The way that CBD acts on the brain makes it a good candidate for controlling seizures caused by other conditions too. The Epilepsy Foundation said that early evidence from animal studies, anecdotal reports and small clinical trials suggest that CBD could potentially help with seizures. Dozens of trials are underway to test if, why and how CBD might work for kids and adults suffering from seizures of various kinds.
Priscilla Batista is stuck at home in Charlotte, N.C., with a highly emotional 4-year-old.“Every toddler obviously is emotional, but she’s a pretty constant, volatile child,” she said. “It doesn’t allow her to focus. She’s just struggling.” Batista doesn’t yet have an official diagnosis for her daughter, but, suspecting an attention deficit disorder, she has turned to CBD (cannabidiol) for help.
Hints of help
“The labels aren’t always right,” said Hazekamp. “If you try it, make sure it is what you think it is.”
Batista said her daughter’s doctors told her to be careful with CBD and didn’t recommend it.
No silver bullets
Kelly Cervantes, a mother and health activist in Chicago, gave CBD to her daughter Adelaide, who suffered from an unidentified neurodegenerative condition with severe infantile spasms. “We were desperate, and we wanted to try anything we could,” said Cervantes. That was when her daughter was about a year and a half old, and before Epidiolex, so she says she got the product online rather than though her doctor. Sadly, Adelaide’s symptoms got worse. “It entirely depends on the child. There is no one pill, one oil, one treatment that is going to cure everyone,” she said.
Virtually everything we consume can cause side effects or become toxic in high doses. CBD is no different. CBD oil may produce significant side effects that may be similar to the conditions you’re trying to treat.
CBD oil can also affect liver function and interact with certain medications your child is taking. This is especially important to know if your child is taking medications or supplements with a “grapefruit warning,” as both interfere with some of the enzymes your body needs to metabolize drugs.
CBD has become very popular as a treatment for certain ailments—including some that occur in children. It’s purported benefits include helping people with sleep issues, anxiety, attention problems and even more serious matters like aiding children suffering from epilepsy.
Although CBD does have potential benefits for seizures, pain syndromes and nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, it is still a drug and should be used cautiously. The most research done on CBD is for its use in treating epilepsy, while studies for other conditions have been largely anecdotal.
Myth: CBD doesn’t have side effects.
From online dispensaries to health food stores and even some retail pharmacies like CVS, cannabidiol, better known as CBD, can be found just about everywhere these days.
“There was a study done at New York University that showed this,” said Tamara Zach, MD, a pediatric neurologist at Banner Children’s Specialists Neurology Clinic in Glendale, AZ. “Your child can be getting a very high dose one month and a very low dose the next without you knowing it.”
While the market is flooded with CBD oils and tinctures, it’s important to know that not all of them are created equal. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate CBD products in the same way they regulate drugs or dietary supplements, which means the quality, potency and amount of CBD contained in any product really can depend on the source—even identical bottles from the same manufacturer can have very different doses of CBD oil.
Myth: Hemp seed oil and CBD are the same.
“There is no known literature, to my knowledge, regarding CBD oil for autism and ADHD,” Dr. Zach said. “There are adult self-reported studies, but they haven’t conclusively shown benefit. There are studies and clinical trials looking at CBD/THC for autism, but there has been no definite recommendation.”
It is very dangerous to start your child on a treatment that is unproven. Talk to your child’s provider first regarding risk and benefits before adding CBD oil to your child’s medication regimen.