November 03, 2021

Can Children Take CBD? What Parents Should Know

Recently, many parents have been wondering if their children can take CBD. CBD is non-intoxicating and used by adults as a way to manage a range of common concerns from pain to anxiety. So, can kids use it too?

Since the 2018 FDA approval of Epidiolex — a CBD-based treatment for children with epilepsy — interest has been mounting regarding the use of CBD by children.

We'll be tackling questions like:

  • Is CBD safe for kids?
  • Can children buy CBD?
  • Can my child get Epidiolex?

Here's what you need to know about CBD usage for children.

Can Children Buy CBD?

In general, children can't buy CBD. But depending on your state and the specific CBD retailers, the age requirement to buy CBD may be 18+ or 21+.

We fully break down the laws and regulations around age requirements in our Can Teens Use CBD? article.

But here's a quick overview.

State-Mandated Age Requirements For Buying CBD

First, states have their own specific laws surrounding CBD purchasing and use, including how old you need to be to purchase CBD products.

You must be at least 18 or 21 years old in most states in order to buy CBD.

Retailer-Set Age Requirements For Buying CBD

Second, retailers often set their own age requirements for buying CBD as well. These restrictions will be as strict or stricter than the state laws.

For example, you may live in a state that allows people 18 or older to buy CBD. But you may come across a retailer in your area that will not sell CBD to anyone under 21.

Can Children Take CBD?

So children are unable to purchase CBD for themselves, but can they use it?

Some parents have been turning to CBD as a treatment for autism, anxiety, or other ailments.

But the truth is, it's unclear whether children can or should take CBD products. CBD products on the shelves today are formulated for adult use, and there have been no long-term studies on the effects of these CBD products on children.

The only FDA-approved CBD for kids is Epidiolex, which is a medication for treatment-resistant seizure conditions.

The Research On Children & CBD

The bulk of research on CBD and kids has focused on the potential for CBD to reduce seizures.(1) It’s not surprising that years of rigorous study have yielded the first CBD product to treat childhood seizures — Epidiolex.

Scientists are currently looking into other uses. One recent study looked at the effectiveness of a cannabis treatment (CBD + THC) for children with autism spectrum disorder. It found that the cannabis treatment was associated with reduced behavioral outbreaks and anxiety, and improved communication issues.(2)

These results are promising, and we can expect more research on CBD and other cannabinoid-based interventions for children in the coming years.

Epidiolex: The Only FDA-Approved CBD Medication

So while children cannot buy CBD products, a doctor can prescribe the CBD-based medication Epidiolex. It's been approved for those 1 and older.

Containing isolate CBD, Epidiolex is used to treat very specific seizures conditions in children:

  • Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome
  • Dravet syndrome
  • Tuberous sclerosis complex

Does Epidiolex Have Other Treatment Uses?

There are currently no other conditions that Epidiolex is approved to treat. There are studies currently looking at the potential for Epidiolex to treat autism, anxiety, pain, infantile spasms, and multiple sclerosis.(3)

No approvals for treating these conditions yet, but the use of Epidiolex may expand in the future.

OTC CBD Products

OTC CBD products have to follow hemp industry regulations, but these products are currently formulated for adult use.

These CBD products have not gone through the rigorous testing and safety measures that come with FDA approval. Thus, none others are approved as medical treatments for children.

This is why it's key to do your research and carefully weigh the risks before opting for over the counter CBD products for children.

Is CBD Safe for Your Child?

A few studies point towards the potential uses of CBD for children, but more information is needed.

There just isn't enough research to confirm whether non-medical CBD products — like CBD oil — are safe for the kiddos.

The FDA-approved CBD medication Epidiolex is the only CBD product that has been rigorously tested and deemed to be safe for children, when used as intended.

CBD & Children: Research Still In Its Infancy

Aside from what we know about Epidiolex, there are few studies on CBD's safety or effectiveness in kids.

The age limits around purchasing CBD also generally require that buyers be at least 18 or over (and sometimes 21 and over). These rules will vary from state to state, and across different CBD retailers.

Given the boom in interest lately, we can likely expect to hear more about the potential for CBD to help children in the coming years.

References

  1. Campbell, CT, et al. (2017). Cannabinoids in Pediatrics. The journal of pediatric pharmacology and therapeutics. https://doi.org/10.5863/1551-6776-22.3.176
  2. Aran, A, et al. (2018). Cannabidiol Based Medical Cannabis in Children with Autism- a Retrospective Feasibility Study (P3.318). Neurology. https://n.neurology.org/content/90/15_Supplement/P3.318
  3. Slowiczek, L. (2020). Epidiolex (cannabidiol). Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/epidiolex


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