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CBD, Anxiety & Families

Nearly two months ago, parents and their children were thrust into an unknown back to school season. Across the country and right here in Central New York, students have taken on hybrid learning in and outside of the classroom. Some school districts remain strictly online, while others have taken an in-person approach. Regardless of where your district stands, one thing that everyone can agree on, is the high-stress that so many are facing as we settle into this unknown school year.

The unprecedented times we are living in, combined with major life changes, have caused anxiety for everyone. Normal school sports are either not happening or postponed, play dates aren’t what they used to be, and even recess is different, if we want to get technical. Later this week, children across the country along with their parents will celebrate a different kind of Halloween and for some, the masks, the change in day-to-day life and the lack of social interaction, is just too much.

And with so much unknown, many adults are turning to cannabidiol (CBD) as a solution for both anxiety and stress relief.

The popularity of CBD mixed with its ability to alleviate feelings of fear, enhance your mood and help with relaxation make it all the more perfect product in times like these, but the bigger question is, can kids also reap the benefits?Before we can even tackle whether or not the effects of CBD are the same for children and adults, it’s safe to say that most parents want to know if it’s safe for children to consume.

Cannabis on its own is a controversial topic, but unlike its cousin THC, CBD is non-intoxicating and will not impair mental clarity or judgment. A report from the World Health Organization found that

“In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence… to date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

Multiple studies have also emerged with scientists stating that CBD regulates the production of serotonin. A 2019 study from the Journal of Neuroscience found that increased anandamide production (also known as the ‘bliss molecule’ that regulates emotions), guards against the effects of stress and reduces behavioral signs of anxiety and fear.

The potential effects of CBD vary greatly and because of that, experts have yet to say definitively whether CBD is safe for children. A 2019 Gallup poll found that 14 percent of more than 2500 Americans surveyed use CBD for pain, anxiety and sleep issues. But statistics for children are much harder to come by. An April 2019 article from the New York Times cites a survey of more than 500 parents and found that 40 percent had given CBD products to their children for behaviors related to autism.

Research however, has indicated that CBD has been an effective form of treatment of child epilepsy and behavioral conditions in children.

Consumer Reports published an article in February of 2019, citing personal experiences from parents and their children and the positive effects of CBD. And while little is known when it comes to CBD and children, the same story reports that overall research suggests that CBD has few side effects, especially compared with the powerful prescription medications sometimes used to treat serious childhood conditions.

Ultimately, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to CBD and that’s why experts agree that the best approach is to consult with your child’s physician for further guidance and supervision.