Is your child suffering from chronic pain or has a medical condition that does not respond well to traditional treatment? Perhaps, CBD oil for kids may help improve your child’s health and wellness

How CBD May Help Kids

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant(1). It is believed that CBD may help with anxiety, chronic pain, insomnia, and addiction(2).

CBD, found mostly in hemp plants, does not exude psychoactive effects, unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the mind-altering compound of cannabis (sometimes called marijuana)(3).

There is insufficient direct research on CBD’s effects on children. However, the purported health benefits of CBD and its activity on the ECS (endocannabinoid system) may explain how CBD may help children with specific health conditions.

The ECS consists of cannabinoid receptors type 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2), enzymes, and endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids)(4).

There are numerous endocannabinoids in the ECS that seem to have a role in the function of neurotransmitters, mitochondria, and the immune system(5).

Plant-based cannabinoids, like CBD and THC, may mimic the actions of endocannabinoids by activating the cannabinoid receptors(6).

CB1 receptors play a vital part in pain sensation, while CB2 receptors stimulate a response that fights inflammation(7).

It is believed that CBD may compensate for ECS dysregulation in ASD (autism spectrum disorder)(8).

ASD is a medical condition related to brain development. The disorder affects how an individual perceives and socializes with others, causing problems in communication and social interaction(9).

A 2019 study from Molecular Autism indicated that children with ASD have lower circulating endocannabinoid levels, including lower serum levels of AEA (anandamide), OEA (oleoylethanolamide), and PEA (palmitoylethanolamide)(10).

AEA may control pain stimuli. It may also make or break short-term connections between nerve cells that affect memory(11).

On the other hand, OEA plays a significant role in modulating food consumption and weight management(12).

Meanwhile, PEA is believed to have analgesic properties devoid of unwanted side effects(13).

Like OEA and PEA, CBD has little binding affinity for cannabinoid receptors. CBD may also inhibit the enzyme FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase), leading to increased circulating endocannabinoid levels(14).

Circulating endocannabinoids are stress-responsive(15). Thus, their concentrations are altered in disorders linked to excessive stress, such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

A case study suggested that CBD oil may be a safe treatment for improving sleep and alleviating anxiety in a young girl with PTSD(16).

Benefits of Using CBD for Kids

Part of the appeal of using cannabidiol may be because of its good safety profile, confirmed by the WHO (World Health Organization)(17).

Although research regarding the use of CBD for children’s medical conditions is minimal, some human and animal studies may elucidate how using CBD may benefit children.

ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder refers to a chronic medical condition that affects millions of children and often progresses into adulthood(18). ADHD is a combination of persistent medical issues, such as hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, and difficulty sustaining attention.

A randomized controlled trial in 2017 reported that 30 adults with ADHD showed a minor reduction in ADHD symptoms, with no cognitive impairments after using Sativex oromucosal spray(19).

Sativex is a 1:1 dose ratio combination of CBD to THC(20).

Some animal-based studies also suggested that CBD may be a potential treatment for mental health issues, like anxiety and mood disorders(21).

Anxiety in children may set deep roots due to various factors, such as genes and brain wiring, temperament and coping strategies, or troubling early childhood experiences(22).

A study from Neurotherapeutics hypothesized that CBD’s anti-anxiety actions seem to depend on CB1 receptors and 5-HT1A (serotonin) receptors in several brain regions(23).

It is believed that CBD may inhibit serotonin reuptake in the brain, making the hormone that stabilizes mood more available for the body(24). With CBD’s agonistic properties at serotonin receptors, the compound may help individuals, including children, alleviate their anxiety.

A 2021 study from the Journal of Cannabis Research suggested that using lower doses of CBD and trace amounts of THC may help manage behavioral problems associated with autism, core symptoms, and cognitive functions(25).

These studies may have promising results. However, they are still inconclusive, and others are derived from animal research.

Still, the findings may be helpful to researchers conducting further human and animal studies regarding the benefits of CBD for children.

How to Administer CBD Oil to Kids

The routes of administration are categorized by the path by which CBD is taken into the body(26):

  • Inhalation
  • Ingestion
  • Sublingual (under the tongue) method
  • Topical absorption
  • Transdermal intake (active ingredients are delivered across the skin for systematic distribution)

Giving CBD to children sublingually may be a good option. You may use a calibrated dropper to dispense CBD oil straight to your child’s mouth.

The sublingual method relies on the mucous membrane under the tongue to absorb CBD(27). Capillaries in the connective tissue diffuse the compound, entering the bloodstream.

The sublingual route is also a fast-acting solution, with a 15- to 30-minute onset(28).

A study from the Permanente Journal examined the effectiveness of CBD oil for pediatric anxiety and insomnia as part of PTSD(29).

The case study involved a ten-year-old girl who was sexually abused. The girl also had minimal parental supervision as a young child under five.

The researchers administered 25mg of CBD supplements at bedtime and 6mg to 12mg of CBD sublingual spray during the day, as required for anxiety.

The researchers noted a gradual increase in the girl’s sleep quality and a decrease in her anxiety.

After five months of CBD administration, the girl slept in her room most nights and managed the new school year with no difficulties. The researchers also observed no side effects from taking CBD oil.

The clinical data gathered in this study supported the notion that the use of CBD oil may be a safe treatment for reducing anxiety and improving sleep in a young girl with PTSD(30).

CBD Dosage

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has not approved the marketing of cannabis and cannabis-derived products, including CBD, as a treatment for any condition or disease(31).

Hence, there is no CBD dosage for most medical conditions children may have.

The only FDA-approved drug product that contains cannabidiol is Epidiolex(32).

Epidiolex is a CBD oral solution. It is recommended for the treatment of seizures linked to two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, in patients two years and older(33):

  • DS (Dravet syndrome)
  • LGS (Lennox-Gastaut syndrome)

Dravet syndrome is a rare and drug-resistant form of epilepsy that starts during infancy and accumulates morbidity that impacts individuals throughout their lifetime(34).

Meanwhile, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome is a severe form of epilepsy characterized by recurring seizures early in life. Individuals with such a condition have a higher risk of death than their peers of the same age due to injuries from falls or poorly controlled seizures(35).

A 2020 study from the Journal of Korean Medical Science examined the efficacy and safety of CBD in Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome(36).

The study analyzed 34 patients in the LGS group and ten patients in the DS group between 1.2 to 15.8 years.

The researchers administered CBD orally at a starting dose of 5mg per day. They maintained the dosage at 10mg daily.

Their findings showed that CBD may be safe and tolerable for use and may be expected to potentially reduce seizure frequency in pediatric patients with DS or LS(37).

Still, it is best to talk with a pediatrician versed in cannabis use if you are considering using CBD for any medical condition your children may have.

This way, these experts can give you an accurate dosage and even advise you regarding possible risks and side effects.

How Long Does CBD Take to Help Kids?

How long CBD takes to help children depends on their medical condition, the route of administration used, and several other factors like body weight and CBD potency.

Remember that most CBD brands do not distinguish between CBD oil for children and adults.

Hence, it is crucial to talk with a pediatrician experienced in cannabis use. These experts can advise you regarding the correct administration method and CBD potency for your child’s specific condition.

Generally, CBD takes effect within 30 to 90 minutes via the ingestion route(38). Meanwhile, the onset of CBD when taken topically is between 15 and 30 minutes(39).

How Long Will CBD Help Kids?

How long CBD lasts after it starts to help kids may depend on the compound’s bioavailability and half-life.

Bioavailability is the extent to which a particular substance becomes completely available in one’s system(40).

CBD topicals like creams and lotions have zero bioavailability because they do not enter the bloodstream(41).

Instead, CB2 receptors in the skin take up the compound. Cannabidiol is then absorbed locally to provide pain relief and reduce inflammation in a specific body area(42).

Meanwhile, the half-life is the time it takes for a drug concentration to decrease to 50% of its starting dose in the body(43).

About 90% of a given substance will have undergone elimination after an estimated 3.3 half-lives. Furthermore, 94% and 97% of a drug will have been removed following four to five half-lives(44).

A 2018 systematic review from Frontiers in Pharmacology mentioned that the half-life of CBD was between 1.4 and 10.9 hours following oromucosal spray use and two to five days after chronic oral administration(45).

Nevertheless, patient age is a vital factor in determining the accurate half-life. The drug metabolism of geriatric and pediatric patients can significantly differ from a healthy middle-aged adult(46).

How to Look for the Best CBD Oil Product for Your Kids

The production of CBD oil involves several steps. When purchasing CBD oil for children, make sure to choose high-quality CBD products from reputable brands.

Here are a few pertinent details you should consider to help you find the best CBD oil product for your children:

  1. Source of Hemp

Purchase CBD products from domestic farmers who grow non-GMO organic hemp plants.

  1. Extraction Method

Extraction methods utilizing butane and hexane may leave harmful residues(47). Carbon dioxide, ethanol, or solvent extraction are preferred to create a safe CBD product.

The carbon dioxide (CO2) extraction technique uses compressed CO2 as the extraction solvent, avoiding the use of flammable and toxic chemical solvents(48).

  1. CBD Extracts   

CBD extracts can be categorized as full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolates(49).  

Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all compounds of the cannabis plant. Its THC content, however, is less than 0.3%.

Broad-spectrum CBD oil is nearly the same as the full-spectrum type. However, it is nearly THC-free. Meanwhile, CBD isolates come from pure CBD.

  1. Third-Party Testing and Lab Test Results   

Before purchasing any CBD product, you should determine the amount of CBD and THC it contains.

Visit the company’s webpage and look for the certificates of analysis (COAs) to verify the accuracy of the declared CBD potency and concentration.

The CBD brand you choose should also enlist the services of a third-party lab to test all its products.

The COAs and lab reports are necessary to ensure no pesticides, additives, heavy metals, or other residual substances are left from the manufacturing process.

Always compare whether the figures stated in the COAs align with the values indicated in the lab reports. Check for labeling issues and make sure to buy quality products only.

  1. Carrier Oils  

Oil-based CBD tinctures are made by infusing extracted concentrates derived from hemp or cannabis into a carrier oil. Such oils include olive oil, coconut oil, MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil, and hempseed oil(50).

Remember that hempseed oil is different from hemp oil. Hemp oil (sometimes called CBD oil) comes from the leaves and flowers of hemp plants, while hempseed oil is made from the pressed seeds of hemp plants.

Although hempseed oil does not contain CBD, it is rich in nutrients and fatty acids(51).

Is CBD Safe for Kids?

According to the WHO (World Health Organization), CBD is relatively safe and is generally well tolerated in humans and animals(52).

CBD topical products are not absorbed into the body, unlike other forms. Thus, the use of topicals may be safer, considering how little is known about CBD’s long-term safety(53).

The Potential Risks and Side Effects of Using CBD for Kids’ Health

CBD may carry some risks and induce side effects, including(54):

Another cause for concern is the probability of drug interactions when CBD is taken alongside other medications.

For children with anxiety, the medication of choice are antidepressants, particularly serotonin reuptake inhibitors(55).

Reuptake inhibitors increase the supply of neurotransmitters in the brain by blocking their rapid destruction and re-absorption.

Benzodiazepines are other treatments used for children with anxiety disorders(56).

Although benzodiazepines provide short-term relief only, they can reduce intense anxiety in children who are suffering and in distress(57).

Antidepressants and benzodiazepines use the cytochrome P450 enzyme system and may interact with CBD(58).

Cytochrome P450 is a family of liver enzymes that metabolizes about 60% of the pharmaceutical substances people consume. CBD at high doses may inhibit these enzymes, increasing the prescription drugs’ effect and duration of action(59).

However, there is no standard cut-off dose to avoid such interactions because each drug has its unique threshold for CBD sensitivity. Additionally, the ECS of each person is different(60).

For these reasons, you need to work with your children’s pediatrician to monitor the blood levels of their medications while taking CBD.

Legality of CBD

The United States Congress ratified the 2018 Farm Bill, decriminalizing the commercial use of industrial hemp and products obtained from hemp plants(61).

The Farm Bill indicates that Cannabis sativa L. and other derivatives of cannabis with less than 0.3% THC content on a dry weight basis are deemed legal under federal law(62).

Still, it would be best to learn more about various state laws regarding CBD use, especially if you want to administer it to your child. For instance, marijuana use is legal in Colorado.

The Colorado government legalized the use of marijuana by passing Amendment 64 to the Colorado Constitution(63).

In New York, adults 21 years and older can purchase up to three ounces of cannabis flower and 24 grams of concentrated cannabis (edibles like CBD gummies, oils, tinctures, and vapes)(64). However, they can only buy cannabis products from a state-licensed dispensary.


  1. How can CBD help kids?

There is insufficient research on how CBD can help children. However, a study in Korea suggested that CBD may help with severe forms of epilepsy by reducing seizure frequency in pediatric patients(65).

The researchers also hypothesized that CBD may be safe and tolerable for use in children.

  1. What evidence or research exists to say that CBD helps with kids?

A study from the Permanente Journal suggested that the use of CBD oil helped reduce anxiety and improve sleep in a young girl with PTSD(66).

  1. Is there any evidence that CBD is bad for kids?

No specific research or anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD may worsen a child’s medical condition. Still, CBD may induce some side effects, such as diarrhea(67).

  1. Will CBD interact with any current medication that kids may be taking?

Yes. If your child suffers from anxiety, antidepressants and benzodiazepines may interact with CBD(68).

  1. Are there other treatments I should consider alongside CBD for my child?

It depends on your child’s medical condition. If they suffer from depression or anxiety, staying healthy is crucial in managing their symptoms(69).

Children must have a healthy eating plan, regular physical activity, and sufficient sleep. Practicing relaxation techniques or mindfulness meditation is also helpful(70).

Antidepressants are also common medications for anxiety(71). Still, it is best to talk with your child’s pediatrician if you consider using antidepressants alongside CBD.

  1. Can kids fail a drug test if they use CBD? 

Yes. Some CBD products, like full-spectrum CBD oil, have traces of THC that may build up in the body when taken frequently(72). An increased THC level in the bloodstream may result in a positive drug test.

Therefore, caution is advised if your child needs to undergo a drug test after taking full-spectrum CBD. Make sure to discuss with your healthcare provider whether it is okay for children to take full-spectrum CBD oil.

  1. What is the CBD dosage for kids?

There is no standard CBD dosage for children. However, doses between 50mg and 800mg of CBD per day may help with epilepsy or seizure disorders(73).

  1. What are the benefits of CBD oil for children?

CBD has purported health benefits, such as pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties(74-75).

Strep throat, common among children, is associated with painful or swollen neck glands(76). CBD’s therapeutic effects may help children with such a condition.

Still, most human research, such as the one cited above, is on adults. More research on CBD use in children is warranted.

  1. What is the best way to use CBD for children?

The sublingual (under the tongue) route is a fast-acting solution with a 15 to 30-minute onset(77).

Children averse to the natural grassy taste of CBD may also take it through consuming flavored CBD gummies.

  1. What are the potential adverse side effects of CBD on kids?

CBD may induce minor side effects, such as fatigue and reduced appetite(78).

  1. Is CBD safe for children?

The WHO states that CBD is generally safe for use in humans(79). Still, more research on CBD use in children is needed.

  1. Is it legal to administer CBD to children?

According to the 2018 Farm Bill, cannabis derivatives with less than 0.3% of THC on a dry weight basis are federally legal in the U.S(80).

Still, it is best to learn about individual state laws to determine if giving CBD to children is legal in your state.

  1. Cannabis (Marijuana) and Cannabinoids: What You Need To Know
  2. Cannabidiol (CBD)-What We Know and What We Don’t,falling%20asleep%20and%20staying%20asleep.
  3. Cannabis, a Complex Plant: Different Compounds and Different Effects on Individuals
  4. An Introduction to the Endogenous Cannabinoid System
  5. The Endocannabinoid System, Our Universal Regulator
  6. Ibid.
  7. Cannabinoids and Pain: New Insights From Old Molecules
  8. Lower Circulating Endocannabinoid Levels in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
  9. Autism Spectrum Disorder,and%20repetitive%20patterns%20of%20behavior.
  10. Lower Circulating Endocannabinoid Levels in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
  11. The Endocannabinoid System, Our Universal Regulator
  12. A Systematic Review of the Effects of Oleoylethanolamide, a High-Affinity Endogenous Ligand of Ppar-α, on the Management and Prevention of Obesity
  13. Palmitoylethanolamide for the Treatment of Pain: Pharmacokinetics, Safety and Efficacy
  14. Lower Circulating Endocannabinoid Levels in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
  15. Circulating Endocannabinoids: From Whence Do They Come and Where are They Going?
  16. Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report
  17. Cannabidiol (CBD)
  18. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Children
  19. Cannabinoids in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Randomised-Controlled Trial
  20. Divergent Effects of Cannabidiol on the Discriminative Stimulus and Place Conditioning Effects of 9-Tetrahydrocannabinol
  21. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety and Mood Disorders: Molecular Targets and Epigenetic Insights from Preclinical Research
  22. Anxiety in Children
  23. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders
  24. Agonistic Properties of Cannabidiol at 5-HT1a Receptors
  25. CBD-Enriched Cannabis for Autism Spectrum Disorder: An Experience of a Single Center in Turkey and Reviews of the Literature,core%20symptoms%20and%20cognitive%20functions.
  26. Healing With CBD, page 189.
  27. Healing With CBD, page 207.
  28. Ibid.
  29. Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report
  30. Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report
  31. FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD)
  32. Ibid.
  33. FDA Approves First Drug Comprised of an Active Ingredient Derived from Marijuana to Treat Rare, Severe Forms of Epilepsy
  34. What is Dravet Syndrome?
  35. Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome
  36. Cannabidiol for Treating Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome in Korea
  37. Ibid.
  38. Healing With CBD, page 191.
  39. Healing With CBD, page 193.
  40. Drug Bioavailability
  41. Healing With CBD, page 210.
  42. Ibid.
  43. Half Life
  44. Ibid.
  45. A Systematic Review on the Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Humans,in%20humans%20is%20not%20sufficient.&text=The%20half%2Dlife%20of%20cannabidiol,and%2031%20h%20after%20smoking.
  46. Half Life
  47. Cannabidiol Primer for Healthcare Professionals
  48. Ibid.
  49. Cannabidiol Primer for Healthcare Professionals
  50. Healing With CBD, page 205.
  51. Hemp Seed Oil Properties
  52. Cannabidiol (CBD)
  53. How to Safely Use CBD: Should You Inhale, Spray, Apply, or Eat It?
  54. What Are the Benefits of CBD — And Is It Safe to Use?’s%20often%20well%2Dtolerated,dosage%20of%20CBD%20in%20products.
  55. Best Medications for Kids With Anxiety
  56. Ibid.
  57. Ibid.
  58. Healing With CBD, page 115.
  59. Healing With CBD, pages 114-115.
  60. Healing With CBD, page 115.
  61. H.R.2 – Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018
  62. FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD)
  63. Legal Marijuana Use in Colorado
  64. Social Equity and Responsible Access to Adult-Use Cannabis for New Yorkers Ages 21 and Over,anywhere%20smoking%20tobacco%20is%20prohibited.
  65. Cannabidiol for Treating Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome in Korea
  66. Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report
  67. What Are the Benefits of CBD — And Is It Safe to Use?’s%20often%20well%2Dtolerated,dosage%20of%20CBD%20in%20products.
  68. Healing With CBD, page 115.
  69. Anxiety and Depression in Children
  70. Ibid.
  71. Best Medications for Kids With Anxiety
  72. Can You Take CBD and Pass a Drug Test?
  73. CBD: A Patient’s Guide to Medicinal Cannabis, page 129.
  74. Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol
  75. Research Shows Pain-Relieving Effects of CBD
  76. What Is Strep Throat?
  77. Healing With CBD, page 207.
  78. What Are the Benefits of CBD — And Is It Safe to Use?’s%20often%20well%2Dtolerated,dosage%20of%20CBD%20in%20products.
  79. Cannabidiol (CBD)
  80. FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD)
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