Determined to find relief, parents are beginning to take what was previously a bizarre step to help children plagued with debilitating disorders – giving their kids cannabinoids. Cannabinoids have been found to potentially have anti-epileptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, anti-ischemic, and anti-tumor properties, indicating their promise for treating an array of conditions, diseases and disorders.
But are cannabinoids safe for kids?
What Research Says
Unfortunately, the volume of data on the safety of cannabinoids for adults and kids is lacking and not likely to grow anytime soon because of restrictive laws that make conducting clinical trials difficult. While more research still needs to be done, findings so far do indicate that one cannabinoid — cannabidiol (CBD) – is safe for children.
Oxford University’s Dr. Leslie Iversen, who has studied the safety profile of different substances, believes that cannabinoids are even safer than aspirin and can be used long-term without serious side effects.
One 2012 clinical trial, in which volunteers were given cannabinoids, concluded, “CBD has proven to be safe and well tolerated.”
An open-label study investigating CBD-based medications provided evidence of an adequate safety profile, including certain drug interactions, in children.
Just last month, renowned Mexican physician Dr. Saul Garza Morales found CBD hemp oil to effectively reduce seizures in children with severe pediatric epilepsy while causing zero adverse side effects.
When some parents think about giving plant-based cannabinoids to kids, they’re immediately resistant because they assume that doing so would get their child high. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most well known cannabinoid, does cause temporary euphoric effects.
Not all cannabinoids are psychoactive, however. CBD has no psychotropic properties and isn’t thought to be addictive, so parents don’t have to worry about their kid experiencing short term cognitive impairments, delayed reaction or poor muscle control.
A recent study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology found that two children with treatment-resistant epilepsy were able to achieve seizure reduction without any euphoric side effects when they switched from a cannabinoid blend containing CBD and THC to one that contained only CBD.
A Natural Supplement to the Body’s Cannabinoids
Cannabinoids naturally occur in the body. Similar in function to CBD, anandamide and 2-AG are the body’s own cannabinoids – referred to as endocannabinoids – that are produced naturally to interact with the endocannabinoid system to control communication between cells and mediate your body’s functions.
Scientist Ethan B. Russo believes that some people’s bodies don’t produce enough endocannabinoids, which can prevent the endocannabinoid system from functioning properly and lead to health problems. In these cases, supplementing with phytocannabinoids like CBD could be an all-natural therapeutic treatment method.
When it comes to choosing what to give your child, safety is obviously at the top of your concerns and we understand that making health care decisions for your children can be challenging. While more research into the safety of cannabinoids is needed, there are numerous studies and cases demonstrating that the cannabinoid CBD is safe for people of all ages.
- You can learn more about what research has discovered about the major and minor cannabinoids here.
- You may also learn more about cannabinoids and their effects on children by watching/reading our various ECHO Family stories.