Is CBD Safe for Kids? [Understanding the Facts…]
The words “CBD” and “kids” might seem absolutely shocking to be seen alongside one another, but don’t react too quickly. Although CBD does come from the often feared cannabis plant, CBD is rather different from what you might expect.
For starters, CBD is entirely non-psychoactive, meaning there’s no way to get high by using it. Alongside that, the only actual effect CBD has on the human body is that it interacts with the built-in system already present within our bodies, called the endocannabinoid system.
This means that it should be entirely safe for use with children. Not only that, it could help improve their quality of life and treat symptoms stemming from a number of serious illnesses.
Despite all this, it’s entirely likely that you might still consider CBD for kids dangerous, thanks to its association with marijuana. In this article, we point out several key differences that make this cannabis-based compound entirely different from its high-inducing counterpart.
What is CBD – and How is it Different From Marijuana?
CBD is an integral component of the Cannabis sativa plant, existing as a principal cannabinoid within the species. Cannabis actually contains a variety of different cannabinoid substances, including CBD and THC.
THC is actually the fearful component of cannabis that gets people high due to its interaction with the human brain and the endocannabinoid system. However, THC interacts with the human body very differently to CBD, meaning that the latter simply cannot get you high.
It is similar to some medicines in that it has a medicinal/therapeutic effect, with little to no side effects.
CBD exists within the cannabis plant in a much-reduced amount when compared to THC – usually around 1/10th of its amount (depending on the strain). This means that, to make a suitable medicine from cannabis (either hemp or marijuana) using CBD, the compound needs to be extracted and concentrated in higher amounts.
After it has been extracted using a superheating process, the CBD is commonly suspended in inert oil, creating CBD oil. When administered, the CBD inside the oil interacts with the endocannabinoid system, specifically the CB1 and CB2 receptors, both of which help encourage the body to begin to heal itself using natural processes.
This endocannabinoid system is vital in maintaining the health of the human body, specifically with regard to a variety of mental imbalances and issues (such Parkinson’s disease and other neurological diseases). It can also help deal with inflammation and other responses to infection throughout the body.
All that is well and good, but how do we know for sure that CBD is safe for kids? Is there a risk that it can affect a child’s development?
CBD for Kids – Is Your Child Safe?
Brain development is a principle concern when considering any medication for children. As the brain of a child is constantly developing at a rate incomparable to adults, you have to make sure that this development isn’t damaged by any external substances.
For example, marijuana is commonly thought of as able to damage the development of a child’s brain. However, numerous studies have yet to find a concrete link between marijuana consumption and abated brain development. This is primarily because, as demonstrated in a study conducted by Meier et al., many of these studies that try to showcase the danger to a child’s brain don’t actually consider alcohol and cigarette usage as well.
The reason this is important is because, if a teenager is smoking marijuana illegally, the chance of them also imbibing alcohol or smoking cigarettes is much, much higher. When studying a sample of teenagers that admit to using marijuana, the results can be skewed by the fact that they are more likely to also be drinking heavily. Alcohol is extremely detrimental to a child’s development, so any studies published trying to state that marijuana is the problem likely isn’t telling you the full story.
However, as mentioned, CBD is not marijuana. The benefits of CBD have been clearly established, as well as the potential side effects.
In a study conducted by Scott Shannon, researchers observed the potential for CBD oil to aid young people dealing with pediatric anxiety and insomnia as a result of PTSD. As sad as it is, there is a huge number of children suffering as a result of abuse or mistreatment. In the study, Shannon administered CBD to his ten-year-old subject who had suffered sexual abuse and PTSD.
The study found that the patient maintained a significant drop in anxiety, as well as improving the quality and frequency of the patient’s sleep. Most significantly, the patient suffered no demonstrable side effects. This is incredibly significant because it showcases through a recent case study example that CBD can be used safely and usefully to help treat child sufferers of PTSD and anxiety.
But what about other conditions? Can CBD for kids be used to help other pediatric ailments?
Charlotte Figi – The Landmark Case That Inspired Use of CBD for Kids Everywhere
Charlotte Figi is a child that suffered from the serious epileptic condition known as Dravet Syndrome. This meant that Charlotte was suffering from over 300 grand mal seizures every single month. These are the typically painful and dangerous full body seizures that can cause serious injury to a small child.
Quite obviously, Charlotte suffered massively from her condition. She was swiftly suffering developmental damage, with her parents finding that she was regressing mentally and losing the ability to articulate herself or speak at all.
However, when she was 5 years old, her parents decided to try CBD as an alternative medicine. Thankfully, they found the Stanley Brothers who helped develop a strain of high-CBD, low-THC cannabis which they named “Charlotte’s Web”.
After a period of applying it into her food using the extracted CBD in oil, Charlotte’s seizures went from 300 intense, dangerous and painful grand mal seizures a month, to only 2-3 occurrences each month. Even better, those few seizures occurred in her sleep, allowing her to not risk injury from falling.
As a result of Charlotte Figi’s landmark case, people all over the world now understand the potential for CBD to help treat epilepsy. And thanks to recent legalization efforts across the US (Epidiolex is the first CBD-based epilepsy medication to gain FDA approval), more and more epilepsy sufferers are able to get access to CBD to help treat their conditions.
However, are there any side effects for children? All medicines can be said to have at least some side effects, so it stands to reason that a child would feel those side effects more keenly.
CBD for Kids: Side Effects in Children
In a study conducted by Kerstin Iffland and Franjo Grotenhermen for the International Cannabinoid Research Society, researchers utilized a myriad of survey data from a variety of studies wherein CBD was used a medicine.
The study found that the most frequent side effects were mild drowsiness, diarrhea and other small alterations in appetite and weight. As the study was specifically looking at CBD, the researchers found that the side effects of CBD, when compared to the side effects accompanying other conventional epilepsy drugs, were vastly preferable.
Oddly enough, this study actually found that CBD improved the ability of one mainstream drug, Clobazam, to help combat seizures as a result of epilepsy. This combined effect was in fact more potent than when only taking either Clobazam or CBD.
The researchers did, however, also find that there was an extreme lack of research into hormonal development as a result of CBD usage. Though not demonstrating that there is any danger, Iffland and Grotenhermen stated that, as of yet, there are too few published studies into the long-term hormonal developmental rates when using CBD. Basically all this implies is that the scientific world isn’t yet done with its research on CBD for kids!
Final Thoughts on CBD for Kids
CBD, though often associated negatively with THC and marijuana in general, has the potential to help a massive number of children. Thanks to recent studies and data, CBD has been demonstrated to be beneficial for untold numbers of suffering children. From helping treat mental disorders (such as eating disorders or depression) all the way to reducing inflammation and even improving skin conditions like psoriasis, CBD could have many uses.
It is absolutely understandable to not want your children smoking marijuana due to its characteristic psychoactive high, as well as the potential long-term damage to your child’s mental and hormonal development – not to mention the risk of burgeoning psychosis and other ailments. However, CBD is not at all similar to THC in terms of the effects it gives its users; the only similarities are that they are both cannabinoids that come from the same plant.
CBD works to help heal your body by interacting with a health system that already exists in your body. It works in the same manner with children as it does with adults. You may have to change the quantity of CBD you give to a child, but ultimately the process is the same; it interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors and encourages your body to start the healing process itself.
And, most importantly, it does all this with very mild side effects. Even better, it doesn’t have any kind of addictive or habit-forming properties, allowing patients to start and stop usage as necessary. CBD for kids is easy to use, and is quickly becoming more and more legal throughout the country, gaining more approval among both doctors and medical researchers alike.