Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD is an oil derived from the cannabis plant. Possible health benefits include reducing inflammation and pain. Over 80 chemicals, known as cannabinoids, have been found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most famous ingredient in cannabis. But CBD is obtained from hemp, a form of the Cannabis sativa plant that only contains small amounts of THC. CBD seems to have effects on some chemicals in the brain, but these are different than the effects of THC.
In June 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the prescription use of Epidiolex, a purified form of CBD oil, for treating two types of epilepsy. CBD is also used for anxiety, pain, a muscle disorder called dystonia, Parkinson disease, Crohn disease, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
Is CBD oil safe?
Last year, the World Health Organization, acknowledging the explosion in “unsanctioned” medical uses of CBD, reviewed the evidence for its safety and effectiveness. The WHO report concluded that “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.” Any adverse effects could be a result of interactions between CBD and a patient’s existing medications, the WHO noted.
The report found no indication of potential abuse or dependence. “To date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
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.”
Anecdotal stories of children benefiting from CBD may sound alluring but just because it’s a plant product doesn’t necessarily make it safe or effective in children, says Sarah Clark, a Public Health specialist. A recent poll suggests most parents have very limited knowledge about CBD products. Clark noted that “It’s important for parents to inform their pediatrician or other healthcare providers if they’re considering CBD use in kids so that they can discuss potential risks.”
Most parents cited side effects as the most important factor in deciding whether to give their child a CBD product. Other considerations included whether it was tested for safety in children, how well it works in children, approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and product reviews.
The majority of parents have never used a CBD product themselves, while 24% have tried it and 5% use a CBD product regularly, according to the poll report.
Do CBD oils cause any side effects in Children?
The FDA has only approved one purified form of the drug substance CBD for children to treat rare seizures that don’t respond to medication. Studies have also looked at CBD use in children with hyperactivity, anxiety, sleep problems, and depression but research remains limited.
Side effects could include sleepiness, fatigue, and diarrhea, and experts have raised concerns about CBD’s potential to interact with other medications and adversely impact the liver. But since CBD products have not undergone rigorous testing for FDA approval, the rate and severity of side effects remain unclear, particularly for children.
Can a child overdose on CBD oil?
Yes, a child can overdose on CBD oil. A 2017 review of research shows that the maximum amount of CBD humans can safely tolerate is about 1,500 mg per day. For reference, typical 1-ounce bottles of CBD oil contain from 300 to 1,500 mg.
Symptoms and signs of CBD overdose may include:
- Chest pain, a fast heart rate, or heart attack.
- Decreased coordination, judgment, and perception, leading to injuries or even death.
- Panic attacks or extreme anxiety.
- Psychotic reactions where one becomes paranoid or loses touch with reality or becomes paranoid.
There are no guidelines for the proper use of CBD oil. CBD oil is usually taken by placing one or more drops under the tongue and holding it there for 30 to 60 seconds without swallowing.
There’s no known “correct” dose of CBD oil. Depending on the needs of your child and what you’re treating, the daily dose may range between 5 mg and 25 mg.
It’s important to remember that CBD and cannabis as a whole are still in the early stages of research. It’s always a good idea to talk with a healthcare professional to find out what the recommended dose is for your needs and if it might interact with any medications or supplements you take.