Is CBD safe for kids? Why some parents are using it and what to watch out for


With the introduction of CBD into the market, parents have questions about whether or not they should use CBD with their children. Of course, with the industry’s claims that CBD can improve memory, induce calm, and improve sleep, many parents are seeing the benefits this product could offer for kids 

However, CBD is little researched and its long-term side effects are not yet fully understood. Here are some things to consider before giving your child CBD.

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What are the benefits of CBD for kids?

Some research shows that CBD can help manage symptoms of autism, ADHD, and seizures for specific health conditions.

In a study, the Journalism for Cannabis Research had parents report if their children changed their behavior while using CBD. They noted, “Using lower doses of CBD and trace THC seems to be promising in managing behavioral problems associated with autism.” 

CBD had a similar effect on children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Additionally, CBD-based drugs are being used today to decrease seizures. Epidiolex is a CBD drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help treat seizures in children. It is the first CBD seizure medication that has been approved by the FDA and it has been authorized to be used for children aged two and older. 

Epidiolex has been proven to help manage seizures caused by Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. When taken for seizures the endocannabinoid system helps to modify the functions of the body. CBD is believed to reduce neuron excitability and acts on two receptors to help prevent seizures.

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Should you give your child CBD?

After looking at the research above, it seems like CBD could potentially be the cure-all for behavioral issues and other issues your child may be facing, but that is not the case. Vinocur warns against parents using CBD with their children unless a doctor recommends it. 

“It’s the same with supplements. I would not recommend just giving children supplements unless a doctor recommends it,” Vinocur told GreenState.

Dr. Leigh continued that the possibility of CBD being helpful for a child does not justify giving it to a child without consulting a doctor, as it could have side effects that might be counterproductive.

If you decide CBD is right for your child, Vincour stressed the importance of researching the CBD products’ brand and sourcing. 

“60 percent of CBD products don’t have what they say they have on the label,” Vinocur said, citing a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Though legal, CBD products are not regulated by the US government, which makes it difficult to know exactly what you’re getting when you buy a CBD product.

This discrepancy in CBD products and the lack of regulation are yet more reasons Vinocur recommends parents avoid using CBD with their children if possible. In cases of severe epilepsy or other conditions for which CBD can be an asset, Vincour suggests that parents ask their child’s doctor to help them find safe and reputable CBD products.

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What to watch out for

While many companies might claim that their products are safe for children and will help with memory, focus, and behavioral issues, you need to do your homework on the product before purchasing it to protect your child.

There is still limited information out there on what is safe for children when it comes to CBD, and it’s unclear whether CBD is the best way to help with various health conditions. While studies have been done, there is still not enough information on the long-term effects of CBD to say with certainty that CBD is safe for children. Many side effects have been noted in children who have taken part in clinical trials, including difficulty with social interactions, appetite issues, and even insomnia

It is best to consult a physician before giving your child CBD to ensure you make the healthiest choice for your child, and ask for their advice before buying any CBD products to help ensure you make a high-quality purchase.


Editor’s Note: This article has been edited to clarify that a doctor cannot prescribe CBD, as previously stated, as it is not federally regulated at this time. Doctors can only recommend using CBD.

Julia Findley