Over the last several years, CBD products (and cannabis, in general) have grown substantially more popular as alternatives to conventional treatments for a variety of ailments. People are trying it out to address concerns such as pain, anxiety, insomnia, and more.
As more people find it helpful, parents are beginning to wonder if CBD might also provide relief for their kids. A 2021 Mott Poll regarding parent perspectives on CBD use in children found that 73% of parents thought it might be a good option when other medications don’t work, and 7% said they had considered giving their children CBD or had already done so.
Can CBD help kids, though? Here’s what parents need to know.
A Closer Look at Cannabis and CBD
Cannabis is a plant widely known for its THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content and high-inducing effects. Recently, though, it’s been gaining popularity for its CBD. Many studies have shown these two compounds may provide physical and mental health benefits.
While THC and CBD are two of the main components of cannabis, they’re far from the only ones. The cannabis plant actually contains more than 100 known cannabinoids or chemical compounds that interact with receptors in the body to produce various effects. Some studies have shown that they may provide benefits of their own. They may also work together with all other compounds in a given plant to provide enhanced therapeutic benefits.
One reason behind CBD’s popularity is that, unlike THC, it doesn’t cause a high. It also doesn’t interact with cannabinoid receptors in the body in the same way as THC. Instead, the cannabinoid appears to prefer serotonin and vanilloid receptors. Research shows that it can activate serotonin receptors, producing anti-anxiety effects. By binding with the vanilloid receptors, it can alter pain perception.
CBD Childcare: Childhood Conditions CBD May Help With
Over the last few years, researchers have uncovered many potential benefits of CBD. Here’s a closer look at some ailments that children face where CBD might be able to help.
Epilepsy is the most common childhood brain disorder in the U.S., affecting around 450,000 children. The condition can cause seizures (electrical surges in the brain) that can affect a child’s growth and development without diagnosis and treatment. Doctors treat epilepsy in a few ways, one of the most common being anti-seizure medications.
Medication can be effective for many children. However, for children with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome, two rare epilepsy syndromes, medication doesn’t work. Research has found that CBD may do what conventional anti-seizure drugs can’t and help control seizures in children with these syndromes. In fact, the FDA approved a prescription medication containing CBD (Epidiolex) for patients with these syndromes for whom other treatments have proved ineffective.
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects the brain’s executive function. It impacts approximately 11% of children and makes things like impulse control, focusing, and staying organized difficult.
Many children with ADHD have trouble paying attention, sitting still, and controlling their emotions. While many may have the more well-known hyperactive subtype, others — girls, most commonly — have an inattentive subtype. Rather than squirming around or talking at inappropriate times, they’re easily distracted and forgetful. Treatment of ADHD typically involves the use of multiple strategies, including behavioral therapy, nutrition, exercise, and medication.
Some research suggests CBD may be beneficial for boosting focus and concentration. A 2015 study found that CBD improved facial emotion recognition, indicating that it could help with cognitive function and focus. Studies specifically related to ADHD are limited, but the results are promising.
- A 2013 study found CBD may help reduce impulsivity and hyperactivity (based on self-reported results).
- A 2017 study found a minor reduction of ADHD symptoms in participants treated with Sativex, an oral spray containing CBD and THC.
- A 2020 study found a correlation between higher doses of cannabis and a decreased use of ADHD medications.
An important note is that these studies relied on adults with ADHD, not children.
Autism is an umbrella term that covers a range of conditions affecting how a child interacts with others, communicates, learns, and behaves. It’s also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Children with autism may face a range of challenges. As such, there is no one set treatment. Instead, treatment typically involves a combination of interventions (behavioral, educational, psychological) and/or medication to manage specific symptoms.
Research on CBD’s effectiveness in children with autism is limited, and many studies are small-scale. One study from 2018 found CBD could be helpful, but a larger scale evaluation was necessary. Another study from 2020 looked at the potential therapeutic effects of CBD on mental health, including ASD, and found it may provide symptom relief. Trials are still ongoing, and the results are promising.
Anxiety is one of the most common reasons adults use CBD products. Several studies have found that it can help reduce symptoms of various forms of anxiety, including social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and PTSD. The cannabinoid may help in a few different ways. For one, it inhibits the reuptake of serotonin, making the neurotransmitter more available. In such cases, it may help stabilize mood. CBD may also inhibit the reuptake of anandamide, a natural endocannabinoid produced in the body, which may also help improve mood.
Adults aren’t the only ones who deal with anxiety disorders. By 2020, 5.6 million children had been diagnosed with anxiety problems. CBD may benefit them, too, but there isn’t much research yet.
Like adults, children can suffer various sleep disorders, including insomnia. When children have trouble falling and staying asleep, it can make things like concentrating in school difficult. Poor sleep can also impact their mental health, growth, and development.
Many adults take CBD in the evenings to help them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, and some research suggests it may be effective. It may also help children with similar issues.
Is CBD Safe for Children?
CBD is considered “generally well tolerated,” and side effects, if any, are typically mild. However, despite increased CBD research, there aren’t a lot of studies involving children. Additionally, CBD can interact with some medications.
Parents interested in using CBD for their children should always consult with their child’s pediatrician first to discuss potential benefits and drawbacks. They should also know that more research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of CBD for many conditions that affect both adults and children.
Product quality matters, too. With the growing popularity of cannabis and CBD, numerous unscrupulous companies have popped up. If you’re interested in trying cannabis, research to find reputable companies like VidaCann committed to selling only the highest quality products.
At VidaCann, you’ll find a wide range of quality cannabis and CBD products, allowing you to find products that meet your unique needs. Check us out online or visit your nearest Florida dispensary in person to learn more.