Is CBD Safe for Children?

Cannabidiol – this specific medicinal component has taken quite an elaborate detour in the pharmaceutical sector of USA. Starting as a sketchy cousin of the infamous THC, many stigmas surrounded its existence in the market until many anecdotal tales and then proven scientific research validated the efficacy of CBD. Cannabis and marijuana have been unofficially used for medicinal purposes since the 19th century. However, the psychoactive property of THC had many legal and ethical issues in the society.

Until the 2018 Farm Bill Act, the stigmas surrounding CBD had become less aggressive but knowledge and information about the action and effectiveness of CBD was still partially known. What enhanced or suppressed CBD action? What dosage is ideal for each condition? How CBD regulated body mechanisms? There was a lot of gray area and still is.

Although, now CBD has become legally accepted, adults are still struggling with settling for an appropriate dosage and pure CBD infused products. However, the legalization has caused a concern to rise in the USA. If CBD has actually been legalized for both recreational and medicinal purposes doesn’t it make it safe for children as well?

Well, if the CBD works in our body using the natural endocannabinoid system, it’s going to do the same in children. Right?

That’s not completely right. Scientists declare CBD a safe component with minimum side effects. But time and again, it has been notified that there are no surefire evidences for many of the claims that CBD makes. Because of its natural course of mediation, it has been difficult to track the exact effect of CBD in the body. Every individual seems to react differently and hence deciding a single dosage is still dependent on the consumer.

Similarly, there are two cases of CBD usage in children that need to be considered before claiming its efficacy.

In the early days of legalization, a couple had tried CBD on their daughter, Charlotte Figi as a last resort to treat her extremely rare case of Dravet Syndrome. From 300 seizures per week to 2-3 seizures per month, Charlotte recovered drastically.

On the other hand, Kelly Cervantes similarly administered CBD in her daughter Adelaide who had an unknown neurodegenerative condition with spasms. Instead of any recovery, Adelaide started showing signs of liver failure and her condition worsened.

Both cases show exactly opposite effects of CBD in children. This is to state that CBD is still on unstable grounds with no strong claims when it comes to children. It depends entirely on the child that is until further researches and surveys give some solid evidence.

CBD for Epilepsy

CBD has been widely used in children mainly for rare conditions of epilepsy. There is only one medication that has been FDA-approved for children to date. Epidiolex is a CBD oral solution made to treat severe seizures in epileptic children with Dravet Syndrome or Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome.

Epidiolex was approved after three randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled drug trials that was carried out on 516 patients that showed effectiveness against seizures as compared to placebo. Many other researches also supported this.

Epidiolex is the only CBD product that has scientific evidence with strong claims that is safe for children that no other CBD product can claim. Even though the medication is safe for children it has exhibited a few concerning side effects in children which clearly hints that CBD in children needs to be very carefully administered.

Some of the side effects that surfaced are:

  • Lethargy
  • Elevated liver enzymes
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy and disturbed sleep pattern
  • Rash
  • Fatigue
  • Infections

Severe side effects included:

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Liver injury
  • Agitation

Autism and ADHD

Neural diseases like autism and ADHD are common in children with almost no cure or treatment. With CBD, parents found a new ray of hope for their children.

A study with 188 autistic students showed significant improvement when a thrice a day course was carried out for almost 6 months. The dose included 30 percent CBD oil with 1.5 percent THC under the tongue three times a day.

Although improvement was observed, side effects also followed and other medications like antipsychotics and sedatives were also prescribed.

As for ADHD, there are only anecdotal incidents that show a slight improvement with CBD. No studies or research have yet backed up this claim and many ADHD patients have reported no improvement at all.

Despite such grave situations almost 14 percent of USA citizens have given CBD to their children. The safety criteria for children and adults is not the same and this has been reinforced on many incidents. Where CBD acts as a stress reliever and anti-depressant it may actually trigger anxiety and depression in children.

Why CBD is not safe for Children?

  • A child’s body functions very differently from that of an adult and the main reason is the developing factor. A child is absorbing nutrients and consuming CBD at this point with “addict” the body. Despite the non-intoxicating and non-addictive nature of CBD for which it has become so popular, it can have the opposite effect in children.
  • CBD in the market is still new so there are a lot of health and safety standards that are still unknown or not widely normalized. The non-prescription CBD products that are available at almost every store now may not have the components stated on the label. Dosage and concentration may be higher or lower. This may work for a grown-up adult but not for a developing child.
  • CBD products have a similar interaction like grapefruit with body enzymes responsible for metabolizing drugs. If your child is taking medications with the grapefruit warning, the child should not take CBD.
  • You can never be too sure of the components of CBD products meaning carrier oils, impurities, pesticides and additives etc.

To stay on the safe side, keep children under the legal age away from CBD. If you consider giving CBD to your children for medical purposes never do it without doctor’s consultations. Recreational use of CBD for children should be avoided as much as possible. Many doctors report that non-prescribed use of CBD can be quite risky for children.

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