Education

“Tiny Adults”: Is CBD Safe for Kids?

Is CBD safe for all consumers? This is a question coming to the minds of parents as CBD is becoming a mainstream staple across stores in the country.

For most individuals, CBD is a safe substance with very few side effects. CBD is a non-intoxicating substance that will not make the user feel “high” as with traditional cannabis products.

As hemp-based CBD was only recently legalized there are few studies proving its efficacy, although subjective reports and early studies show great promise. There also needs to be further research on whether CBD is safe for children. Children are not just “tiny adults”, therefore dosing and product selection need to be tailored to this specialized population.

A New Generation of Consumers

A new generation of parents is on the rise who no longer accept first-line treatment from a pediatrician as the gold standard for their children. Parents are beginning to question whether traditional pharmaceuticals are the best option for their kids and are turning to more natural options such as CBD.

Parents who have witnessed the benefits of CBD for their children are becoming advocates for CBD therapy and the general population is taking note.

One of the most well-known cases of CBD use in children is that of Charlotte Figi. At three months old Charlotte was diagnosed with Dravet’s syndrome and was experiencing up to 300 grand mal seizures per week. Discouraged by the lack of benefit from traditional pharmaceuticals and doctor’s recommendations, the Figi’s turned to CBD as a last resort.

Charlotte Figi. Photo source: TIME

The Stanley Brothers, from the non-profit Realm of Caring organization, created a unique 30:1 CBD to THC strain specifically for Charlotte and it worked wonders, almost eliminating her seizures. This strain has since been branded Charlotte’s Web and is the property of CW hemp and the Stanley brothers, who hold a 7% stake in the US hemp market.

Before hemp and hemp-derived CBD became federally legal, numerous families uprooted themselves and moved to states where CBD therapy for children was legal in order to give their child the best standard of care. There are several subjective reports of how CBD has benefitted children with epilepsy, ADHD and seizures and some parents are also using CBD as a health supplement for their children.

Doris Trauner, M.D., distinguished professor of neurosciences and pediatrics at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and a physician at San Diego’s Rady Children’s Hospital cautions “for many health problems the research is still in its infancy. And while CBD doesn’t pose many clear risks, it’s also not totally benign.”

Trauner, who is launching a clinical study examining the benefits and risks of CBD on children with autism stated “people tend to think that because it’s natural and plant-based that it’s safe, but CBD can cause side effects, such as diarrhea, changes in appetite, fatigue, and interactions with some medications”.

It is always recommended that parents speak with their child’s pediatrician prior to administering CBD.

CBD’s Potential for Pediatrics

Melissa Hilt’s 11-year-old daughter Haley experienced over 100 seizures a day. The family tried everything, including over 15 medications, diet changes and even surgery to no avail. When they began using CBD to help manage Haley’s symptoms, they saw immediate improvement. Melissa reported that her daughter’s seizures virtually stopped, and the family finally met the real Haley.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new CBD-based medication called Epidiolex which has shown strong promise in helping to manage the symptoms of Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Epidiolex is the only prescription CBD-based medication and has helped legitimize the use of CBD to treat these rare and devastating forms of epilepsy.

One Florida family reported that Epidiolex has been life-changing for their daughter, Maya. Maya was diagnosed with Dravet’s syndrome as an infant and experienced up to 20 seizures per day. Once she began taking Epidiolex the seizures were significantly less frequent, only occurring once or twice a month.

Education Without Judgement

For parents who are considering giving their child CBD, education is important. CBD is not a cure-all and parents should be made aware of the potential adverse side effects and consult with the child’s pediatrician before CBD therapy is started. It is crucial that children are monitored when beginning CBD therapy to ensure that the product is effective and not producing unwanted effects. In general, the motto for CBD use in children is “start low and go slow”. Parents should begin with a small dose of CBD and monitor the effects in their child, adjusting the dosage as necessary.

As more parents will begin to seek information on CBD for their children, it becomes increasingly necessary for retailers of CBD to understand the product they are selling.

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