In 2018 a big thing happened for the cannabis and the natural health world. For the first time, a cannabis product got approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It’s called Epidiolex and is recommended for patients two years and older to treat two rare forms of epilepsy, Dravet, and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
While Epidiolex is purified CBD and approved for children, there is an exciting caveat about it…it’s not like the majority of CBD products on the market. If you are taking CBD, you’re probably taking a form that looks a good bit different than Epidiolex.
Today we are looking into how safe it is to give your children CBD and whether you need to be concerned about these products. We will also talk about CBD’s history, which it’s pretty interesting because if it wasn’t for children, it’s likely CBD wouldn’t be anywhere near as popular as it is now.
CBD owes a lot to children! In particular, one little girl not only helped boost its popularity, but she also inspired its creation.
Charlotte Figi was only three months old when she had her first seizure, which lasted for 30 minutes. By the time she was 5, Charlotte was struggling with multiple seizures daily, and due to her drug-resistant form of epilepsy, Dravet syndrome, her parents and doctors were running out of ideas how to control the seizures successfully.
Eventually, they tried medical cannabis as a last-ditch effort because other kids with Dravet syndrome were responding positively to it. For the first time, Charlotte’s parents finally found something that controlled Charlotte’s seizures. But there was a problem; it contained a decent amount of THC, which is not always suitable for developing minds.
Not long after the Stanley Brothers got word of her story and created a new cannabis extract that was high in CBD but extremely low in THC. That was the birth of a new product, CBD oil.
Charlotte’s story and the CBD created for her, Charlotte’s Web, brought light to the benefits of CBD when CNN released their documentary that took an extensive look into medical cannabis.
Know Your CBD Oil
There are three main variations of CBD products that you can buy.
First, there is CBD isolate like Epidiolex or Vitaleaf Isolate oil. This is just a single compound found in cannabis called cannabidiol (CBD). However, there are hundreds of compounds in cannabis that can interact with the body, similar to CBD.
Which brings us to full spectrum, and this form contains all the compounds in cannabis that can interact with the body, including the terpenes. This is the most common form of CBD currently because all the different compounds work together to create an extract that works for more conditions. As well it comes without the dosage difficulties that CBD isolate presents.
However, the full spectrum contains traces of THC, the psychoactive compound that gives cannabis its high.
This brings us to our third form, broad spectrum, and while newer, it has a lot of promise as it contains only the most beneficial compounds in cannabis. It may or may not contain THC depending on the formula.
What are Cannabis and THC?
Cannabis plants and the many different products derived from them aren’t all created the same. Some varieties of cannabis contain high amounts of THC because when taken in high amounts, it gets you high. We call this form of cannabis, marijuana.
However, cannabis doesn’t have to get you high, as hemp varieties contain small amounts of THC, and with selective breeding, we created industrial hemp. Industrial hemp legally must contain 0.3% THC or less. This is why CBD products are derived from it.
CBD products do not cause a high as long as they are being taken from legal hemp plants. The one exception is CBD isolate which can come from marijuana since it will isolate CBD away from it.
CBD, Child Safety, & Its Research On Children
Research on CBD for children is lacking. However, there are a few key studies that show a lot of good news.
Recently, Dr. Scott Shannon released their study looking at CBD oil’s ability to help children with anxiety and insomnia resulting from PTSD. While only looking at one child, his ten-year-old subject saw decreased anxiety, improved sleep, and no side effects.
Perhaps our most extensive study to date is one involving 516 patients that are diagnosed with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. The positive results from this study are what lead to the FDA approving Epidiolex.
While you might see otherwise claimed, CBD does indeed have side effects. Now, most are considered low risk and acceptable.
First, because the dosage can often be altered to prevent side effects such as lethargy, tiredness, and elevated liver enzymes.
Other side effects are considered mild, especially when compared to the conditions CBD may be able to treat. These include diarrhea, decreased appetite, rash, and nausea. Some side effects like upset stomach often subside as the body will recognize CBD is harmless.
An Australian study showed no serious side effects when studying 65 children under age 16. Minor side effects included worsening of pre-existing behavior, tiredness, and gastrointestinal upset.
The biggest concern is CBD’s ability to inhibit enzymes in the liver that metabolize a range of drugs: anti-epileptic, blood thinners, and antidepressants are a few.
Studies have seen CBD raise the potency of prescription drugs by it temporarily turning off enzymes that metabolize them. This issue is more common than you may think as grapefruit, kale, and St. John’s Wort all do the same.
Research shows that CBD has immense potential to help children with several conditions. We have pediatric studies that show CBD has helped treat drug-resistant forms of epilepsy, insomnia, and anxiety.
Along with those we have studies showing CBD can help with general health through hemostasis and that it’s a brilliant anti-inflammatory.
Remember to buy CBD from a trusted company — look for one that provides a Certificate of Analysis on their CBD products because this means they had their CBD products tested for quality and efficiency by an independent lab.
When derived from legal hemp, you don’t have to worry about CBD getting your child high. If you notice side effects with one form of CBD, you may want to try another way as the switch can often help.