CBD is everywhere, and while many people enjoy its benefits, there’s very little research when it comes to its use in children and young adults. Many parents are aware of THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana that “gets you high,” but know very little about CBD.
Even if parents have heard of CBD, they’re likely unsure what to make of it. What is certain about CBD is that it’s becoming widely available and is often marketed to young people. That said, many parents are turning to CBD to help their kids focus, sleep, and calm themselves.
The problem is that CBD use is becoming more and more popular without a lot of research to back it up. As cannabis is in the early stages of regulation and legalization, the dosage and quality of products vary greatly, and the risks associated with CBD use and related products has yet to be vetted by the FDA.
With these things in mind, we’re going to cover what parents need to know about CBD. Let’s get started!
CBD: What is It?
CBD or cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive component of marijuana and hemp. It comes in tinctures, oils, edibles, sprays, vaping liquid, lotions, and even dog treats. CBD sales are growing and the market is estimated to grow to $2.1 billion in 2020.
The reason for its popularity is because of its health benefits. It produces the medicinal effects of marijuana without getting you high. For this reason, it’s used as a remedy for anxiety, depression, pain, insomnia, acne, and boosting productivity.
The problem with CBD in the current market is that it is not well regulated and there is a lack of medical trials and an understanding of its long-term effects. So far, the FDA has approved a single medication based on CBD called Epidiolex for the treatment of seizures and a rare form of epilepsy.
Other than that, studies are ongoing but are caught up in the bureaucracy of the legalization of marijuana. In other words, while CBD may prove to be an effective treatment for various ailments, it’s not well documented and research still needs to be done, which has proved difficult in the current climate surrounding marijuana.
Why Do Young People Like CBD?
Teens and young adults are attracted to CBD as an easy-to-acquire remedy for mental health issues. For instance, anxiety and depression have become increasingly common amongst young people and prescription drugs can be expensive, difficult to get, and have undesirable side effects.
CBD, on the other hand, can be purchased online and shipped discreetly. It provides the benefits of cannabis without the psychoactive effects. Nonetheless, the legality of CBD varies by state, usually based on whether it is derived from marijuana or hemp.
What are the Potential Dangers of CBD?
CBD does not appear to be dangerous and its side effects are minor. When taking CBD, some experience dry mouth, nausea, and dizziness, but it’s typically short-lived and not intense.
The real dangers lie in CBD products that can contain dangerous chemicals or synthetic CBD oil. For example, in 2018 there were 52 cases of teens experiencing serious adverse effects after ingesting a CBD product purchased in Utah. They had nausea and vomiting, seizures, loss of consciousness, and impaired mental states.
When tested, the patients’ blood work came back negative for CBD. Instead, they had 4-cyano CUMYL-BUTINACA (4-CCB), which is a fake CBD oil. In other words, not all products are safe and tested in labs. It’s critical to research a product before putting it in your body, but young people are more likely to take risks than older adults.
Another danger lies in the fact that CBD and other cannabinoids can interact with other medications. CBD has been shown to hinder the activity of cytochrome P450, a group of liver enzymes, thus causing other drugs to metabolize differently. The following drugs have potential interactions with CBD:
- Calcium channel blockers
- Immune modulators
Any of the above medications can cause adverse reactions when taken with CBD. It’s best to speak with your doctor if you are taking any of these medications along with CBD.
Other Potential Concerns About CBD
The potential benefits of CBD point to the possibility of its use as an effective treatment for many anxiety disorders and other issues. That said, most evidence at this point is anecdotal, and medical research is still in the early stages, especially when it comes to children. The following are some potential concerns about CBD:
- Very little is known about how much CBD is absorbed and delivered to the brain. Various delivery systems (vaping, edibles, orally ingesting CBD oil) have different absorption rates. Because of this, dosing is tricky and even clinical dosages may not be right for teens and young adults.
- Products on the market are unreliable. Some of them may have more or less CBD than they claim. Others may contain things other than CBD that are harmful. It’s difficult to verify the safety of many CBD products.
- When used for insomnia, studies have yet to show the long term effects of CBD. Some doctors worry that tolerance may develop, making sleep more difficult if you stop taking the CBD.
- The legality of CBD is murky. Technically, CBD derived from hemp is federally legal, while CBD derived from marijuana is federally illegal. That said, CBD and other marijuana products are subject to the laws of each state. Plus, the FDA issued a statement that CBD products cannot be sold as a dietary supplement or claim to have therapeutic effects unless approved by the FDA for that use, further complicating the matter.
What Parents Need to Know About CBD
One of the difficult things about CBD is that you may not know if your child is taking it. As side effects are minimal and CBD does not have psychoactive effects, it’s unlikely to cause noticeable behavioral changes. That said, if your child is taking CBD without a doctor’s permission, it’s important to discuss the potential risks and health impacts.
The biggest issue is with CBD products being unregulated. It’s difficult to know exactly what’s in a product and the level of CBD concentration it contains. CBD may also interact with certain medications.
If you’re worried your child may be taking CBD, the best thing you can do is talk to them about it. Find out why they’re interested in CBD and how it makes them feel. Be patient and understanding and help them to make healthy decisions.