giving cbd to a child

As for effectiveness, the WHO noted that several clinical trials had shown effectiveness for epilepsy, adding: “There is also preliminary evidence that CBD may be a useful treatment for a number of other medical conditions.”

While anecdotal evidence of the benefits of CBD is common, there are risks associated with using these products, especially in children. Some of the concerns:

These days, you can find CBD everywhere. Some people believe that it can treat everything from chronic pain and cancer to anxiety and ADHD. But is it safe for kids?

CBD oil for anxiety

The “preclinical” evidence (ie from animal studies) “conclusively demonstrates CBD’s efficacy in reducing anxiety behaviors relevant to multiple disorders,” Dr. Blessing wrote. Those include generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder and OCD.

“Overall, current evidence indicates CBD has considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders,” Dr. Blessing concludes, “with need for further study of chronic and therapeutic effects in relevant clinical populations.”

The review notes that the promising preclinical results are also supported by human experimental findings, which also suggest “minimal sedative effects, and an excellent safety profile.” But these findings are based on putting healthy subjects in anxiety-producing situations and measuring the impact of CBD on the anxiety response. Further studies are required to establish treatment with CBD would have similar effects for those who struggle with chronic anxiety, as well as what the impact of extended CBD use may be.

Is CBD safe?

Dr. Mitrani, who is a pediatrician and child and adolescent psychiatrist, says it’s an area worthy of investigation but recommends that parents wait until further research is done before giving a child CBD.

In 2015 a group of researchers led by Esther Blessing, PhD, of New York University, investigated the potential of CBD for treating anxiety. In a review of 49 studies, they found promising results and the need for more study.

Giving cbd to a child

Similarly, many parents are trying CBD products for children with A.D.H.D., for which there are no reported controlled trials with kids. One small trial on 30 adults with a mouth spray containing both CBD and THC had inconclusive results.

“I had a patient start taking CBD and I only found out a month in,” said Mitchell. “Parents may assume that a doctor will respond in a negative way.” It’s a doctor’s responsibility, he said, to be open to discussing options. “If you shut a patient down, it doesn’t mean you won the argument, it means they’re not going to talk about it.”

“I’m trying to be very cautious about it,” said Meiri with regards to CBD and autism. “We still don’t have enough research about safety and efficacy.”

No silver bullets

It’s impossible to overdose on pure CBD, but synthetic knock-offs can be poisonous. In 2019, the American Association of Poison Control Centers put out an alert noting “growing concern” about CBD products, with national calls about CBD rocketing from just over 100 in 2017 to more than 1,500 last year.

With no scientific proof that CBD works and is safe for children, Mitchell said stimulant-based medications like Adderall are a better option than CBD. “We know much more about one than the other, so the choice is simple,” he said. But he understands why a parent might consider CBD as an alternative, he said, given that it is typically seen as a gentle drug with few side effects.

Hints of help

“There can be pesticides, heavy metals and microbes in the plants,” said Hazekamp. It isn’t clear if those are making it into CBD oils, he said.

“When you’re desperate, you want options,” said John Mitchell, clinician at Duke ADHD Clinic in Durham, N.C. “I’m a parent myself. I get it.” But, he cautioned, for now the enthusiasm is running ahead of the science. “I’m very hesitant to say anything promising about it. It’s an open question.”