Many people today (including your yoga teacher) tout CBD as the ultimate salve for anxiety, pain and insomnia, among other woes.But, what about our children (who are bouncing off the walls as we speak)? Is CBD oil for kids safe? Or even a good idea?
So Before you start dropping cannabinoid oil under your child’s tongue or packing up some gummies in their lunch, you need to get as much info on whether or not it’s safe and effective as possible. In this article we are going to be talking about how CBD works and the risks and benefits associated with giving it to children.
What is CBD?
C.B.D. stand for Cannabidiol which is one of around 113 identified cannabinoids in the cannabis plants. CBD also accounts for up to 40% of the plant’s extract. In 2018, clinical research on cannabidiol included preliminary studies of anxiety, cognition, movement disorders, and pain. CBD can be taken in multiple ways, including by inhaling it as a vapor, using it as an aerosol spray by mouth, capsule form, topical creams and edibles.
Is CBD effective?
Evidence of CBD’s healing capacity is everywhere: Internet blogs that say you should have it in your “parenting toolbox,” your real-life social circle buzzes about its efficacy and the same goes for the medical and scientific communities. Practitioners and researchers alike are excited about its potential, and for good reason—the early evidence is promising and the findings suggest more than just a fad.
According to a 2019 study in The Permanente Journal, published just this year concluded that cannabidiol may hold benefit for anxiety-related disorders. While the results of this study showed no evidence of a safety issues, researchers explained that all results must be interpreted very cautiously. Randomized and controlled trials are needed to provide definitive clinical guidance.
There is also a ton more research out there on CBD’s potential as a therapeutic treatment, and it looks pretty good—but the science still remains too scarce and too young to validate the many glowing claims made about its use.
So is CBD oil safe for kids?
If you’re intrigued by the evidence above and you’re wondering what the harm is in trying this trendy stuff out on your sleep-deprived or anxious child, we don’t blame you. And there’s at least one case study that suggests the therapeutic benefit of CBD in children; in 2016, a 10-year-old girl who suffered from PTSD-related anxiety and insomnia and found her symptoms improved by CBD treatment. What’s more, there’s a pretty strong consensus among reputable sources that pure CBD does not pose serious, acute health risks. The World Health Organization’s critical review concludes that “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.” However with that being said, you should probably leave the clinical trials to the scientists, most doctors agree.
Dr. Dyan (medical director and founder of Gramercy Pediatrics), agrees that it’s best not to start experimenting with relatively unknown remedies. Reminding parents that, aside from the one FDA approved THC based drug, Epidiolex, for use in specific types of seizures in children over age 2 years…no other CBD oils on the market have been tested in a rigorous scientific manner in children. Plus, because the promising early evidence is too new to provide insight on long-term effects, we do not know how CBD would interact with other medications or affect the growing brain.
OK, but my kid is still anxious and can’t sleep. What can I do?
According to Doctors, teaching cognitive coping skills…is a powerful way to restructure neural pathways to treat and prevent anxiety. In short, there are tons of ways to help your child stay calm without going the CBD route. Here are a few tried-and-true methods, recommended by moms and health professionals alike.
1. Limit screen time
TV is fast-paced these days and has been linked to aggression, attention and sleep issues in children. It’s not just television—even just one hour of general screen time per day has been linked to lowered curiosity, self-control, emotional stability and a greater inability to complete tasks, according to a San Diego State University study published in 2018 in the journal Preventative Medicine Reports.
2. Download a meditation app
There are dozens—some better than others—that can cater to your child’s specific needs whether it’s helping your little one fall asleep with a soothing sleep story or providing centering visual cues or calming breathing exercises. Smiling Mind offers a super zen full body scan to help kids become more aware of how their bodies react when they’re under duress. Headspace and StopBreatheThink also have guided meditations specifically designed for kids.
3. Be a team
While these things can work wonders, you are in this battle with your child. So join the team. Meditate with them, learn alongside your child what’s working and what’s not and develop a lifestyle that works for you both.
Yeah, we can’t condone giving your kids a whole bunch of CBD gummies. But there are plenty of resources for helping your little one stay calm under pressure. (And if you’re still concerned that his anxiety isn’t improving, definitely consult your pediatrician.)