Canadian pediatricians are experiencing an increased demand from parents who want to use CBD for their children. Pediatricians get requests for help with conditions like seizures, migraines, autism, sleep problems, concussions, movement disorders, chronic pain, spasticity, ADHD.
So far, the FDA has approved only one cannabis-derived medication, Epidiolex, which doctors use to treat a rare, severe form of epilepsy stemming from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
Adults use CBD oil Canada to deal with chronic pain, nausea, mood disorders, arthritis pain and inflammation, and opiate addiction. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that CBD is helpful in some instances and these is also some research that points to that as well. However, CBD for children is completely unchartered territory.
What is CBD?
CBD (cannabidoil) is a cannabinoid that’s present in the cannabis plant. Both hemp and marijuana contain CBD. Cannabis is rich in cannabinoids, which are currently being studied for possible applications in a range of disorders. Cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce its effects. CBD and THC are the most well-known cannabinoids, with THC being the one that causes a high when ingested.
Parents are seeking help with conditions like ADHD, autism, and tuberous sclerosis and other conditions. Let’s look at what scientists have found so far.
Can CBD help with ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition that affects children and adults. Symptoms like finding it hard to focus and impulsive behavior usually start in childhood and can continue through adulthood causing difficulties with school and work tasks and relationships.
The little research on cannabinoids and ADHD has so far involved treatments not with CBD isolate, but CBD in conjunction with other cannabinoids.
In a small 2017 randomized controlled trial adults with ADHD received Sativex, a medication that contains CBD and THC. There was a small reduction in ADHD symptoms, which was minimal but better than placebo.
The study involved adults ADHD sufferers only, no children.
Can CBD help with autism?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is complex with many variants and levels of severity. The disorder is mainly characterized by communication difficulties, social awkwardness, and repetitive movements
JAMA Pediatrics report that ’’new studies in children with autism spectrum disorder show promising improvement in hyperactivity, anxiety, sleep problems, and self-injurious behaviors.’’
A 2018 study that appeared in Neurology, investigated the effect of CBD on the behavior and anxiety levels of 60 children with autism.
The research, led by Adi Aran, MD, director of the pediatric neurology unit at Shaare Tzedek Medical Center in Israel, found that behavioral outbreaks, anxiety levels and communication problems improved considerably. Encouraged by the promising results, the research team has launched a large, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over trial with 120 participants.
Can CBD help with tuberous sclerosis?
According to the Mayo Clinic, tuberous sclerosis (TCS) is a rare genetic disorder that causes benign tumors to develop in many parts of the body. Symptoms vary from mild to severe, causing disabilities in some cases. There is no cure for tuberous sclerosis.
Research shows promise for the treatment of tuberous sclerosis with CBD. In a 2020 study researchers treated 224 patients with CBD or placebo for 16 weeks. They were treated for seizures related to the disorder. Seizures decreased by 49% with a 25mg dosage and 48% with a 50mg dosage.
If you or your child has the condition, you can contact the Epilepsy Foundation to participate in a trial to test CBD for TCS. People between 1 and 65 years old and diagnosed with TCS can participate.
Is CBD safe for kids?
The effects of CBD have not been studied very well in adults, let alone children. While there is overwhelming anecdotal evidence of the benefits of CBD, doctors warn against the use of it for children, except for Epidiolex, which has been approved by the FDA.
Some of the concerns regarding the use of CBD oil for children
- Doctors are most concerned about the fact that the long-term effects of CBD on the developing brain are unknown. This is one of the main reasons why pediatricians are reluctant to prescribe CBD for children. Doctors are also concerned that not enough is known about the effect of CBD on hormones and how it might affect teenagers.
- CBD may have some adverse effects, including sleepiness, fatigue, and diarrhea. Studies have also shown CBD can cause liver damage.
- CBD interacts with certain other medications, causing the body to metabolize the medication too fast or too slowly. Taking cannabinoids with prescribed drugs can lead to dizziness, confusion, and sedation among other symptoms. There is a list of 57 drugs that CBD may interact with.
- Standard dosing has not been established yet, neither for adults nor for children. The whole field of CBD for medical use is so new that scientists are still learning about it. Also, there is the issue of individuals reacting differently to medications, including CBD, which complicates the establishment of optimal dosages. It would be very difficult for a parent to know how much CBD to give their child.
- There is no way to know how much of the product is being absorbed. Some studies indicate that the body use very little (15 – 20%) of the CBD we take in. Absorption is also influenced by the manner of delivery. Vaping offers the highest absorption, but you can obviously not give your child a vaping pen to take CBD.
- The FDA has not approved CBD products for therapeutic use, so the organization doesn’t regulate the ingredients or quantities of substances in products like CBD oil. In the absence of strict controls, there’s a lot of scope for unreliable products. In fact, researchers have established that only a third of 84 CBD products they analyzed contained the amount of CBD as noted on the label.
What’s the bottom line?
While CBD has proven itself effective for certain kinds of seizures, and shows a lot of promise for use in many health conditions, too little research has been done to date to declare CBD products safe for children. There are a few pediatricians who are prescribing CBD oil Canada for their patients, but it’s mostly to treat seizures.