Can I give my child CBD is the continuous question we get from many concerned parents and I continue to say YES! We each have an endocannabinoid system built into our body, this system balances our endocrine system. Cannabinoids are more than medicine to bring us back to balance, cannabinoids are FOOD for life. Good for everyone to bring us back to health and also, to bring on even greater health and balance. In my search, I found this excellent article for you.
My Best to You – Darlene
Now that hemp-derived CBD is decriminalized at the federal level, many parents have questions about the safety and effectiveness of CBD for children.
In this article, we’ll cover some of the main questions that parents and healthcare practitioners may have about CBD for kids, including:
This article will look at the most recent research on CBD so that you will have the benefit of the most up-to-date information available.
We also asked a nationally renowned cannabis educator, Dustin Sulak, D.O., to weigh in with his views on using CBD for kids.
Ultimately, you’ll be ready to talk to your child’s healthcare provider about whether CBD is right for your child. Or, you may also decide to hold off for now and wait for more placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trials.
Either way, you’ll be ready to make an informed decision.
HOW DOES CBD WORK?
CBD seems to correct a lot of different mental and physical imbalances. It does this by working in relationship with the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS is a network of molecules and signaling pathways in our bodies. It uses neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids that target receptors on cell walls to communicate.
CBD is one of these phytocannabinoids, and it works by mimicking and augmenting what the endocannabinoids do.
There is a growing collection of data indicating that CBD, in conjunction with the ECS, can cause positive changes in some pediatric illnesses.
Keep reading to learn more about the latest research in this area.
CBD FOR KIDS: WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH SAY?
The clinical research on using CBD for different medical conditions is in its early stages. But there have already been some studies looking specifically at CBD for pediatric conditions.
When pediatric, youth and adolescent patients with epilepsy or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) take CBD as part of observational studies, they tend to experience improvement in a range of symptoms. According to caregivers’ responses to surveys and questionnaires, these include:
- Sleep disturbances
- Communication problems
For example, a promising study out of Israel shows holistic improvement in anxiety and behavioral problems in children with autism who participated in the observational study.
But does CBD help get to the root of the problem, or is it better for managing symptoms? Let’s take a look at the research on CBD for specific pediatric health conditions.
CBD FOR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM
The dramatic results of CBD for epilepsy has been encouraging for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). That’s because ASD and epilepsy have intersecting areas of disorder, as well as cross symptoms.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) characterizes ASD as a neurodevelopmental disorder. In 2018, one in 59 children have ASD, and its numbers are on the rise. ASD was once thought to be strictly inherited, but through recent research an environmental contribution is becoming apparent.
As part of an ASD treatment program, providers at the Soroka University Medical Center in Israel collected data from 188 pediatric ASD patients treated with medical cannabis between 2015 and 2017.
Their results, which they reported in January 2019, suggest that high-CBD, low-THC cannabis oildoes cause positive change in ASD patients.
Data from the study indicates a decline in some of the most distressing symptoms of ASD: restlessness, self-injury, rage attacks, agitation, and sleep problems.
Overall, more than 80% of the parents reported a significant or moderate improvement in their child’s global assessment score.
While these are extremely promising improvements, the researchers noted that there were limitations to their study. Specifically, because it was an observational study, there was no control group. Still, this is a first step toward demonstrating the need for more clinical trials.
WHAT DO PARENTS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT USING CBD FOR ASD?
According to pediatrician Bonni Goldstein, MD, there are some risks regarding CBD use in ASD. She says that CBD alone can be overstimulating for some children with behavioral conditions and/or autism, and low doses may worsen hyperactivity.
For these reasons, if you think that your child with ASD would benefit from CBD, dosing efforts and cannabinoid ratios should be monitored by a professional.
CBD FOR CHILDREN WITH ANXIETY AND HEIGHTENED BEHAVIORAL RESPONSES
If your child experiences anxiety or behavioral outbursts, you’ll surely be interested in a plant-derived, safe supplement that quiets neurotoxic excitability states. And if your child deals with higher-than-average levels of anxiety, but they don’t have a diagnosis attached to their symptoms, you may be wondering whether CBD could help.
One study of 93 children with ASD and 93 children without ASD showed differences in their brains. The ASD brains had decreased levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide.
Disrupted levels of our endogenous cannabinoid anandamide are also implicated in anxiety disorders. CBD may have therapeutic potential as an anxiolytic by keeping anandamide around longer.
Also, CBD may inhibit anxiety-provoking hormones at the serotonin target receptor. When CBD inhibits activity at the serotonin receptor, the action is to quell behavioral responses, quiets neurotoxic excitability states and decrease stress reactions in the brain.
The ECS is heavily involved in forming brain cells and reorganizing synaptic pathway connections. This is called neuroplasticity, a process of growth inherent in active learning, yet also necessary for acquiring more balanced emotional responses to the world at large.
SHOULD PARENTS USE CBD AS A SUPPLEMENT FOR THEIR KIDS?Prior to now, a family with a chronically ill child typically decided to use phytocannabinoids for their child after all conventional medical options had failed.
Now it is easy to obtain CBD, and we have more information at hand regarding safety and efficacy. But if you’re thinking of adding CBD to your healthy child’s regimen of supplements, you should be aware that we still don’t know whether it is prudent to jump to external supplementation.
During a webinar hosted by Healer.com, I spoke to Dustin Sulak, D.O., an integrative medicine practitioner and cannabis educator.
Dr. Sulak offered valuable advice for parents who are interested in giving CBD to their healthy child as a general wellness supplement.
“I would start by saying, we don’t know much at all about CBD as a general wellness supplement in children and I would always use more caution in children. I think what we know about CBD makes me feel like it’s very safe. Even at super high doses, [in studies] it is safe. And to use CBD as a tonic at low doses would probably also be safe. But if I were counseling a parent on general wellness approaches I would not be starting with CBD
“We feel that CBD is safe based on the all the reports and widespread use, but I wouldn’t start with CBD,” he said. “I would start with lifestyle changes, exercise, time in nature, amount of sleep, boosting endocannabinoid levels with diet, and avoiding toxins.”
“We live in a toxic environment, chemical toxins, electromagnetic fields, social toxins, and stressors at school. But still, I would do supplements last, and I would probably choose Vitamin D, magnesium, or Omega 3 supplements over CBD.”
“Another option would be to supplement as a tea. Hemp flower tea has CBDA, CBD and THCA and a tiny little bit of THC. This might be a nice approach, as well as a gentler approach.”
Darlene Mea is a long-standing media personality in the world of alternative everything. Since the early 1980s she has been involved in television, radio, print and multi-media. She represents all things natural, sustainable and life-promoting and has dedicated her life to going beyond the status quo message of being told what’s good for us, to providing options for a more holistic lifestyle. Since discovering the world of Hemp in early 2015 she has been on a mission to inform everyone on how to become involved in this exciting natural product that continues to revolutionize the world of health, beauty and design.