If you’re intrigued by the anecdotal evidence and wondering what the harm is in trying this trendy stuff out on your sleep-deprived or anxious child, we don’t blame you. And there’s at least one case study that suggests the therapeutic benefit of CBD in children; this one from 2016, which details a 10-year-old girl who suffered from PTSD-related anxiety and insomnia and found her symptoms improved by CBD treatment. What’s more, there’s a pretty strong consensus among reputable sources that pure CBD does not pose serious, acute health risks. The World Health Organization’s critical review concludes that “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.” But don’t go rushing to the health food store yet. The WHO report is helpful in furthering research efforts, but you should probably leave the clinical trials to the scientists, most doctors agree.
We checked in with clinical psychologist Dr. Bethany Cook (author of For What It's Worth: A Perspective on How to Thrive and Survive Parenting Ages 0-2) as to what she thought about the use of CBD for pediatric patients with anxiety. Bottom line: She encourages parents to consult a pediatrician before exploring alternative therapies like CBD, acknowledging that CBD could be a useful part of a pediatric anxiety treatment plan because of its ability to produce “decreased physiological responses” but agrees that “much research still needs to be done to understand all the potential pros and cons.”
We confirmed this with Dr. Dyan Hes (medical director and founder of Gramercy Pediatrics), who agrees that it’s best not to start experimenting with relatively unknown remedies. Dr. Hes reminds parents that, aside from the “one FDA approved THC based drug, Epidiolex, for use in specific types of seizures in children over age 2 years…no other CBD oils on the market have been tested in a rigorous scientific manner in children.” Plus, because the promising early evidence is too new to provide insight on long-term effects, “we do not know how CBD would interact with other medications or affect the growing brain.”