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CBD for Kids: Should You Be Using It?

Green Shoppers Written by Green Shoppers
Updated on October 4, 2019

There’s been a lot of buzz amongst parents about giving CBD oil to kids. Some parents are using it as a natural supplement that helps manage symptoms of various ailments, ranging from seizure disorders to epilepsy.

Use of CBD oil in children became a hot topic when cases broke in the media about young children being administered cannabis oil. Alfie Dingley was given the first UK license to be prescribed cannabis oil in the UK. He takes a small dose of THC each day (about 3mg), and a much higher dose of CBD. According to a few studies, such as one published in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics in 1976, CBD has an ability to offset the high caused by THC. In this way, Alfie Dingley is never going to experience a high from his treatments.

Nevertheless, THC is illegal without a prescription such as the one Alfie has. It’s unfortunate that many newspapers and media outlets have misreported the situation by saying that Alfie uses ‘CBD oil’ to treat his epilepsy. In reality, he uses cannabis oil – unlike the products sold in health shops and online.

Despite this, some parents are wanting to try CBD for their children anyway. If this supplement is legal, safe, and if it truly has benefits for your general health, then why not? Here is what you need to know about giving CBD to children…

What Is CBD and Is It Safe?

CBD is short for cannabidiol, and it is one of the primary active compounds found in cannabis. This puts a lot of parents off straight away, as they start to wonder about the moral implications of giving cannabis to children. But the CBD supplements you can buy and the cannabis on the streets are worlds apart.

CBD is simply one part of the cannabis plant, and it is not the part that induces a high. That role is awarded to THC, a compound that is outlawed for general use. As per the law, CBD products in Great Britain contain less than 0.2% THC.

Until recently, not a lot was known about CBD. As its popularity increases, more studies are being released about its uses in safety. In 2017, the World Health Organisation (WHO) released a report declaring that CBD is safe and non-toxic in humans. This appears to include both children and adults.

There has been no recorded overdose from cannabis, let alone CBD by itself. You don’t have to worry about this, but there are side effects that you should be aware of when using CBD. Users may experience a dry mouth, dizziness, drowsiness, and sometimes nausea. These are not serious and can be dealt with quite easily, but they are symptoms that should be watched for when giving CBD to children. The first time you give a child CBD, make sure you are with them all day and they are not doing any dangerous activities in case they feel dizzy.

Side effects of CBD are non-fatal and usually subside after a couple of doses. As a result, it can be concluded that CBD is largely safe. There is a slight risk of allergy, but this is very rare. If you think your child could be allergic, perform an allergen test by using an extremely low dose at first.

What is CBD Used for?

CBD has become popular as a general health supplement. When consumed, it interacts with a biological system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is responsible for maintaining and regulating a huge amount of bodily functions, including temperature, appetite, mood, stress, immune function and more.

The ECS is run by a network of cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids. The endocannabinoids are like messengers, which transfer messages to the cannabinoid receptors to pass information around the body. These receptors then trigger responses that help us to adapt.

CBD is a plant cannabinoid, but it can still interact with our internal receptors. Consumption of CBD is thought to trigger the production of additional endocannabinoids, helping the ECS to perform better and helping the body to maintain homeostasis. However, the exact mechanisms of how CBD works are unknown.

A growing body of parents is using CBD to target specific symptoms. Pain reduction, better sleep, increased focus, relieved anxiety and more; these are all reasons parents are giving their kids CBD. However, much of the evidence for CBD working on these things is anecdotal.

Since CBD is safe, parents see no harm in giving CBD a shot to help their children. There is no problem with this, but you can’t expect CBD to be a miracle cure when the truth is that it works differently in everyone.

Before you do try, though, are there any concerns you should be aware of?

Concerns About Giving CBD to Kids

Considering that CBD has been declared safe by the WHO, you might think you have the green light. The side effects are minimal and it is by no means a toxic compound. But there are some risks.

The main issue is that the market is unregulated. In a controversial move, the MHRA declared that CBD is a medicinal product, meaning that it does, in fact, have medical value. They still haven’t approved it for prescription, though, which many members of the public find to be an example of outright hypocrisy. This label means that CBD cannot be sold as a medicine, but it can still be sold as a food supplement.

These food supplements are not regulated by any governing body. Theoretically, scammers can market anything as CBD oil and get away with it. Much of the market is now safe, but there are still some dangerous products out there lurking in the shadows. Products may contain ingredients not stated on the label, chemical residues from the growing process, or higher quantities of CBD than what is listed.

To get around these problems, it is important to buy from a high-quality and reputable brand. Check out the reviews here on Greenshoppers to see what brands our readers are loving, and look at other third-party review sites. Plus, you should always look to see third-party lab reports in order to understand exactly what is in the product you are buying.

A second risk is that CBD has the potential to interact with other medications. This is concerning because parents are usually looking to target specific conditions through the use of CBD, but it can be dangerous to take them off the medication and also dangerous to combine CBD with their existing treatment. Due to the way in which CBD is metabolised, it can cause a build-up of medications in the body, potentially causing harm.

If your child is taking any regular medication, then consult with your doctor or a paediatrician before administering CBD. In this case, it is definitely better to be safe than sorry by checking with a healthcare professional.

CBD Dosage Guide for Children

All things considered; you might decide it is the time to give your child some CBD. There are many ways you can do this, but tinctures and gummies are the most popular. Gummies contain a set dose of CBD, but this might be too high for your kid; you can always chop them in half to decrease the dose.

Tinctures provide a more versatile dose, but you might have trouble getting a child to swallow such a bitter oil! Flavoured oils are available, but you can also add the CBD to food or a drink to make it easier.

Here is a quick reference regarding CBD doses for children of different weight:

  • 13kg: 5 – 8 mg
  • 18kg: 5 – 10 mg
  • 23kg: 4 – 15 mg
  • 34kg: 5 – 20 mg
  • 45kg: 5 – 22.5 mg

Most children will need a dose toward the lower end of the spectrum if we’re just talking about supporting general health. You may find you need to increase the dose depending on tolerance and other factors. Make sure to start with the lowest dose and work up slowly if no results are noted, and be sure to stop increasing if side effects are experienced.

The Verdict: Should You Give CBD to Your Kid?

The question of “should I give CBD to my kid?” is a weird one, because that’s ultimately your decision as a parent. CBD has the potential to support general health, even in children. If you are looking to improve the general health of yourself and your family, CBD could be a way to go – but it is not an absolute necessity.

When it comes to CBD, you need to be careful that you don’t fall victim to all the news stories. For example, reports that Alfie Dingley’s epilepsy was cured by CBD oil are frankly untrue.

If you are looking to help your child manage the symptoms of a certain condition, speak to a paediatrician. You can bring up the possibility of CBD if you’d like – it is legal and a doctor is allowed to discuss it with you. You should also conduct your own research in order to have a proper conversation about it.

When deciding to move forward with CBD, it is important to find a trustworthy brand stocking high-quality CBD. Our top tip is to always seek out lab reports, and avoid companies that don’t provide them. CBD can be a safe and beneficial supplement, but you do have to be careful.