Can CBD Help Children Struggling with Pediatric Anxiety?
Anxiety disorders are incredibly common and can manifest themselves in many forms. An estimated 40 million or more adults suffer from some form of anxiety, just in the United States alone. In addition, studies show that one of eight children suffer from anxiety as well. Of these children, 80 percent are not getting the treatment they need, or are completely undiagnosed.
Naturally, many parents are hesitant to give their children heavy pharmaceutical drugs, which often can cause adverse side effects, both short- and long-term. Because of this, alternative therapies are on the rise. One of the most popular alternative therapies is CBD.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the two main cannabinoids present in marijuana and hemp plants, the other being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive and produces no psychological effects. Plus, unlike commercial pharmaceuticals, CBD has no adverse side effects.
How does CBD Work?
Both CBD and THC work within the body alongside a widespread regulatory system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is comprised of a multitude of receptors located all throughout the body. CBD and THC primarily interact with two receptors: CB1 and CB2.
CB1 receptors primarily are located within the brain and nervous system, while CB2 receptors mostly are found in the immune system. Both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, along with the other receptors in the ECS, can be activated either by the body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids, or by cannabinoids such as CBD and THC.
However, unlike THC, CBD does not directly bind to these receptors. This is why CBD is not psychoactive. Instead, CBD simply stimulates the body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids to activate the receptors, encouraging them to do more of what they normally do.
Essentially, this allows CBD to work within the body and bring it back to health from the inside out.
How does CBD Support Pediatric Anxiety?
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Fort Collins, Colorado and published in the Fall 2016 issue of the Permanente Journal documented a 10-year-old girl’s experience with treating anxiety with CBD. After several severe traumatic incidents, the girl was left with severe PTSD. She also developed severe anxiety as well as insomnia.
In the study, she was given liquid CBD every morning and night for 12 weeks. Her anxiety and other symptoms were monitored by the psychiatrist who assisted with the study. Her family also helped monitor her behavior outside of the clinical setting. The CBD provided astounding results, with near immediate relief.
Reports said that almost immediately after administering the CBD, the child was calmer and better able to function throughout the day. She began completing her school work, something she previously had been not only unable to do, but completely disinterested in. Plus, she began engaging more with her family and the researchers conducting the study.
The CBD also significantly improved her insomnia. By monitoring her sleep, researchers discovered she remained in a deeper state of REM throughout the night, with few to no periods of restlessness or alertness. After the initial 12 weeks, she was sleeping the normal six to eight hours each night.
CBD is thought to be so effective for treating anxiety and its related symptoms because of the way it interacts with neurotransmission in integral areas of the brain. Plus, as noted above, CBD stimulates CB1 receptors, which primarily are found in the brain. This allows CBD to have a naturally anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effect.
Other Anxiety Disorders CBD Supports
Not only can CBD help provide significant relief for pediatric anxiety, it can support a number of other anxiety disorders as well, including:
- Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Social anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
In addition, studies have shown CBD to be valuable for those struggling with depression and other mental health issues.
How to Properly Dose CBD
When it comes to dosing CBD, there is no one-size-fits-all. It’s important to find the ideal balance for you or your child, which may mean some trial and error. Although there is no one specific dosage, a few guidelines can help determine the best dosage for you or your child.
1. Smart small.
When you or your child first starts taking CBD, it’s important to remember to start small. This allows the body to adjust to the nutrient as well as laying the foundation for determining the proper dosage. Begin with the smallest recommended dosage of whichever high-quality CBD product you purchase.
While the effects may not be felt immediately, it’s important to maintain the initial dosage for at least three to seven days. You may find relief after your body has been given a few days to adjust. By maintaining the dosage for a few days before changing it, you can more efficiently utilize your CBD supply.
3. Increase slowly.
If you or your child find no relief after maintaining the initial dosage for a few days, then it may be necessary to increase the dosage. Only increase the dosage slightly, as that may be all that’s needed to achieve the desired effects. For example, if the initial dosage is 10mg per day, then you can increase it to 15mg.
The most important thing to remember is CBD is a nutrient and its effects vary for each individual. For some, the relief may be instant and powerful, while for others it takes time and the effects are more subtle. Some people report having to take CBD for upward of a month before feeling serious relief, similar to many commercial medications.
The way CBD is able to work within the body and provide natural relief is appealing to more and more consumers as they search for alternative therapies to commercial pharmaceuticals. Though more conclusive research is needed before anything is scientifically proven, the evidence surrounding CBD’s ability to support pediatric anxiety, among several other anxiety disorders, is compelling.