It's no secret that CBD is becoming a more popular treatment option, with people using it to treat everything from anxiety to chronic pain. CBD is a chemical compound found in hemp and marijuana plants but doesn't create the psychoactive effects associated with THC (another cannabis plant compound).
CBD can also be a better alternative to potent painkillers, as it's more convenient and doesn't cause the side effects associated with medications such as codeine and morphine.
We all know that CBD has many benefits for adults - but what about CBD for children? Can you give it to children? More importantly, should you?
Read on to find out.
How Does CBD Work?
CBD works by interacting with the nervous system, which regulates various functions in the body, such as sleep, appetite, mood, and pain response.
Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system - and CBD essentially mimics these endocannabinoids to produce its effects.
What Are the Benefits of CBD for Children?
While some parents are worried about giving their child CBD, it does have some positive effects on certain conditions.
Anxiety is a growing problem in the UK, with many people experiencing the symptoms. However, it also impacts children, and the percentage of diagnoses continues to increase.
Research shows that 9.4% of young people were diagnosed with anxiety from 2016 - 2019 (CDC), and the condition can quickly turn into depression.
One of the primary uses of CBD is for treating anxiety, and studies suggest it works. The Journal of Cannabis Research showed that participants in a study measuring the success of CBD for anxiety and stress noted a positive response.
While there's limited research on whether CBD can treat anxiety in children, the current evidence suggests that if it's effective for adults and pets, it will probably benefit younger people too.
There are many forms of epilepsy, but some are more difficult to treat than others. While some children have milder symptoms, Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome can cause long-term problems and impact a child's quality of life.
Dravet Syndrome: Long, drawn-out seizures are common with Dravet Syndrome, and the complex condition is challenging to treat with regular medication. As these seizures damage the brain, children can develop numerous learning and speech difficulties.
Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome: This form of epilepsy usually appears early in childhood, and it causes a combination of severe seizures. Further to the seizures, all children with the condition will have learning disabilities that range from moderate to severe.
In the USA and UK, a medication for complex epilepsy is available for children, and it's derived from the Cannabis sativa plant.
Epidiolex helps parents to manage their child's condition by reducing the frequency of seizures. The medication is also licensed in the UK, but it's only available for the most severe cases of epilepsy.
Of course, there are some potential side effects, but children with frequent and severe seizures have a poorer quality of life, and reducing the number of attacks can help improve symptoms.
Autism is a developmental condition that can impact a child's ability to communicate effectively and deal with general changes. Aggression is common (especially in younger children), and the effects can lead to long-term issues with employment and fixations on specific topics.
While Autism is a complex condition to treat, there's some evidence that CBD oil can help children with it.
A study published in PubMed looked at the use of medical cannabis in autistic children. It found that symptoms such as anxiety, sleep problems, and social interactions improved after using CBD oil.
While this is just one study, it suggests that CBD could benefit autistic children.
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
ADHD is a common childhood condition that can cause focus, impulsivity, and hyperactivity problems. It's usually diagnosed in early childhood, and it often improves as the child gets older - but some people continue to struggle with symptoms into adulthood.
There are many potential treatments for ADHD, such as medication and therapy - but these don't work for everyone.
CBD oil is promising as a potential treatment for ADHD, but there's no research to prove its effectiveness. However, parents report positive effects on their children, and as CBD is known for reducing stress and anxiety, it's easy to see why it might be beneficial for ADHD.
What Are The Laws On CBD?
The laws in the UK state that a person must be at least 18 years old to buy CBD products, and a product can only be legal if the container contains 1 mg or under of THC.
So, no specific law says a parent cannot give their child CBD products, but parents must make sure they purchase products from a reputable provider.
The most popular forms of CBD include:
Oil: These CBD products go under the tongue. While they're convenient, children might not like the taste.
Patches: CBD patches are similar to painkiller patches, and they're a great idea if your child doesn't like taking medication orally. However, they can be more expensive, and there's little control over how much CBD the body absorbs.
Gummies: CBD gummies are probably the most popular for children because they often have a fruity taste. Just ensure you don't leave them out because they're easily confused with sweets.
Choosing the right CBD product for your child
When choosing the right CBD product for your child, it's essential to consider numerous factors. Let's take a look at them:
Reputability: Finding a reputable provider should be top of your list. A reputable provider will have a website, and detailed information on each product, with an ingredients list so you can check the strengths.
Versatility: You should always start your child on a lower dose and increase if needed. Some ranges, such as cbdMD UK, offer different strengths and have products in gummies, oil and spray form.
Necessity: Lastly, it's essential to think about whether your child really needs CBD. Minor anxiety is treatable with therapy; sometimes, it's better to deal with the problem rather than masking it with medication.