being advertised as safe for kids doesn’t help.
At the moment, the FDA has approved only one type of CBD product for kids, one that is in purified form. The substance was only approved to treat conditions such as rare seizures on which medication seems to have no effect. Epidiolex is the item that has been approved so far for kids for treating seizures. 
How Can CBD Help Children?
There are several CBD products – such as oil – that are administered to children. So, they must have some benefits, right? Well, CBD oil has been used to treat different conditions in kids, even though only one has been approved by the FDA so far.
Let’s take a look at how CBD oil may help children:
Some parents have reported giving their children CBD oil for attention deficit hyperactivity disorders or ADHD. At the same time, there isn’t enough research supporting the use of CBD for this condition, and we don’t know too much about the advantages and drawbacks.
Some parents claimed that CBD oil use helped reduce their children’s symptoms, and others declared they saw no improvement. At the same time, there was a study done by several Israeli researchers where 60 children experienced improvements in their problems in terms of communication, anxiety, and outbreaks after taking CBD. 
So far, we don’t have enough proof to say that CBD can be helpful as an ADHD treatment.
Since the FDA has approved Epidiolex for the treatment of seizures, a lot of parents give this product to their kids for epilepsy. The purified CBD form can help manage seizures in children who have Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
In order to determine how efficient it is in treating epilepsy, researchers did three drug trials involving Epidiolex and 516 patients that had the Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or the Dravet syndrome. It turned out that compared to placebo, Epidiolex was successful in reducing the frequency of the seizures in children dealing with rare forms of epilepsy. 
It’s hard to tell whether CBD oil will be able to provide the same effects as Epidiolex for seizures, as we don’t have any scientific evidence at the moment.
Anxiety affects many people, including children. In fact, between 2016 and 2019, 9.4% of children between 3 and 17 years of age have been diagnosed with anxiety. 
CBD is used to combat anxiety in many cases, even in children. According to various human and animal studies, CBD oil can help reduce anxiety symptoms.  At the same time, it is important to keep in mind that so far, there aren’t enough tests to prove that children can enjoy the same benefits.
There was a study involving a patient dealing with PTSD. He was only 10 years of age and used CBD oil. The product proved effective in reducing insomnia, as well as anxiety feelings. 
Autism is another condition that can be treated with CBD. Various studies were conducted to determine the effectiveness of the compound against autism, and they had positive results.
There was one particular study that involved 188 children between 5 and 18 years old who had autism. The children received a 30% CBD oil and 1.5% THC solution that they used sublingually three times per day.
After a month, the majority of the study participants had improvements in many symptoms like rage attacks, restlessness, and seizures. The symptoms improvement persisted over 6 months for most children. 
At the same time, there was no control group. Therefore, researchers mentioned how one must be cautious when interpreting the test results.
If you’re a parent, it can be extremely tough to watch your child go through pain – therefore, you may think of giving them CBD for relief. The good news is that CBD can be beneficial against pain, as many use it for its pain-relieving benefits.
More than 60% of people who use CBD do it to relieve various types of physical pain.  CBD can not only decrease pain but can also help reduce inflammation, as various studies have concluded.
The studies we have so far involved adult subjects or animal ones, with studies on minors being quite rare. However, what we know so far is promising, and with the right amount, a kid can experience less pain by taking CBD.
Giving CBD to Children – Potential Risks
Even though CBD has numerous benefits when given to children to treat different health conditions and types of pain, it also has some side effects. This is why, in some cases, CBD can carry a lot of risks when it’s administered to kids.
CBD oil has started getting more popular over the last few years. Therefore, we do not know everything about it yet, because there weren’t many tests conducted on the compound.
The substance can lead to side effects in children, such as sleep problems and restlessness. In some situations, it can also cause seizures in toddlers, fatigue, diarrhea, drowsiness, fever, and vomiting. It may even lead to liver damage.
On top of that, CBD may interact with other medications. For this reason, you should not rush to give your little one a dose of CBD if they already have to take other medication, especially if that medication features a grapefruit warning.
How Can You Choose a CBD Product for Children?
If you decide to give your child CBD, you should make sure to choose the right type of product. Some brands have a selection dedicated to kids, but others don’t. It’s crucial to pay attention to every aspect of a CBD product before giving it to your little one. Make sure you do not administer something that has too much CBD in it if you don’t want any side effects.
Here are some things to pay attention to when selecting a CBD product for your child:
- Discover the source of the product – See where the product was manufactured. Also, try to find out if the soil where the hemp was grown in is organic. Make sure that no toxins and pesticides were used on it.
- Look at the label – Check out the label to find out the CBD amount it contains. Each product will have a different amount of CBD, so see how much your chosen item has per recommended dose. Also, keep in mind that some products will list the CBD amount in milligrams for the entire bottle, jar, or box, instead of one dose. Find one that shows milligrams per milliliter. 
- Check for third-party lab tests – Make sure that the brand you are buying from subjected the product to third-party lab tests and that it features lab results that you can look at.
Giving CBD to Kids – A Few Tips
Browsing CBD shops will put you face to face with a long list of products that you can choose from, and it may be hard to pick one, especially when it’s your child’s safety at stake. Things are even trickier if you don’t know a lot about CBD and worry about getting a low-quality product.
One of the easiest ways to start giving your kid CBD is by using CBD gummies. They are yummy treats that your little one is bound to love – after all, what child doesn’t love sweets? Choose a delicious flavor and your little one will definitely not make the faces he/she makes when you administer less pleasant types of medications.
Another great way to give CBD to a child is by administering it through tinctures. All you have to do is apply this under the kid’s tongue, and the body will absorb it. If possible, the child should keep the liquid in their mouth for a while without swallowing. This makes for better absorption.
However, if you settle for tinctures, make sure you do not choose a product that has alcohol solvent. Always analyze the ingredients list to prevent purchasing something that could harm your child.
If the kid is experiencing any skin-related problem, you can choose a CBD topical like a lotion, cream, or ointment. It can soothe the affected skin area and perhaps even aid in healing.
Syrups are also great, even if CBD ones are not that common. The reason why they’re easy to administer is that they have good taste, so your child will not run away from them.
While capsules could also be a good way to get CBD content, they are not the best for children, so don’t try to buy them for kids, particularly if they are younger than 8. Their airways are much smaller, and they may have difficulties swallowing the capsules – as a result, they may get stuck in the throat. You can avoid this scenario by staying away from CBD capsules altogether.
CBD can have various benefits for children. It could help treat seizures, as well as anxiety, autism, and pain. On the other hand, some children may also experience side effects – especially if they use products with too much CBD content or consume the wrong products.
Before giving your little one CBD, do as much research as possible to ensure that the product is safe so they will experience no drawbacks.
1. What is the difference between hemp CBD and cannabis CBD?
2. FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD)
3. Cannabidiol Based Medical Cannabis in Children with Autism- a Retrospective Feasibility Study (P3.318)
4. FDA Approves First Drug Comprised of an Active Ingredient Derived from Marijuana to Treat Rare, Severe Forms of Epilepsy
5. Anxiety and Depression in Children: Get the facts
6. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders
7. Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report
8. Real life Experience of Medical Cannabis Treatment in Autism: Analysis of Safety and Efficacy
9. A Cross-Sectional Study of Cannabidiol Users