When we think of CBD oil, most of us think of adults using it. But did you know that CBD can also have applications for children?
Whether it’s pain, seizures, or inflammation your child is struggling with, CBD has shown a lot of promise as a treatment that may help some childhood conditions.
What is CBD oil?
CBD oil is one of the most versatile and commonly used forms of CBD, a naturally occurring compound that can be found in cannabis plants.
Also known as cannabidiol, CBD can also be purchased as a wax, tincture vape liquid, shatter, edible products like chocolate, or as a topical product like a lotion throughout the world. CBD can also be consumed by inhaling the smoke of cannabis or hemp buds, although with this method you will also consume other compounds and feel their effects.
CBD is a type of compound called a cannabinoid, named because of its presence in the cannabis plant family. CBD is so prevalent in these plants that it is deemed a major cannabinoid.
CBD oil can be consumed in various ways, including:
- Placing under the tongue
- Placing in food
- Topical application
- Inhaling it’s vapour through a vape device
- Nasal spray
What is CBD oil used for in children?
CBD oil has gained quite a following in recent years, thanks in large part to its impressive and wide ranging health benefits. So what exactly can CBD oil be used for in children?
We use it for many reasons here in the clinic. Below we discuss the more common reasons but this is not an all inclusive list.
A lot of parents naturally have a reluctance to consider a cannabis based product for their child and this is understandable. However, once I explain to them the possible benefits and the safety of using it, most are glad they decided to pursue this path.
I have found that CBD oil can be life changing when it comes to epilepsy and seizure in children. Some of the children we have treated have gone on to have much fewer seizures which has been amazing to see, for both the parents and I! This has not been the case for everyone, but when it is, it’s great to see the results.
In fact, Epidiolex, a prescription CBD medication, is approved for use in children two years of age and older who suffer from specific types of epilepsy, either Dravet syndrome or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
The CBD-based Epidiolex has demonstrated impressive results, with studies showing that it can reduce seizure frequency by 30 to 63%.
If your child suffers from seizures, I encourage you to consider using CBD oil as a natural and safe alternative as it may help.
Another benefit of CBD oil that could offer some relief for your child is its possible anti-inflammatory properties.
While inflammation is a natural immune response, when it occurs unchecked, inflammation can result in pain, redness, reduced range of motion, and swelling. Inflammatory conditions that could leave your child in pain and struggling to compete regular activities include:
- Irritable bowel disease
- Coeliac disease
Research has shown some evidence of CBD’s possible anti-inflammatory effects, thanks to its ability to target receptors that lead to an anti-inflammatory response and to directly suppress specific protein groups that cause inflammation.
With CBD’s possible anti-inflammatory potential, adding CBD oil into your child’s routine may help to possibly reduce some of their inflammatory symptoms.
Is your child having trouble sleeping? CBD oil may help.
CBD may have sleep promoting benefits, with studies showing that this little cannabinoid is able to both possibly improve sleep scores and improve the symptoms of sleep disorders like excessive daytime sleepiness and REM sleep behaviour disorder.
While research into the sleep-boosting effects of CBD are still in the early stages and more is needed to understand the exact way CBD benefits sleep, what we now know is certainly promising of CBD’s potential to help your child get a good night’s sleep.
When you think of anxiety, you may not think of it being a condition that affects children, but it can, and according to the CDC, the percentage of children 6-17 years of age with anxiety has risen in recent years.
Anxiety can manifest in a variety of ways, but symptoms often include excessive worry or fear, fatigue, poor concentration, and insomnia. These symptoms are not something any parent would want their child to experience.
The good news for children suffering from anxiety is that CBD may offer some possible help.
CBD holds some possible potential as an anti-anxiety treatment thanks to its ability to increase the activity of serotonin. Serotonin is a hormone that plays a key role in mood and can induce feelings of happiness, helping to reduce the symptoms of anxiety.
One study, analyzing CBD oil for kids anxiety, proved that CBD can significantly reduce anxiety levels in teenagers with a social anxiety disorder. The evidence is not complete but it is promising.
Is CBD legal?
Yes it is.
Because CBD is a compound found in cannabis, its legal status can be confusing and different depending on where you are in the world.
In New Zealand, CBD oil can be legally prescribed by a doctor, provided that it contains no more than 2% THC.
While New Zealanders voted against the legalisation of cannabis in the 2020 referendum, CBD oil has been available for legal purchase through a GP prescription since 2017.
CBD side effects and risks
One important benefit of CBD oil is that it has a high safety profile, even at very high doses. Side effects from CBD have been reported, but these are largely mild.
Mild side effects from CBD oil include:
- Dry mouth
Can CBD induce a high?
While CBD is a cannabis compound, you don’t have to worry about it getting your child ‘high’. CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning that it won’t induce any intoxicating effects.
Another cannabinoid called THC is the compound responsible for the infamous effects of cannabis. So long as your CBD product contains no THC (or only trace amounts), anyone who consumes them won’t feel any psychoactive effects.
The bottom line
CBD oil is an impressive cannabinoid extract that holds some impressive possible health benefits.
With its high safety profile and current use to try help with a range of symptoms, CBD oil could offer some benefits to your child.
If you’re interested in CBD oil for your child, be sure to talk to your doctor about whether CBD oil is the best fit for them and their symptoms.
To speak to one of our medical specialists about using CBD oil, please click here.
If you have any questions or stories to share, please share with me below!
Disclaimer – medicinal cannabis and CBD oil are unapproved medicines in NZ which means that there is no conclusive evidence for their effect, apart from Sativex. Many doctors do not routinely prescribe cannabis medicines. The above article was written for general educational purposes and does not intend to suggest that medicinal cannabis can be used to treat any health condition. Please consult with your healthcare provider.