CBD for Kids with Anxiety

Childhood anxiety can be a serious problem. Parents of anxious children often find themselves worrying about their children’s mental and physical well-being. Although anxiety in children can be a normal phase of development in some kids as they begin to interact with their surroundings, some kids experience a heightened sense of fear and anxiety.

Studies show that one in eight children suffer from anxiety. Eighty percent of these children do not receive the treatment they need, or they go undiagnosed altogether. When feelings of anxiety consume a child’s thoughts and life, treatment should be sought. Some parents worry about the long-term effects of traditional anti-anxiety medications, which can be both short and long-term. More parents have begun to pursue more natural alternative treatment options, such as the use of CBD or medical marijuana. How effective is CBD in treating symptoms of anxiety in children?

Understanding CBD

CBD, also known as cannabidiol, has been used for ages for medical purposes across the globe. CBD, which is one of two primary cannabinoids found in hemp and marijuana plants, is used today as an alternative treatment for many medical conditions, including chronic pain, mental health, anxiety and more. The other main compound present in these plants is THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. Some people are leery about using CBD because they mistakenly associate it with the psychoactive high that is linked with marijuana, but this is due to the THC found in the plant – not CBD. CBD elicits no psychological effects and also is not associated with any known adverse side effects.

CBD and THC both work within a regulatory system in the body known as the endocannabinoid system, or ECS. The ECS is made up of numerous receptors that are found throughout the body. Two such receptors are CB1 and CB2 – both of which CBD and THC work alongside.

The CB1 receptors are mostly found within the nervous system and brain, while the CB2 receptors are found mostly in the immune system. Each of these receptors, in conjunction with other receptors in the endocannabinoid system, can be activated in more than one way. The naturally occurring cannabinoids may activate them in the body or by outside sources of cannabinoids, such as CBD and THC.

One significant difference between THC and CBD lies here: pure CBD does not bind directly to these receptors as THC does. This is why CBD does not elicit psychoactive properties. CBD instead stimulates the cannabinoids that naturally occur within the body to activate the important ECS receptors, encouraging them to act in a way that is beneficial to the body so the body can be brought back to a better state of health, from the inside out.

Concerns about CBD

Although there is much evidence that points to the benefits of CBD, there remain concerns among some parents and medical professionals regarding the use of these products, especially in children. Some of the concerns surrounding CBD use include:

  • That some products are not reliable when it comes to delivering a consistent amount of CBD. Some may have more or less than they advertise, and many manufacturers do not offer independent verification of the contents of their products. You can’t always depend on the quality of the CBD you are getting. This is why it is important to buy CBD from reputable brands.
  • Research is still being conducted regarding how much CBD is absorbed and how it is delivered to the brain. Various methods of consuming CBD have different rates of delivery. The effects of CBD may vary depending on how the CBD is administered, such as taking it orally (gummies or drops), vaping or eating it in baked goods.
  • Some products on the market contain more than CBD, including some ingredients that may be harmful. Lab testing is not currently mandatory in every state to determine if there are any contaminants in CBD products. Products such as these are often referred to as “bootleg CBD” and should be avoided. It is recommended that you talk with your child’s healthcare provider to determine which CBD product is best so you can avoid harmful ingredients in ill-tested products.
  • CBD may interact with other medications. Talk with your child’s doctor before giving CBD or any other medication.
  • The legality of CBD and cannabis products is still not entirely clear. Although CBD derived from hemp plants is legal on a federal level, the legality of CBD from marijuana plants is subject to the state to determine and remains illegal federally. Despite this, the Food and Drug Administration, or the FDA, issued a statement indicating that products that contain CBD may not claim to offer therapeutic benefits nor may they be sold as dietary supplements unless approved by the FDA for such use.
  • Because CBD use in kids is relatively new, research is not abounding. Determining the amount to give to your child may prove to be tricky. Clinical doses differ from the doses listed on the products you may find at marijuana dispensaries or other places you can purchase CBD.

CBD Safety

The World Health Organization has reviewed the evidence for the safety and efficacy of the medical uses of CBD. The report by the WHO concluded that CBD is considered to be “generally well tolerated with a good safety profile” and that any adverse effects experienced may be the result of interactions between existing medications and CBD. There was also no indication of potential dependence or abuse. Additionally, the WHO noted that there is evidence, based on several clinical trials, that CBD is effective in treating conditions such as some forms of epilepsy in kids. It also noted that CBD might be useful in treating several other medical conditions, based on preliminary evidence.

CBD for the Treatment of Anxiety in Kids

How effective is CBD in treating symptoms of anxiety in children? One study, which was led by researchers at the University Of Colorado School Of Medicine in Fort Collins, Colorado, researched the experience of a 10-year-old girl’s experience with CBD treatment for her anxiety. She had previously experienced several highly traumatic incidents, leaving her with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as well as insomnia and severe anxiety. The patient had previously been on pharmaceutical medicines, but they had proven to be no longer effective in combating her anxiety. She also experienced adverse side effects to some of the drugs. This study was published in the fall 2016 issue of The Permanente Journal.

During the study, liquid CBD was administered to the girl each morning and night for 12 weeks. Her symptoms related to anxiety were monitored by a psychiatrist who helped with the study, as well as by her family when she was outside of a clinical environment. The results were astounding.

Almost immediately following her CBD dosage, the young girl appeared to be calmer and functioning better throughout the day. She began to complete her schoolwork, which was previously a struggle for her. She also started to engage more with her family as well as the researchers involved in the study.

The patient’s insomnia was also significantly improved by the CBD. Researchers found that she was able to remain in a deeper state of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep throughout the night with little to no periods of alertness or restlessness, which was previously an issue for her. This is important as many people who struggle with anxiety also tend to battle insomnia.

CBD is considered to be an effective treatment for anxiety and the symptoms associated with it due to the way it interacts with neurotransmitters in integral regions of the brain. When combined with CBD’s ability to stimulate CB1 receptors in the brain, it leads to a natural anxiolytic, or anti-anxiety, effect.

Many children experience anxiety after a traumatic experience. When a child develops feelings of anxiety, he is often covered in fear and loses some of his ability to enjoy the beauty and positive feelings of life. When CBD is used to treat anxiety, it can help to work by inhibiting neurotransmitter activity in the brain, leading to a calming effect on the patient that lasts. During this period, the brain is able to take a break from focusing on the trauma from before, while enabling the child to feel good about himself and the world around him. Research has found that using CBD oil for anxiety can also improve self-esteem in individuals who suffer from anxiety.

Using CBD with Children

The most common way to use CBD with children is the sublingual method, which involves putting a few drops of CBD oil under the child’s tongue. The child then needs to hold the drops there for approximately 30 to 60 seconds so that the oil may be absorbed into the bloodstream. Then the child may swallow.

Some children are not fans of the distinct taste of cannabidiol oil and will avoid taking it. Another option, then, is CBD gummies, which are sold in many delicious flavors.

CBD is proven to be able to work with the body, offering natural relief to people of all ages. Although more conclusive research is needed regarding the cannabis plant and its compounds, evidence supports CBD’s ability to support pediatric anxiety, as well as other anxiety disorders. As always, it is advised to speak with your child’s pediatrician before administering any form of treatment or therapy to your child with anxiety or any other condition.

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