In the teenage years, your hormones are all over the place and so is the world around you, especially the last couple of years. This is why adolescence is the time when mental health issues often arise. Until recently, the only option for parents of teens was to send their teen to a therapist or doctor to prescribe medication. Now, many parents are looking for alternative options, such as CBD. Can CBD help your teen with mental health issues?
The number of teens experiencing mental health issues is increasing. In 2019, 1 in 3 teens experienced depression and 1 in 6 made a suicide plan. While the Covid pandemic may be partly to blame, this increase has been steady over the years.
The typical course of action for teen depression is to prescribe medication. But many parents are reluctant to give their teen medications because of side effects and concerns about pharmaceuticals. Plus, getting a teen to take medication is sometimes difficult.
CBD are one natural and safe option parents of teenagers are researching. It has a lot of potential and the risks of side effects from taking CBD are much lower than certain prescription medications. So. the question is, can CBD help your teen with mental health issues? And is it safe for kids to use CBD?
Is CBD safe for kids and teens?
Unfortunately, there is not a ton of data on the safety and efficacy of CBD in children. Although it has a good safety profile and is generally well-tolerated, we just don’t know enough about its use in children. We do know that CBD is nearly impossible to overdose on and that there is no evidence that it could be abused or create dependence.
The AAP has recognized that CBD (and medical marijuana) may be an option for children with life-limiting conditions or severe disabilities, but it has not yet supported its use in general for children. Stating, "There’s never been a study of cannabinoids in any form that has included children. With that in mind, the AAP cannot endorse use of cannabinoid medication with children.” However, they do agree that the research looks promising.
Before you make the decision on giving your child or teenager CBD, it’s best to talk the risks and benefits over with your pediatrician. But, the general consensus is that CBD is safe, we just don’t have research studies to verify its safety in children.
CBD’s Potential Mental Health Benefits for Teenagers
CBD has been used by adults to help with anxiety. We aren’t sure why CBD helps with anxiety, but some research suggests that it may increase serotonin chemicals in your brain, similar to the way certain antidepressant medications affect serotonin.
In one study, researchers in Japan studied 37 teens. The teens were given CBD or a placebo. Researchers noted a significant decrease in anxiety in the teens that were given CBD. They also stated that CBD could be useful for treating anxiety.
The effect CBD has on serotonin may alleviate depression symptoms as well. And, when you combine it with the overall health benefits, it may be an effective natural way to manage your teenager’s depression.
CBD may help with autism
CBD may be beneficial for children with autism. Although there have only been a few studies, some studies suggest that CBD may improve symptoms of autism. Researchers in Israel found that CBD oil significantly improved problematic symptoms and communication in 80% of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
CBD may help with epilepsy
Treatment of children with epilepsy was one of the first talked about use of cannabis in children. Researchers have found that CBD can reduce seizures by half. In one study, the average number of seizures among those who took CBD was cut down from 12 a month to around 6 a month.
CBD may help teens sleep better
Teenagers need 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night, but they rarely get that. With school, homework, extracurricular activities, and sometimes part-time jobs, it’s no wonder teens have problems sleeping. CBD may help teens to sleep better. Researchers believe that CBD helps lower cortisol levels. Higher cortisol levels are associated with stress and insomnia. By reducing cortisol teens may get more sleep and better quality sleep.
What type of CBD is best for teens?
When it comes to the types of CBD there are a wide variety of CBD products available. For teenagers though, the best type is the one that they will take. While CBD oil is often recommended for teens, some parents find CBD gummies are easier to use. However, CBD oil can be added to food or beverages if they don’t like the taste of CBD oil. Or they could even swap their Starbucks habit for some CBD coffee.
When you start using any CBD product, it’s best to start with the lowest recommended dosage. Since most CBD products are dosed for adults, figuring out the best dosage might take some experimenting. However, you should start with the lowest dose possible, and gradually increase the dose.
What is the recommended CBD dosage for kids and teens?
One suggested guideline comes from the Journal of Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Parents reportedly used an oral CBD dosage of 0.5 mg/kg/day to 28.6 mg/kg/day to treat their child with epilepsy. As you can see, there is a lot of variation in the dosage. Starting with a low dose of around 7-10 mg would be appropriate for a 40 lb child.
What parents should know about CBD?
It is important that you talk to your teen’s doctor before using CBD. While CBD is considered safe, your doctor may have advice on dosage or provide other recommendations. If your child is taking a prescription medication, you will need to talk to their doctor before making any changes to their medication.
Your teen may be able to wean off of prescription medications or switch to CBD, but this should only be done under the care of a doctor. Suddenly stopping a prescription medication can cause significant issues - like suicidal thoughts, and increased depression and anxiety.