CBD is everywhere, from grocery stores to corner stores to medical dispensaries, the natural, plant-based compound is being offered as an effective treatment for all sorts of common ailments, including pain relief, stress, and anxiety.
Scientifically known as canabidiol, CBD is an oil that’s extracted from the hemp or sativa plant. CBD that is derived from the hemp plant will naturally have lower levels of THC, while CBD extracted from the marijuana plant is likely to have a higher concentration.
What’s unique about CBD is that, unlike other cannabinoids such as THC, it doesn’t have any psychoactive effects. This means that it doesn’t cause the feeling of being “high.” CBD is available in a variety of forms, including lotions, coffee, oils, and of course, gummies.
While CBD is generally marketed for adults, there are a growing number of parents who are interested in using CBD as a way to help their kids sleep, calm down, and to focus. There are also parents who are interested in experimenting in using CBD to help with seizures, anxiety, and other conditions.
But, how safe is CBD? And can CBD gummies really help your child? Here’s everything you need to know in order to make an informed decision.
What is the History of CBD?
For centuries, CBD has been used around the world for medicinal purposes. In fact, dating back to 1851, in the U.S., marijuana was classified as a viable medical compound that could be used to treat conditions such as pain, migraines, and even epilepsy. But, because marijuana and cannabis-related products were illegalized in 1970, it was nearly impossible to get federal funding in order to research marijuana, CBD, and other compounds in the plant.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp cultivation and declassified hemp as a Schedule I controlled substance, which opened the door for federal-level studies to examine the effects and benefits of CBD. Even though a few years have passed, there is still much research to be done, especially in children.
Conditions CBD May Help
Many studies have found that CBD may be beneficial in helping with a variety of conditions, with epilepsy being one of them. In fact, there is an FDA approved drug, Epidiolex, which is said to treat difficult-to-control seizures in children that have Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, which are two rare forms of epilepsy.
Aside from epilepsy, there are also studies that show that CBD oil may be effective in helping children (and adults) who suffer from anxiety. In 2015, researchers from New York University reviewed 49 different studies, but found promising results for using CBD to minimize anxiety.
Though most evidence is preclinical, research was able to conclusively demonstrate that CBD is helpful in reducing anxiety behaviors related to many disorders, including panic disorder, PTSD, OCD, and generalized anxiety disorder.
Another promising result of CBD is its use to control problem behaviors that are found in children on the autism spectrum. Israeli researchers conducted a feasibility study that involved 60 children and noted substantial improvement in stress levels, anxiety and communication problems, and improvement in behavioral outbreaks.
Several studies have also found that CBD may be beneficial in minimizing pain, improving sleep, and much more.
While CBD gummies may seem like the perfect way to help your child sleep or to reduce stress and anxiety, there is mostly only anecdotal evidence about the benefits of CBD. And despite these studies, there are still many concerns surrounding these products, especially when giving them to children.
Some of the most notable benefits include the fact that:
- The CBD industry isn’t regulated by the FDA or any other federal agency
- Products are unreliable in regards to delivering consistent dosages of CBD
- Quality assurance is lacking
- Products may contain other ingredients, such as THC, which could be harmful
- Very little information about how CBD is absorbed and delivered to the brain
- Interactions with other medications
- Appropriate dosing for children
Because of these concerns, it’s impossible to say with complete certainty that CBD gummies and other products are safe, especially for children. But, there are some trusted sources that claim that CBD is generally safe.
A 2018 report released by the World Health Organization concluded that CBD is generally well tolerated and has a good safety profile. The organization also noted that any adverse effects may be due to interactions between CBD and existing medications that a patient is taking.
The report also found that CBD has no indication of potential dependence or abuse, and that the compound has shown effectiveness for treating epilepsy along with many other medical conditions.
Bottom Line: Is CBD Safe?
As a parent, at the end of the day, what you care most about is whether or not CBD is a safe substance that can be given to your child. While studies have uncovered some potentially promising results, there is still much research to be done.
Remember, there is only one FDA approved treatment on the market. This product is designed to treat rare forms of epilepsy, but this is the only FDA approved application of using CBD to treat a health condition in children.
The anecdotal evidence may be promising and persuasive, but when it comes to giving a new substance to your child, it’s best to be as cautious as possible. So while it may seem convenient to be able to give your child a few CBD gummies to ease stress or for calming effects, there is always a risk.
Before giving your child any new supplement or medication, you’ll want to talk with your child’s pediatrician. This way you can discuss any adverse effects, such as interactions with existing medications.
CBD has taken the world by storm, so it’s no surprise that a growing number of parents are interested in learning how CBD can help their child. As with any new product, it’s important to use caution and to get medical clearance from your child’s pediatrician before administering any product that contains CBD.