Can CBD “Calm” ADHD Symptoms?
My husband was diagnosed with ADHD  at 5-years-old. He is now 41. At the time, he was prescribed Ritalin. It did not work.
Yes, it “calmed” him down; however, it made him extremely sluggish, making him feel disoriented and drowsy until the effects wore-off.
This affected his grades and behavior, so school administrators placed him in “special” classes for children with behavioral problems (he constantly fidgeted and had a hard time staying in his seat). This was unfortunate because my husband is extremely intelligent and intuitive.
But, because he was placed in “special” classes and not with his peers, he fell behind in school. He was unable to reach his full potential because traditional ADHD medications failed him. This affected not only his academic success, but also his mood, self-esteem, and self-confidence.
After a couple of years on Ritalin, his mother discontinued it, but the damage was already done. He developed high blood pressure at the age of 7. The high blood pressure was a complication of the Ritalin – one he still struggles with to this day. It also took years for him to “catch up” academically.
He received his Bachelor’s degree in Technical Management in 2012 at the age of 33. But I can’t help but wonder if CBD could have helped my husband when he was a child.
I wish I would have known him as a child and I wish CBD would have been available, so he could have at least tried it. It could have made a world of difference in his quality of life. Who knows?
Lately he has tried THC-free CBD a few times, and I have noticed a difference in his behavior. After using CBD he appeared calmer and more focused, but that was only with limited use.
So, do I recommend CBD for ADHD? I cannot say. CBD may reduce ADHD symptoms, however, that is not guaranteed. Therefore, the best things you can do is research “CBD for ADHD,” and speak with your child’s doctor. She will be able to offer guidance on your child’s specific condition.
Table of Contents
Can CBD Help ADHD?
Some of my clients have reported a reduction in ADHD behaviors after using CBD, while others have reported little-to-no change in ADHD symptoms after repeated usage. The effect of CBD largely hinges on the severity of the condition, the symptoms, the age of the individual, body chemistry, and the CBD dosage.
Still, many of my clients who are CBD users believe that this plant-based holistic treatment has made a world of difference in their quality of life.
With the moderate-to-severe side-effects commonly associated with traditional ADHD prescription medications, these individuals welcome a treatment that comes with little-to-no long-lasting or debilitating after-effects.
Can CBD Cure ADHD?
CBD will not cure ADHD. However, research  suggests that full-spectrum CBD (CBD with THC) may reduce hyperactivity and improve focus in both children and adults. CBD users who suffer from ADHD tout its effectiveness and lack of severe side-effects. For my clients who have given CBD to their children with ADHD, it has been life-changing.
What Effect Does CBD Have On ADHD Symptoms?
According to my clients and personal testimonies, CBD has effectively eased their children’s ADHD symptoms, making it easier for them to manage the condition. Studies  suggest that cannabis or CBD (with THC) can ease ADHD-related anxiety and panic attacks.
But more research is needed before making a definitive determination on its effectiveness.
Still, the early prognosis is favorable.  CBD has a calming effect in the body that not only eases anxiety but also calms the mind and reduces hyperactivity and impulsivity, so you can focus. 
A 2016 study  concluded that CBD may also help with excessive worry and insomnia in children. And, a 2013 study  found that cannabis or CBD (with THC) may help hyperactive and impulsive children “slow down” and be more productive at home and school.
Still, it is unclear exactly how cannabis or CBD (with THC) mitigates hyperactivity and impulsivity and sharpens focus and concentration. Experts  believe, however, that this decrease in ADHD symptoms stems from the calming effect of THC in the body.
What Does The Research Say?
As mentioned above, research on CBD and ADHD is fairly limited. Most of what we know about CBD stems from studies  on cannabis (marijuana) – not CBD as a separate property and animal studies.
According to a 2013 study,  people who use cannabis (marijuana) regularly reported an increase in ADHD symptoms (hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity) when not using cannabis. However, more research is needed to fully understand the benefits of using CBD for ADHD symptom management in children.
Conversely, another study  found that using cannabis (in any form) can lead to substance use disorder in some adolescents with ADHD.
Still, another study  found that chronic and heavy cannabis use and abuse are linked to ADHD-related inattention in teens and young adults. Researchers also found that adults who were hyperactive and impulsive as children started using cannabis at an earlier age, than those, who did struggle with these behaviors. 
Similarly, a 2017 study  concluded that adolescents and young adults with ADHD are more likely to use cannabis and other recreational drugs than those without ADHD.
In summary, most studies indicate that CBD is effective at reducing ADHD symptoms (hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity) for children, depending on their age, body chemistry, the CBD dosage, and their symptoms.
However, there is also a risk that children may use or abuse drugs and alcohol if they begin using cannabis or CBD (with THC) before the age of 16. Children with ADHD are at risk of marijuana use disorder, addiction, and substance use disorder.
How Does CBD Work for ADHD?
CBD works with your endocannabinoid system to help it function more effectively.
It can also help reduce ADHD symptoms like carelessness, a lack of focus, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and behavioral problems.
It regulates dopamine production in your body, so you don’t experience “rebound” symptoms (inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity). The truth is most prescription ADHD medications can trigger a “rebound effect,” causing symptoms to worsen, instead of easing – once the effects wear-off.
Thus, CBD works by lessening or eliminating your response to depression, pain, and anxiety to make you feel “calmer” and more “stable, focused, and balanced.”
Can CBD Help with Focus and Concentration?
Yes! It can help with focus and concentration.
CBD can help an individual relax, so she can better focus and concentrate on tasks. How? Well, CBD increases the amount of dopamine in your body. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter, is responsible for memory, focus, and cognitive awareness.
If you have a hard time paying attention, remembering things, and/or concentrating, there is a good chance your dopamine levels are low. Conversely, CBD prevents your dopamine levels from rapidly declining. Thus, experts suggest that CBD can stimulate learning, by helping children pay more attention to classroom instructions.
How is CBD Beneficial for ADHD?
For some, CBD is extremely beneficial for ADHD, but for others, it has not made much of a difference in their symptoms. It just depends on the individual.
Still, many CBD users, including my clients, have reported that this plant-based compound has helped their children better manage their symptoms (agitation, hyperactivity, inattention, and impatience).
Many of my clients also reported that using CBD, as a supplement (in addition to their prescribed medications), further reduced their children’s symptoms.
However, a 2017 study,  found that cannabis did not appear to noticeably improve cognitive function or reduce symptoms in self-medicating adolescents and adults who used it for ADHD symptoms.
Although, there was a slight improvement in impulsivity and hyperactivity, overall, it was not significant enough to be considered more effective than the placebo given to the participants. 
The main benefit of using CBD for ADHD is that it produces a “calming effect” in the body and there are little-to-no side-effects for most people.  So, if your child is experiencing hyperactivity or a lack of focus (inattention), it may be worth trying – after you have consulted a qualified medical professional.
Unlike conventional ADHD medications like Adderall, Concerta, and Ritalin, CBD side-effects are usually extremely mild – if they occur at all.
The good news is CBD gently and gradually improves symptoms without unpleasant complications or long-term effects (addiction insomnia, decreased appetite, sluggishness, mood changes, “rebound” effects, tics, etc.).
Is It Safe For ADHD?
Yes! For most people CBD is safe for ADHD. 
The main concern when it comes to CBD and ADHD is if it is a safe treatment. The truth is it is the CBD (i.e. testing and purity) that is in question – not the effects of it in your body.
It is common for those who are unfamiliar with CBD to confuse it with marijuana, however, CBD is a non-addictive property found in the cannabis plant. As a result, it typically does not contain THC, the main property in marijuana; however, it may in extremely low doses (0.3 -0.6%).
But, because CBD is often confused with marijuana, many parents are reluctant to give it to their young child and teens for fear it will cause them to become addicted to it or harmed by it. That is untrue.
Keep in mind that CBD is an anti-inflammatory, so there is a risk that it may not work for a child who is struggling with ADHD. It is also important to understand that there could be an interaction between CBD and your child’s prescription ADHD medications.
At this time, there is not enough research to accurately determine CBD/drug interactions. But, experts suggest that the risk of side-effects or drug interactions is heightened in individuals who take ADHD medications or non-ADHD medications that are metabolized in the liver. 
Moreover, higher doses of CBD may cause a “sedating effect” in your child’s body – one that may be counteractive to managing your child’s symptoms (too drowsy, sluggish, or sleepy and/or daydreamy). 
As mentioned above, the main concern is the purity and accuracy of the CBD given to children for ADHD.  Because, CBD has not been approved for ADHD by the FDA, the amount of CBD in CBD-touted products may or may be inaccurate. Also, the CBD in these products may or may not be “pure.”
In other words, other “bulking” ingredients (pesticides, toxins, preservatives and additives, herbs, and/or high levels of THC) may be combined with the CBD, which could harm your child, especially if he or he has an allergy or sensitivity to one or more of them. 
It is also important to understand that CBD impacts the brain in a variety of ways, depending on the individual, so it’s unclear how it will react in your child’s body.  This is especially true, if the product contains “impure” CBD or CBD that has been mixed with other herbs, chemicals, supplements, pesticides, or fillers.
CBD may also be unsafe if the labeling is inaccurate, misleading, or deceptive.  All of these elements factor into the safety of the CBD product.
Still, CBD for ADHD has been deemed safe by the WHO (World Health Organization). In fact, according to the WHO, CBD does not appear to cause harmful or unsafe short-term or long-term effects on children or adults. 
Note: Research  suggests that individuals who struggle with ADHD and use cannabis or CBD (with THC) may be at-risk for marijuana abuse – but that is only when the CBD contains THC and the individual consumes unsafe levels of CBD in a short amount of time. This is rare.
CBD is more commonly used at safe levels and without THC, so the risk of dependency is low, if not virtually non-existent. 
What Are Possible Side-Effects?
Research on CBD side-effects, specifically for ADHD sufferers, is incomplete. But, most studies  on CBD focus on the effectiveness, benefits, and safety of CBD for epileptic children. However, these studies can still provide a glimpse of the possible side-effects for children, who struggle with ADHD.
Listed below are possible side-effects specific to children with ADHD:
According to a 2013 report,  parents who gave their children full-spectrum CBD or CBD with THC found that the CBD caused their children to be drowsy and fatigued. It also caused their children to have frequent headaches. This was especially true when higher doses of CBD were ingested.
Researchers also found that CBD can interact with certain ADHD medications, vitamins, and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.  These findings are important because excessive drowsiness, fatigue, frequent headaches can negatively affect a child’s academic and athletic performances.
Another study  found that children who used cannabis (marijuana) under the age of 16 are at risk of cognitive impairment, primarily because their brains are still developing. This finding is also important because cognitive impairment can lead to developmental delays and information processing and reading comprehension issues.
The impairment could affect all or almost all areas of the child’s life (i.e. mental, personal, emotional, and academic), worsening ADHD symptoms, and lowering his self-esteem and self-confidence. Cognitive impairment can also affect a child’s social relationships, making it hard for him to make and retain friends.
- Gastrointestinal Distress & Physiological Changes
Other than what is listed above, the side-effects remain the same across the board (for those with and those without ADHD). These side-effects include the following: diarrhea, nausea, changes in appetite or weight, dry mouth, and low blood pressure.  Keep in mind, however, that these side-effects are rare and usually diminish or disappear over time.
What Forms Of CBD Are Used For ADHD?
Unfortunately, at this time, there are no formal guidelines on what form of CBD to use for ADHD symptoms like hyperactivity, poor concentration, restlessness, irritability, or impulsivity.
However, CBD can be taken in a variety of ways, such as under the tongue (the sublingual approach), added to food or beverages, as cooking oil, as a muscle cream, bath bomb, or bubble bath, as aromatherapy or even as a vape (for adults). It can also be added to makeup (for teens).
The most common forms of CBD for ADHD children are sublingually (oil under the tongue), extracts, and edibles (brownies, lollipops, and gummies). This is followed by creams and supplements.
Can It Be Given To Children With ADHD?
Yes! However, studies and trials on CBD usage in children are currently limited.
Currently, Epidiolex is the only CBD prescription drug approved by the FDA for use in epileptic children.  The FDA has not approved any CBD forms or products for use in children with ADHD. 
Epidiolex is typically prescribed to children who struggle with severe, genetic, and rare forms of epilepsy. Although developed for children, it can also be used for adults with epilepsy. 
Keep in mind, however, that CBD “guidance” and “evidence” for treating children with ADHD stem from personal anecdotes, medical case studies, and professional observations.  A 2015 Facebook poll  found that children with epilepsy may experience noticeable improvements in sleep habits, awareness, concentration, and mood with regular use of CBD.
The good news is studies are currently being conducted on the effectiveness of CBD on other conditions, such as autism  and PTSD  in children. However, specific studies on CBD and ADHD in children are still lacking.
On the flip side, other studies  have indicated that children, who use or who are administered marijuana (pot) before the age of 16, are at risk of cognitive impairment, due to their underdeveloped brains.
Other studies  suggest that children with ADHD have a higher risk of drug and alcohol abuse or addiction. Similarly, another study  found that children with ADHD are twice as likely to be diagnosed with marijuana use disorder.
Note: It is unknown if these risks also apply to CBD products.
These findings are extremely important because ADHD is a cognitive-behavioral disorder, so cognitive impairment could trigger or worsen ADHD symptoms in some children.
Because CBD and ADHD in children have not been thoroughly researched, you should talk to your child’s pediatrician before giving him or her any form of CBD for ADHD.
What Are The Top 3 CBD Products for ADHD?
Choosing the best CBD product for ADHD can be confusing and overwhelming. As a result, it normally takes quite a bit of research to find the best product for your child. The good news is there are ways you can determine what products will be most beneficial for your child’s ADHD symptoms. It is important to pay attention to things like shipping costs and times, purity and the quality of the product, third-party testing results, customer reviews, and quality control.
Note: The products listed below are in no certain order.
1. Royal CBD
A popular CBD choice for ADHD that appears to work well for children is Royal CBD oil. Royal CBD boasts 100% all-natural ingredients. Their CBD oil is also lab-tested for safety, purity, and potency. It comes in a 250mg bottle, so your child does not “run out” of it too quickly.
But, if your child does not like the “woodsy” or “earthy” flavor of CBD oil, you can purchase fruit-flavored (strawberry, orange, and grape) CBD-infused gummies for him. What are the best things about these gummies?
They are THC-free and provide 10mg of CBD, per gummy. Another plus? Each bottle contains 30 gummies.
Parents who have given the CBD oil or gummies to their children, have reported that they have helped their children “calm down” and fall asleep at night.
They have also reported that the CBD has prevented their children from becoming too agitated or distracted, which has helped them focus on their homework for longer than a few minutes at a time.
Some parents have even reported that the CBD has reduced their children’s anxiety and restlessness, which are often byproducts of ADHD.
Prices for the oil range from $49 to $229, depending on the mg. Prices for CBD-infused gummies $54 to $79.
CBDistillery is another viable option for children with ADHD. What makes this brand reputable? Well, it sources its CBD from non-GMO, pesticide-free hemp. It also extracts the properties using CO2. Moreover, it is available in both CBD (with THC) and (THC-free), which means both adults and children can use it.
The CBD is also lab-tested for safety, purity, potency, and reliability. CBDistillery offers five different oil potencies (from 250mg to 5,000mg), along “fruity” gummies (raspberry-lemon, raspberry, and strawberry) for children and adults, who don’t like the natural “earthy” or “woodsy” flavor of CBD oil. There are 25mg or 30mg of CBD, per gummy.
Another benefit? It’s very affordable.
The downside is the oil only comes in the “natural” flavor, unlike other companies that offer flavored oils. CBDistillery products are also vegan-friendly.
Lastly, this company offers both daytime and nighttime gummy options. Customer reviews suggest that products from CBDistillery have helped with anxiety, restlessness, hyperactivity, and poor concentration.
These individuals also reported that the CBD oil or gummies helped them or their children relax, fall asleep quicker, and sleep more soundly, which significantly helped with their ADHD symptoms (distractibility, impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity).
The recommended dose for CBD oil for children with health conditions like ADHD is 250-500mg  (depending on age and weight). The oil starts at $19, which is perfect if you are on a budget or have to frequently purchase it.
The cost for a 25 count of 25-30 mg gummies is $55. The recommended dose for CBD gummies for children with health conditions (like ADHD) is 25 or 30mg, per day (depending on age and weight). A bundle pack of daytime and nighttime gummies are priced at $90.
Can’t get your child to take the oil or the gummies? No problem! CBDistillery also offers CBD in warming and cooling creams, salves, and lip balms! These products range from $6 to $80.
3. Hemp Bombs
Some customers, including a couple of my clients, suggest giving children with ADHD isolate CBD oil or THC-free CBD from Hemp Bombs. What’s so great about this company and CBD products? Well, it is sourced from 100% certified organic hemp from Europe.
It is also THC-free, so it is overall safer for children. And, like the other companies listed above, it rigorously tests for purity, potency, and consistency.
Another plus? You can discreetly add it to your child’s juice, soda, or food because it has an odorless and almost non-existent flavor. You can even cook with it! This company also offers a range of potencies in oils (from 125mg to 5,000mg). And, guess what?
Hemp Bombs offers flavored CBD oil in 6 delicious flavors (Acai berry, chocolate mint, orange creamsicle, peppermint, watermelon, and natural hemp). It also offers a wide range of fun and “fruity” gummy flavors (lemon, lime, cherry, blue raspberry, and orange) too!
Each bottle comes with a pre-measured serving of CBD, so you don’t have to figure out how much to give your child. These gummies have 15mg of CBD, per gummy, which means your child can safely take 1 or 2 of them daily and experience an improvement in symptoms.
Hemp Bomb offers a variety of gummies, from original gummies to high-potency and sleep gummies (CBD gummies infused with melatonin to help your child relax and fall asleep). It even offers CBD lollipops for children, who dislike gummies and oils.
Customers report a reduction in their children’s stress levels, a more relaxed state, lower levels of angst, increased focus and concentration, and better sleep after using the gummies or oil.
The good news is these products are also effective for adults with ADHD, although a higher dose may be required to receive the same benefits as children. Children, however, will not need a stronger dose than the 300mg bottle.
Prices for the oil range from $17 to $290 and prices for the gummies range from $15 to $140, per pack or bottle (depending on the mg and quantity).
Note: My goal is to provide CBD product suggestions that could provide your child with a better quality of life. But, because body chemistries vary, there is no guarantee that these products can or will reduce or alleviate ADHD symptoms.
How I Comprised My List of Top 3 CBD Products for ADHD
To make my selections for the top 3 therapeutic CBD products for ADHD, I researched the most popular CBD brands on the market. I looked at each brand, examining customer reviews and ratings, and third-party lab reports.
I also spoke with my clients, friends, and associates, who claim to give CBD to their children with ADHD. Based on my results, I removed various companies and products from this list until I was left with three CBD companies and products I felt were the most beneficial, reputable, and reliable for ADHD.
Is Using CBD for ADHD Legal?
CBD products for all concerns and health conditions are legal in all 50 states (to some degree). But, research your local, state, or federal laws before purchasing CBD products.
Can I Give My Child Full-Spectrum (THC) CBD for ADHD?
Yes, if you feel comfortable doing so.
Full-spectrum CBD contains between 0.3% and 0.6% THC. This is an extremely low, almost undetectable amount of CBD. However, some parents do not feel comfortable giving their children any amount of THC, which understandable.
This is a personal choice, however, full-spectrum is stronger and more concentrated, which may beneficial for severe ADHD symptoms. However, that is a personal choice after discussing the matter with your child’s pediatrician.
What is the Recommended Dosage for ADHD?
There is no “official” CBD dosage for ADHD, however, you can find the optimal dose for you or your child’s weight, age, body chemistry, and symptoms, by starting with the smallest dose (usually 2-3 drops of the oil twice a day or one 25-30mg CBD capsule or gummy daily).
If this dose does little-to-nothing for you, gradually increase the amount of CBD until symptoms diminish or disappear.
Remember, for most, CBD will only remain in the body for a few hours, which means the inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity will return after it wears-off. Similar to conventional ADHD prescription medications like Ritalin and Concerta, CBD must be used regularly to keep symptoms at bay.
ADHD experts  suggest that CBD is more effective at improving focus and reducing restlessness when combined with small amounts of THC. Small amounts (0.3% to 0.6%) of THC will not make you “high,” although it may cause you to fail a highly-sensitive drug test.
Still, the best way to combat ADHD symptoms and better manage the condition is to use full-spectrum CBD (with THC).
According to CBD users with mild ADHD, the recommended CBD dosage is 40mg of CBD daily. However, many caution that it could take between 2 and 3 weeks before your child experiences a significant reduction in symptoms.
For children with moderate-to-severe ADHD, the recommended CBD dosage should be, at minimum, 100mg daily.
CBD users suggest that the CBD be “broken up” into two doses (i.e. morning and night) and reduced after 3 weeks of use – but only if your child’s focus and behavior have improved. If you do not see a reduction in your child’s ADHD symptoms, you can increase the amount of CBD your child ingests until symptoms decrease.
Once your child’s symptoms decline or stabilize, you will want to follow that with a maintenance dose of CBD. The most common maintenance dose is 20–25mg daily.
What Is The Best & Fastest Way For Your Child to Absorb the CBD?
The best way for children to ingest CBD is under the tongue, added to food, or used as cooking oil. Parents who regularly give their children CBD for ADHD recommend that these children consume CBD orally (tinctures and edibles). 
Understand that oral CBD is less likely to cause side-effects, so if you are giving it to your child, it’s best to start with the tincture (oil) or edibles like candy, brownies, etc. It is also available in capsule form; however, it takes longer to experience the effects because it has to be dissolved first.
If you opt for the tincture, the best way to get maximum effectiveness is to place a few drops of the oil under your child’s tongue, wait for 60-seconds, and then instruct him to swallow the oil.
Although studies on CBD and ADHD are sparse, there have been some studies conducted on the effects of CBD on anxiety. A 2018 study  found that one 300-mg dose of CBD oil could reduce anxiety – a little-known effect of ADHD. But, more research is needed to determine how these results translate to other ADHD symptoms in children.
What if my child refuses to take the oil? I suggest you try edibles. Edibles like gummies dissolve fairly quickly in the digestive tract, so this may be your best option. The good news is your child will experience the effects of the CBD faster with edibles, than she would by ingesting CBD pills or using topical like creams or makeup.
If your child likes or loves gummies, this may be the best way to give him CBD. Gummies are usually colorful, tasty, and fun, which most kids love. CBD oil, on the other hand, may taste “earthy” or “woodsy,” which can be a turn-off for some kids.
The fastest way for your child to absorb the CBD is to place 2-3 drops under her tongue once or twice a day. More specifically, this is the quickest way to see an improvement in ADHD symptoms because the CBD goes directly into your child’s bloodstream.
Keep in mind, however, that it can take up to 2 hours before you see the results of the CBD. Sometimes, the effects can remain for a few hours, and sometimes they can last all day, depending on your child’s age, his body chemistry, and the severity of his symptoms.
Note: The quickest way for an adult with ADHD to experience the effects of CBD is through vaping; however, this is not the best approach. Vaping comes with a host of health side-effects and complications, so exercise caution if you decide to use this approach. Therefore, the best approach for adults with ADHD is also sublingually (under the tongue).
Regardless of the form, if your child is new to CBD, start with the smallest dose first. Then, gradually increase the dose and allow his body to adjust to it before moving up again. This will lower his risk of CBD side-effects.
It is important to acknowledge that no large-scale trials or studies have been conducted on the safety or effectiveness of CBD on ADHD. Therefore, there is no scientific data that supports the theory that CBD helps reduce or eliminate ADHD symptoms in children.
However, parents, who have given CBD to their children with ADHD, have reported a visible reduction in impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity and an improvement in focus, concentration, attention, thoughtfulness, and calmness.
According to these individuals, CBD has helped their children relax, so they can get sound sleep and awaken calmer and more focused for the day ahead.
And, while the debate rages between experts that find value in CBD for conditions like ADHD, and those, who do not, it is important to thoroughly research it before giving it to your child. You are the best advocate for your child, so ask her pediatrician for her perspective and guidance.
Also, ask parents, who give CBD to their children with ADHD, and research the various types of CBD and the side-effects of each type.
Lastly, investigate the brands to ensure they are rigorously-testing their products for safety, purity, and reliability. Don’t forget to read the product and customer reviews, because this is where you’ll find your most valuable information on if CBD eases ADHD symptoms.
The goal is to ensure that your child will be safe if she takes a particular CBD product and that it will be effective for her in both the short-term and long-term.
National Institute of Mental Health. (2020). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Hoch, E., Niemann, D., von Keller, R., Schneider, M., Friemel, C. M., Preuss, U. W., Hasan, A., & Pogarell, O. (2019). How effective and safe is medical cannabis as a treatment of mental disorders? A systematic review. European Archives of Psychiatry & Clinical Neuroscience, 269(1), 87–105. Crippa, J. A., Zuardi, A. W., Martín-Santos, R., Bhattacharyya, S., Atakan, Z., McGuire, P., & Fusar-Poli, P. (2009). Cannabis and anxiety: a critical review of the evidence. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical & Experimental, 24(7), 515–523. Lee, J. L. C., Bertoglio, L. J., Guimarães, F. S., Stevenson, C. W., & Guimarães, F. S. (2017). Cannabidiol regulation of emotion and emotional memory processing: relevance for treating anxiety-related and substance abuse disorders. British Journal of Pharmacology, 174(19), 3242–3256. Shannon, S., & Opila-Lehman, J. (2016). Effectiveness of cannabidiol oil for pediatric anxiety and insomnia as part of post-traumatic stress disorder: A case report. The Permanente Journal, 20(4), 16-005. Loflin, M. Earleywine, M., De Leo, J. & Hobkirk, A. (2014) Subtypes of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and cannabis use. Substance Use & Misuse, 49 (4), 427-434. Tweed, V. (2020). Can CBD help you sleep? Better Nutrition. Sarris, J., Sinclair, J., Karamacoska, D., Davidson, M., & Firth, J. (2020). Medicinal cannabis for psychiatric disorders: a clinically-focused systematic review. BMC Psychiatry, 20(1), 1–14. High‐potency cannabis more than quadruples risk for use disorder within a year. (2019). Brown University Child & Adolescent Psychopharmacology Update, 21(2), 1–4. Bidwell, L. C., Henry, E. A., Willcutt, E. G., Kinnear, M. K., & Ito, T. A. (2014). Childhood and current ADHD symptom dimensions are associated with more severe cannabis outcomes in college students. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 135, 88–94. Egan, T. E., Dawson, A. E., & Wymbs, B. T. (2017). Substance use in undergraduate students with histories of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): The role of impulsivity, substance use & misuse, 52 10), 1375-1386. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (2020). Cannabis (marijuana) and cannabinoids: What you need to know. Cooper, R. E., Williams, E., Seegobin, S., Tye, C., Kuntsi, J., & Asherson, P. (2017). Cannabinoids in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: A randomized controlled trial. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 27(8), 795‐808. Iffland, K. & Grotenhermen, F. (2017). An update on the safety and side-effects of cannabidiol: A review of clinical data and relevant animal studies. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res, 2(1), 139‐154. Bauer, B. A. (2020). What are the benefits of CBD — and is it safe to use? Mayo Clinic. World Health Organization (WHO). (2017). Cannabidiol (compound of cannabis). Tamm, L., Epstein, J. N., Lisdahl, K. M., Molina, B., Tapert, S., Hinshaw, S. P., Arnold, L. E., Velanova, K., Abikoff, H., & Swanson, J. M. (2013). Impact of ADHD and cannabis use on executive functioning in young adults. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 133(2), 607–614. Welty, T. E., Chapman, K. E., Faught, R. E., & Kotloski, R. J. (2019). American Epilepsy Society (AES): Written Comments to Norman E. “Ned” Sharpless, MD, Acting Commissioner of Food and Drugs, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): on Docket ID# FDA-2019-N-1482, Scientific Data, and Information about Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-Derived Compounds; Public Hearing. Epilepsy Currents, 19(6), 361–368. Porter, B. E., & Jacobson, C. (2013). Report of a parent survey of cannabidiol-enriched cannabis use in pediatric treatment-resistant epilepsy. Epilepsy & Behavior, 29(3), 574–577. Linares, I. M., Zuardi, A. W., Pereira, L. C., et al. (2019). Cannabidiol presents an inverted U-shaped dose-response curve in a simulated public speaking test. Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry, 41(1), 9‐14. Antwi-Amoabeng, D., & Islam, R. (2020). Vaping is not safe: A case of acute eosinophilic pneumonia following cannabis vapor inhalation. Case Reports in Pulmonology, 1–5. First cannabis-based drug in the US. (2018). New Scientist, 238(3184), 7. Campbell, C. T., Phillips, M. S., & Manasco, K. (2017). Cannabinoids in Pediatrics. The Journal of Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics. JPPT, 22(3), 176–185. Hussain, S. A., Zhou, R., Jacobson, C., et al. (2015).Perceived efficacy of cannabidiol-enriched cannabis extracts for treatment of pediatric epilepsy: A potential role for infantile spasms and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Epilepsy Behavior, 47, 138‐141. Barchel, D., Stolar, O., De-Haan, T., et al. (2019). Oral cannabidiol use in children with autism spectrum disorder to treat related symptoms and co-morbidities. Front Pharmacology, 9, 1521. Harstad, E. & Levy, S. (2014). Committee on substance abuse. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and substance abuse. Pediatrics, 134(1):e293‐e301. Devinsky, O., Marsh, E., Friedman, D., et al. (2016). Cannabidiol in patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy: An open-label interventional trial. Lancet Neurology, 15(3), 270‐278. Wong, D. F. K., Ng, T. K., Ip, P. S. Y., Chung, M. L., & Choi, J. (2018). Evaluating the effectiveness of a group CBT for parents of ADHD children. Journal of Child & Family Studies, 27(1), 227–239.
Leave a Comment Cancel reply
Ree Langham, Ph.D. Psychology
Dr. R. Y. Langham holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Fisk University, a Master of Marriage and Family Therapy (M.M.F.T.) in Marriage and Family Therapy from Trevecca Nazarene University, and a Ph.D. in Family Psychology from Capella University.
She is currently a child and family psychologist, medical, health & wellness contributor, copywriter, researcher, and psychological.
CBD Oil for Kids: Is It Safe for Children with ADHD & Anxiety?
If you’re a parent, you’ll go above and beyond to keep your child healthy.
You may have heard your friends saying they’re using CBD oil with their kids. If you don’t know what CBD is, don’t worry — I’ll explain everything in this article, including why you may want to consider using the supplement with your children too.
Long story short, CBD stands for cannabidiol, a natural compound in cannabis plants with an array of positive effects on the body and brain but is non-psychoactive, unlike THC.
CBD is becoming increasingly popular for various negative symptoms, from anxiety to pain and inflammation (read more here).
It comes in many different forms, including CBD oil, capsules, edibles, beverages, vaping liquids, and topical products.
But which CBD oil will be the best for your little one?
In this guide, you’ll learn about 3 brands that, I believe, deserve your attention as a parent.
I’ve also mapped out several areas where CBD oil appears to be particularly effective, as well as what to look for when searching for the best CBD oil products for kids.
How to Find the CBD Oil for Your Kids
Several steps are involved in the production of CBD oil; each of them is a make-or-break factor.
Quality is paramount when buying CBD oil for kids, so if you want to rest assured your money goes in the right hands, I suggest researching the following information:
1. Hemp Source
It all starts in the soil.
Hemp is an effective bioaccumulator. What does this mean?
It means it absorbs everything from the environment it’s cultivated in.
In essence, when grown in clean and fertile soil, hemp will pull all the good nutrients to grow strong, healthy, and produce plenty of CBD.
But when the growing conditions are inferior and the soil polluted, the plant will draw every contaminant, resulting in very poor sourcing material.
With that said, I strongly recommend buying CBD from domestic farmers who grow organic hemp plants, even if they aren’t certified organic.
This ensures you’ll only get pure CBD oil that is safe for your kid.
2. Extraction Method
The method by which CBD oil is processed can tell much about its quality.
Some manufacturers use toxic solvents like propane and butane for extraction to avoid higher production costs and sell cheap CBD oil. The toxic residue in such products is what you want to steer clear of. I, for example, couldn’t imagine myself purposefully exposing my children to hazardous substances.
Two extraction methods yield clean and potent extracts without leaving any harmful chemicals behind — Ethanol and CO2 extraction.
Ethanol is used in making CBD tinctures. The high-CBD bud is soaked in high-proof alcohol like Ethanol, so the cannabinoids and other hemp compounds can be extracted.
CO2 extraction calls for using pressurized CO2 at varying temperatures to obtain an oily extract suspended in a carrier oil (most often MCT oil). This method is the golden standard in the industry.
3. Is It Full-Spectrum CBD Oil or Isolate?
Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all phytonutrients from hemp, including cannabinoids (with trace amounts of THC), terpenes, flavonoids, and essential oils, whereas CBD isolate carries only pure, isolated cannabidiol.
While isolates offer the highest dose of CBD per serving and are more versatile than full-spectrum CBD (it has no odor and no flavor), it lacks the synergy achieved by other hemp compounds in the full-spectrum extract.
CBD oil obtained from the whole plant is believed to have a greater therapeutic value than isolate-based products, and the user needs less CBD to achieve the desired effect. More scientific evidence supports the theory about the synergy between cannabinoids, especially when it comes to pain and inflammation.
I, too, believe that full-spectrum CBD oil is a better choice, but if your child is allergic to certain constituents of the hemp plant — or you don’t want even a negligible amount of THC in their system — isolates might be your only option.
4. Third-party Testing & Lab Results
Once a CBD oil is manufactured, companies can submit their products for third-party testing conducted by non-company staff to ensure the product is safe for consumption and consistent with the bottle’s label.
CBD oils should always feature information about third-party tests; if they don’t, it should raise some red flags.
It’s all the better if the actual lab results accompany that information. As a rule of thumb, companies that include lab results are generally better than those that aren’t open about them.
When buying CBD oil for your kid, it’s essential to choose the one that will suit their dosage needs. I would always go for the lower potency with children unless there’s a specific reason you want to give them CBD.
CBD Oil Effects on Kids
CBD has coined its fame thanks to its anticonvulsant properties in children with rare forms of epilepsy. Still, this cannabinoid can also alleviate less severe conditions, too — not to mention it’s a great supplement to keep your little pumpkin in good health in a natural way.
Below I go over the most common uses of CBD oil in kids and how it may improve selected health problems. Keep in mind that both the amount of CBD intake and the time of the day can affect how your kid responds to CBD oil.
CBD Oil for Kids With ADHD
If your child has an attention disorder — they quickly get overstimulated and have problems maintaining focus — CBD can help with symptom management.
Research on CBD as a potential treatment for ADHD is sparse. We know most of what we know about the link between these two stems from studies on cannabis as a whole, not the specific CBD compound.
However, there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence from parents giving CBD to their kids that CBD oil helps manage their hyperactivity symptoms.
Moreover, a 2014 study published in Current Neuropharmacology suggests that CBD can be a wake-promoting agent at low doses, making users more alert throughout the day (1).
Interestingly, our sleep-wake cycle largely depends on our level of alertness during the day, so CBD oil may also help when your kiddo has problems falling asleep at night.
CBD Oil for Kids With Anxiety
CBD exerts several actions in the brain that regulate our brain’s response to feelings of fear and anxiety. The research in this subject is mostly preclinical or based on animal studies, but there are thousands of testimonies from parents whose children found relief from anxiety in CBD oil.
But how exactly does CBD work for anxiety disorders?
Research suggests that cannabidiol inhibits serotonin reuptake in the brain. In other words, it makes serotonin more available for the body (2). With better control of your serotonin resources, CBD could help stabilize mood and reduce anxiety.
The second benefit is associated with CBD’s ability to prompt the endocannabinoid system to produce more natural cannabinoids (3). This includes anandamide — the endocannabinoid regulating emotions such as fear, bliss, and euphoria.
Insufficient anandamide production has been linked to low mood or overreaction to anxiety triggers.
As with serotonin, CBD stimulates the release of anandamide and helps it stay in the body for a longer duration — assisting the user in maintaining sanity.
Last but not least, CBD may stimulate the hippocampus (a critical brain area playing a vital role in an array of brain functions) to regenerate neurons (4). These findings are particularly interesting because brain scans of patients suffering from anxiety and depression often show a smaller hippocampus.
CBD Oil for Kids With Autism
A study led by the director of pediatric neurology at Jerusalem’s Shareek Zedek Hospital, Dr. Adi Aran, treated 60 autistic children with CBD oil for at least seven months.
After the treatment period, parents were asked to fill out assessment questionnaires about changes in their child’s condition. The researchers asked questions about behavioral changes, anxiety levels, and communication skills.
According to the collected data, 80% of parents noted a decline in problematic behaviors, with 62% reporting great improvements. Half of the examined children showed improved communication, and 40% of parents reported significant decreases in their children’s anxiety (5).
While these are some really promising results, we need more longitudinal studies on larger groups of patients for the research to be conclusive.
Top 4 CBD Oil Brands
I’ve tested plenty of CBD brands in my life, and I have a list of my personal favorites. It turns out that three of them are a perfect match for my children’s needs.
I always base my product recommendations on extensive testing and thousands of verified customer reviews to give you a full picture of any given product I tackle. I would never suggest any product that fails to meet my quality and safety criteria.
Below you’ll find the top 4 brands selling CBD oil.
1. Royal CBD (Best Overall)
Get 15% off all Royal CBD products. Use code “CFAH” at checkout.
- Full-spectrum of phytocannabinoids
- Made from 100% natural ingredients
- Extracted with supercritical CO2
- Contained in premium-quality MCT oil
- Lab-tested for potency and purity
- The 500mg bottle is easy to dose
- They also sell CBD infused gummies
What I Like About Royal CBD:
I remember receiving a press release from Royal CBD shortly before their launch, so I couldn’t help but try their products — as I do with any new brand that grabs my attention.
I’m a visualizer, so I was instantly bought with the minimalistic design of their products. Of course, I did some solid research to not rely solely on my gut, and it turned out this company has an unparalleled level of transparency.
They explain everything about how they source their hemp and what extraction they use for their CBD oil. Not only that, but they were also able to prove it with the lab results. I ordered two bottles — the 1000mg (for me) and 500mg (for my two boys).
What I love about Royal CBD is that their full-spectrum oil does what it’s advertised to do — it brings relief. My children sleep better, they don’t get irritated so easily, and I can finally get them focused on their homework for longer than 3 minutes, which is a blessing for me.
Oh, and it doesn’t leave that botanical aftertaste on the tongue. I’m a fan of everything related to hemp, but my boys don’t share my enthusiasm to that extent. Thankfully, the MCT oil does a stellar job at masking the natural hemp flavor.
2. Gold Bee (Best Organic CBD Oil)
- Made from US-grown, organic hemp
- Contains full-spectrum CBD
- 1200 mg of CBD per bottle (40 mg/mL)
- Extracted with supercritical CO2
- Delicious Kiwi flavor
- Sweetened with organic honey
- Third-party tested for cannabinoid content and purity
- Only one concentration available
- Limited flavor options
What I Like About Gold Bee CBD Oil for Kids
Gold Bee offers craft-quality CBD oils that are well suited for kids, both in their potency and ingredients. The company sources its CBD from organic hemp grown in Colorado, which is then gently extracted using pressurized CO2. Gold Bee’s farming and processing practices yield pure CBD extracts that maintain consistent potency throughout all batches.
The CBD oil contains full-spectrum CBD, meaning there are other cannabinoids and terpenes to support the health benefits of CBD. These compounds contribute to the much-desired entourage effect. As a result, your kid needs less oil than they would if you gave them isolated CBD, making this product very affordable compared to competitor brands.
Even though Gold Bee only carries 2 potencies, 1200mg, and 2400mg, but their oils have proven to be much more effective than other brands. So if you are giving your child GB’s 1200mg CBD Oil, you should start with a quarter dropper, around 10mg of CBD.
I especially like Gold Bee because its product contains only organic ingredients, including the honey in the CBD oil and the cane sugar in the gummies. The brand is a safe pick for health-conscious parents.
3. Hemp Bombs
- Sourced from 100% certified organic hemp from Europe
- Extracted with CO2
- Lab-tested for purity and potency
- Highly versatile — you can use it as is or add it to food and drinks
- Available in 5 potencies
- Less expensive than full-spectrum CBD oil
- Lacks the entourage effect from other cannabinoids
- Your children usually won’t need anything stronger than the 300mg bottle
What I Like About HempBombs CBD:
HempBombs specializes in making 99% pure CBD products. These isolates are available as tinctures, capsules, vape oils, or gummies.
I know that some parents — especially those new to cannabis — tend to freak out about any THC in hemp products they give to their kids, so if you’re one of those parents, isolates might be a good starting point. Your child may be allergic to some plant compounds; CBD isolate might be the only option here.
Isolates are highly versatile. Given this, if your pumpkin hates the taste of natural CBD oil, the isolate should do the trick as it’s odorless and flavorless. Because of that, you can also mix CBD with foods and drinks to smuggle some CBD into your kid’s favorite muffins or a fruit salad dressing.
Remember that CBD isolate is purged from any cannabinoids other than CBD, so there’s no entourage effect. But as I said, with parents using isolate-based products, the potency of CBD is likely more important than the whole-plant synergy.
- Sourced from non-GMO, pesticide-free hemp
- Extracted with CO2
- Available as full-spectrum CBD or pure CBD oil (broad-spectrum, zero THC)
- Lab-tested for purity levels and consistency in potency
- Available in 5 different potency options
- Very affordable
- Only available in the natural flavor
- Not certified organic
What I Like About CBDistillery:
A veteran to the scene, CBDistillery never fails to deliver the highest quality and safety standards — both for adults and children.
Their oil is sold in five different potencies, from 250mg to 5000mg of full-spectrum or broad-spectrum (THC-free) extract. The 250mg CBD oil (my recommended potency for most kids) costs as little as $20, so it’s a perfect product for parents shopping for CBD on the budget.
I love the fact that you can also get a THC-free version of this oil but still enjoy the benefits of the other cannabinoids that have been preserved during extraction. I must admit it’s not as effective as Royal CBD, but it’s still a decent product. And for many young moms, this can be a golden mean between full-spectrum CBD oil and CBD isolate.
Using CBD With Children 101
I receive lots of questions from parents who would like to try CBD oil for their kids, but there’s so much confusion on the Internet that they get even more confused in the end.
So, my fellow moms, I’ve selected the 4 most frequently asked questions about CBD oil for kids, and I’m going to explain everything in the simplest way possible.
Is CBD Oil for Kids the Same as CBD Oil for Adults?
Yes, it’s precisely the same product. Companies don’t distinguish between CBD oil for kids or adults.
However, because children weigh less than adults, I suggest that you operate on lower potencies. Kids usually need lower amounts of CBD to feel the difference.
Besides, with a low-potency CBD oil (e.g., 250mg CBD per bottle), it’s easier to gauge the dosage in the dropper because you can use a few drops instead of having to measure out, say, one-tenth of the syringe for accurate dosing.
What Are the Benefits of CBD Oil for Children?
CBD is a highly versatile supplement that has a special relationship with our endocannabinoid system.
If you’re giving CBD oil to your kid for general supplementation purposes, you can expect the following benefits:
- Improved focus
- Higher alertness throughout the day
- Better quality of sleep
On a practical note, CBD is easy to use, has a long shelf-life, and you can administer it to your child in many different ways.
What’s the Best Way to Use CBD With Children?
It goes without saying that your kids won’t be vaping CBD oil or dabbing CBD concentrates because first, they’re too potent, and second — the very consumption method is out of the question for children.
Most parents choose the sublingual method, which involves placing a few CBD oil drops beneath the kid’s tongue. Once there, they need to hold it for about 30–60 seconds until the oil gets absorbed into the bloodstream, then swallow.
It may happen that your tot isn’t a fan of CBD oil’s distinct taste and will turn its head away each time you try to administer it sublingually.
If that’s your story, I recommend CBD gummies. Each gummy comes with a fixed dose of CBD — you can skip that nasty dropper part — and they are sold in many delicious flavors.
I don’t need to tell you how much children love gummies, so this form of cannabidiol is a great way to give your little one the best of both worlds.
CBD Oil Dosage Guidelines for Kids
The optimal dosage for any given CBD user — including children — depends on their weight, metabolism, unique body chemistry, and desired effects.
For the pediatric population of CBD users, experts suggest starting with 0.5mg of CBD per pound and taking this dose three times a day.
Starting low and slow allows you to adjust the dosage to how your child reacts to CBD without causing any side effects (e.g., dry mouth or lightheadedness).
Quick Reference Chart for Children’s Dosages:
|Weight (lbs)||Low Strength||Medium Strength|
|30 lbs (13 kg)||2.6 mg||7.8 mg|
|40 lbs (18 kg)||3.6 mg||10.8 mg|
|50 lbs (23 kg)||4.6 mg||13.8 mg|
|75 lbs (34 kg)||6.4 mg||19.0 mg|
|100 lbs (45 kg)||7.5 mg||22.5 mg|
Final Thoughts on CBD Oils for Kids
CBD oil is an excellent tool for enhancing the quality of one’s life, not only for adults but also for children. Because of the non-psychoactive nature of CBD, this compound is doesn’t impact their mental development and comes with only a few mild side effects, such as dry mouth or dizziness when consumed in larger amounts.
I hope my guide has helped you understand what CBD oil is and how it can help your kid live a better life. Now you can make a well-informed decision and buy a high-quality product that will benefit the whole family.
- Murillo-Rodríguez, E., Sarro-Ramírez, A., Sánchez, D., Mijangos-Moreno, S., Tejeda-Padrón, A., Poot-Aké, A., … Arias-Carrión, O. (2014). Potential effects of cannabidiol as a wake-promoting agent. Current Neuropharmacology, 12(3), 269–272.
- Russo, E.B., Burnet, A., Hall, B., Parker, K.K. (2005). Agonistic properties of cannabidiol at 5-HT1a receptors
- Leweke, F. M., Piomelli, D., Pahlisch, F., Muhl, D., Gerth, C. W., Hoyer, C., … Koethe, D. (2012). Cannabidiol enhances anandamide signaling and alleviates psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia. Translational Psychiatry, 2(3), e94.
- Beale, C., Boyd, S. J., Chye, Y., Suo, C., Schira, M., Galettis, P., … Solowij, N. (2018). Prolonged Cannabidiol Treatment Effects on Hippocampal Subfield Volumes in Current Cannabis Users. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 3(1), 94–107.
- Bar-Lev Schleider, L., Mechoulam, R., Saban, N., Meiri, G., & Novack, V. (2019). Real life Experience of Medical Cannabis Treatment in Autism: Analysis of Safety and Efficacy. Scientific reports, 9(1), 200.
Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.
Leave a comment Cancel reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
Is CBD Oil Safe For Children With Anxiety And ADHD?
Swati Patwal is a clinical nutritionist and toddler mom with over eight years of experience in diverse fields of nutrition. She started her career as a CSR project coordinator for a healthy eating and. more
MomJunction believes in providing reliable information to its readers. Accordingly, our team abides by a strong editorial policy that emphasizes delivering authentic information backed by scientific research.
The articles are written from a neutral and balanced perspective without any room for bias.
Our health and science-based articles are built on research reports, scientific backing, and expert analysis. We extensively use references (citations) in such articles, and such references are taken from authorities in particular fields.
All the citations given in the article are represented by a number and linked to the source.
Despite our strict adherence to facts, if you find any incongruent content, feel free to write to us,. We’ll promptly act on it.
If you are unaware of using Cannabidiol or CBD oil for kids, you should be reading this post. CBD oil is a component found in the Cannabis Sativa family’s hemp and marijuana plants, making individuals feel high. (1). The oil has gained popularity in recent years for treating various conditions, including chronic pain, stress, insomnia, nausea, and vomiting.
Different procedures are used to extract the oil, including carbon dioxide extraction, ethanol extraction, and hydrocarbon extraction (2). After extraction, the oil is refined and marketed as tinctures, capsules, topicals, chewable gummies, beverages, and other products.
This post discusses the safety of CBD oil for children, including its advantages, age-appropriate dosage, and potential side effects and hazards associated with its use.
Is CBD Oil Safe For Children?
There’s no scientific evidence to prove the safety and efficacy of CBD oil for children. However, one CBD product, namely Greenwich Biosciences’ Epidiolex, has been approved for use as a part of a regulated medication to treat epilepsy in children by the US FDA (3). This prescription drug contains a purified form of CBD that helps treat seizures in children that occur in rare and severe epilepsy forms, such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome (4).
Since these epilepsy forms do not respond to anti-seizure medications, CBD use becomes crucial. However, remember that using CBD oil as a standalone medication to treat epilepsy in children isn’t well-researched. Thus, if you want to use CBD oil for treating epilepsy or any other ailment in your child, consult a pediatrician.
Note: CBD is often confused with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), another cannabinoid found in hemp and marijuana. THC is a psychoactive compound that makes a person feel “high” and causes addiction and psychosis. However, CBD doesn’t have these effects and affects separate brain regions than THC (5).
Uses Of CBD Oil For Children
Apart from treating epilepsy, the FDA doesn’t approve CBD oil’s use to treat any ailment in children. However, studies suggest that CBD oil may be an effective treatment for the treatment of several ailments.
- Anxiety: Some recent studies show that CBD oil use may help reduce anxiety (6) (7). Preclinical evidence from animal studies demonstrates that CBD oil use can reduce anxiety associated with multiple disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized stress disorder, and social anxiety disorder (8 ). However, there’s a need for further study to make any recommendations for children.
- Autism: A 2019 study on 188 autism spectrum disorder (ASD) patients showed that the use of cannabis oil containing 30 percent CBD and 1.5 percent THC appears to be a “well-tolerated, safe, and effective option to relieve symptoms associated with ASD” (9). Another study involving 60 children also showed some promising results (8 ). However, these results aren’t sufficient for clinical validation as the research samples are quite small.
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder(ADHD): A systematic review conducted in 2020 highlighted that CBD could help alleviate symptoms of ADHD (10). However, currently, no targeted research studies are available to support the use of CBD oil for treating or managing ADHD in children.
- Multiple sclerosis (MS): A 2019 study by Thorsten Rudroff and Jacob Sosnoff suggests that CBD use may be associated with less pain and spasticity, ultimately leading to improved mobility and proper sleep (11). Yet, more research is warranted to derive any conclusions for CBD oil use for MS treatment in children.
Side Effects Associated With CBD Oil Use
CBD oil use for children isn’t well-researched, and its unguided use may cause certain side effects, such as
- Gastrointestinal disturbances: Upset stomach and abdominal pain are common side effects of CBD oil use in sensitive individuals. So, always consult a doctor or alternative medicine expert before using CBD oil for children.
- Toxicity: If CBD oil isn’t used under guidance, there’s a potential risk of overdose and toxicity. Therefore, it’s essential to use CBD oil only after consulting an expert. Some of the symptoms you may see in CBD toxicity are severe nausea or vomiting, high blood pressure, anxiety, paranoia, rapid heart rate, and hallucinations (12).
- Possible drug interaction: CBD is a bioactive compound that can interact with other chemicals and compounds in the medications. Since CBD affects the brain and the central nervous system, antidepressants and antipsychotics are the most obvious drugs that can interact with CBD.
Some other drugs that can interact with CBD are blood thinners and thyroid and heart medications (13). Therefore, if your child is on any medication, consult your doctor before using CBD for any purpose.
Besides these, CBD oil can also cause headaches, drowsiness, dry mouth, and low blood pressure (14).
Note: Milk and foods containing high amounts of fats can increase the absorption of CBD in the body, thus increasing the effects and side effects of CBD on an individual (12).
Possible Risks Associated With CBD Oil Use In Children
Baring Epidiolex, which contains CBD, CBD oil isn’t regulated by the US FDA, making its use in children and teens risky as (5) (8 )
- The ingredients of CBD oil can’t be determined accurately, meaning the products can have ingredients that aren’t mentioned on the label. For instance, several products that claim to contain only CBD may also contain high doses of THC, a psychoactive compound.
- CBD oil’s quality can’t be ascertained, as there are chances that the oil may be contaminated with microorganisms, pesticides, and heavy metals. Consuming contaminated CBD oil can cause severe effects in sensitive individuals.
- The efficacy and safety of CBD oil in children and teens are unclear, and research on this subject is still in its early stages. Also, existing studies have been either done on animals or human adults and not on pediatric patients. Further, the studies that involve children have small sample sizes.
- The dosage guidelines aren’t clear, except for CBD used in the drug Epidiolex to treat Epilepsy. Thus, using CBD oil at home is tricky, especially when you aren’t aware of how much CBD oil you can administer to a child to get the desired effect. Also, there is no way to know which mode of use is best and how much CBD would be absorbed in the body based on the method of administration.
Besides these, the legality of the use of CBD oil varies from one country to another and state to state. For instance, according to the US FDA, THC or CBD can’t be sold legally as a dietary supplement, food, or therapeutic product (4). Instead, it can only be included in cosmetics when its THC content is less than 0.3 percent (14). So, check your state’s legal requirements for CBD oil purchase and use before you make any purchases.
How To Choose CBD Oil?
Proper selection of a CBD oil brand can be tricky as it’s manufactured by several companies globally. So, here are some tips that could help (15).
- Buy the product from a trusted manufacturer and seller. It will ensure the product you’re buying is of good quality and is not contaminated. Some manufacturers may dilute CBD isolate with hemp seed oil, which can make the product comparatively ineffective as they lack the balance of beneficial components found in broad-spectrum CBD oil (2).
- Read the product label carefully and determine the
- Oil source: The oil should be extracted from hemp or marijuana. Typically, hemp has a significantly less amount of THC when compared to marijuana. THC is a psychoactive chemical that can create dependence over long-term use. So, ensure you buy CBD oil extracted from hemp plants cultivated by domestic farmers. Domestic hemp is typically free of toxins and pesticides.
- Extraction method: The extraction method indicates how the oil has been extracted from the hemp plant. Typically, CBD oil is extracted using carbon dioxide (CO2) extraction or by using solvents such as ethanol, propane, and butane. Out of these, propane and butane extraction isn’t considered safe as these solvents are toxic and hazardous for children. On the other hand, ethanol and CO2 extraction techniques are safe and potent as they leave no harmful chemicals in the oil.
- Chemical composition: It signifies whether the oil is full-spectrum or isolate. Full-spectrum CBD oil will contain several phytonutrients, such as flavonoids, terpenes, and trace amounts of THC. If THC’s presence concerns you, look for CBD isolates, which are the pure form of CBD oil.
But, while you make that choice, consult an expert as concentrated CBD has high amounts of CBD per serving, increasing the chances of overdose.
- Product certification: Ensure the product has been certified by a reputable third-party testing lab or organization. The lab will test the oil quality and certify that the oil is true to its claim about its chemical composition. It’s best to buy oil that has testing information attached.
CBD oil for children and adults is the same. However, since children weigh less and are comparatively sensitive, using CBD oil with lower potency is advisable.
CBD Oil Dosage For Children
The appropriate dosage of CBD oil for children depends on their body weight, metabolism, medical condition, overall health, and intent of use. For instance, the US FDA has approved the daily oral use of 25mg per kg of body weight for Epidiolex, the prescription drug that contains CBD (14). Its use is approved for children aged one and above.
However, this dosage may or may not be suitable for every child. So, consult a doctor or alternative medicine expert to determine the appropriate CBD oil dosage and suitable mode of use for a child.
While CBD oil has gained popularity over the past few years as a remedy for various ailments, it is important to remember that the FDA does not approve CBD oil for kids. More research is needed to support and establish the safety of CBD oils in the treatment of ailments such as anxiety, autism, and ADHD. In addition, it is advisable to refrain from using these oils if your children are on any other medications. Further, consult your pediatrician before using this oil on your child.
- CBD oil or Cannabidiol, a derivative of the cannabis plant, is reportedly used to treat certain neurological ailments, such as epilepsy, in children.
- It is essential to use this oil only when prescribed by an expert since it poses the risk of side effects such as CBD toxicity, gastric problems, and drug interactions.
- The oil is not approved for use in children in some countries. Therefore, seek professional advice before using it.
MomJunction’s articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.