Lately, cannabidiol (derived from the flowering plant Cannabis sativa) has gained a lot of popularity owing to its reported safety and curative effects on kids. Though using cannabidiol (CBD) to manage illnesses in kids may seem strange to parents, research has shown that CBD is safe and has a better side-effect profile than other drugs to treat specific medical conditions, according to the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. What’s more, research reveals that breastmilk naturally contains cannabinoids like CBD that are vital for an infant’s overall development.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers CBD a dietary supplement; therefore, it prohibits manufacturers from recommending it for a particular indication. However, cannabidiol products like CBD oil, ointments, and salves are being effectively used to address a number of pediatric health issues such as pain, anxiety, insomnia, seizures and skin ailments like eczema and psoriasis.
Here are three things that parents should know when using CBD for kids.
CBD is not marijuana
The cannabis plant contains two major compounds, namely tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Both these compounds are structurally dissimilar and bind to different receptors in the nervous system, thereby varying in their functionality.
After consumption, THC binds with cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors to create euphoric and mind-altering effects. Thus, products with a high CBD-to-THC ratio are not ideal for kids.
CBD doesn’t bind to CB1 receptors; therefore, products containing pure cannabidiol can be used in the pediatric population. However, if you are buying over-the-counter (OTC) cannabidiol products from a legal medical marijuana store or over the internet, they may contain THC. Hence, it is wise to check the product label and online product reviews to make sure you are giving pure CBD to your child.
CBD oil contains a minimal amount of THC, pot’s psychoactive compound, and Virginia law limits THC levels to 5 percent. THC-A, or tetrahydrocannabinol acid, only becomes THC when exposed to heat.
Unlike marijuana, CBD oil is legal under U.S. federal law and does not necessarily require a doctor’s prescription. However, state laws are dynamic and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has clarified that cannabidiol products like CBD oil are legal only in states where marijuana is legalized.
In Virginia, medical marijuana is not legal; however, doctors are able to recommend the use of the oils for most medical conditions. A law passed in 2015 and expanded this year created creating an “affirmative defense” to possess cannabis oils for medical reasons. This year, the state plans to open five cannabis oil facilities, making it among only a handful of states in the Southeast with medical cannabis programs.
Regardless of changes in the laws, to avoid undesirable legal consequences — including a call from Child Protective Services — it is wise to speak to your family physician about the use of CBD among kids.
Ready to try it? Read the labels!
Cannabidiol product labels offer a lot of information that can make it confusing for you to select the right product for your young one.
All CBD product labels offer information about the manufacturer. It is worthwhile researching the organization and learning about its quality standards and standing in the industry, thus reducing the risk of purchasing substandard products.
Serving size (also mentioned as servings per unit and servings per package) gives you an idea of how long the product will last. For instance, if the label mentions 20 servings, the product should last you 20 days (the once-daily dosage). However, the serving size found on the label is merely a suggestion. It’s best to consult your doctor for precise dosage recommendations.
Every cannabidiol product offers information on the amount of CBD present in each serving and if the product contains THC. For instance, a label with a 0.5g serving contains 85mg of cannabidiol. This helps determine the dose to be administered with respect to the condition and the child’s body weight.
Some CBD products are infused with flavors and natural sweeteners to improve their taste and aroma. Also, depending on the process used to extract and isolate cannabidiol, it is normal to find natural constituents found in hemp, like other cannabinoids (not including THC) and terpenes in the product.
Whether you are buying a CBD tincture or balm, make sure you go through all the information, allowing you to make safe and informed choices for your child.
Make sure you know which CBD product is best
Know the potency of cannabidiol before incorporating the product into your child’s healthcare routine. Some products contain high levels of the psychoactive cannabinoid, THC, that does offer therapeutic benefits but also causes mind-altering effects, making it unsuitable for kids.
On the other hand, some products that contain only CBD offer neuroprotective, analgesic and antioxidant properties. Thus, it is a good idea to do some research on the various products available over the counter and the internet.
Cannabidiol for kids is available in various forms; however, its dose and duration will depend upon your child’s health condition, body size, and doctor’s recommendation.