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Is CBD Safe for All Ages?



At a glance, when taking cannabidiol (CBD), age limits don't seem to be a necessary consideration. This is according to anecdotal evidence testifying to its safe use for everything and everyone under the sun. To a degree, this is also according to medical research. There's plenty of literature supporting the notion that CBD is efficacious and safe for use by children and adults of all ages. There is no easily traceable evidence that it has ever been tested in infants and babies.

The CBD Drug Kids Can Use

So far, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved one CBD drug for patients of all ages, and this is a so-called "pure" CBD extract. (Here, the law and medicine regulation are, unsurprisingly, contradicting each other, but read on for more about this.) [1]

The CBD Drug Kids Can Use

RELATED: Are All CBD Oils Legal in the USA? 

The drug is indicated for treating intractable epilepsy (Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes) in patients over the age of two years. Its safety and tolerability are well-established.

However, this doesn't mean it's harmless—the medicine is contraindicated for patients with severe hepatic (liver) impairment or disease, and those using it concomitantly with clobazam and valproate should titrate carefully. It also increased blood levels of rufinamide, topiramate, zonisamide, and eslicarbazepine, indicating that tests should also be done regularly and be carefully monitored by a physician. For these reasons and more, this CBD-based anti-epileptic is scheduled and should not be used by anyone without the supervision of a doctor. [2] [3]

Not all CBD products have been tested as stringently as this medicine for intractable epilepsy, and the industry is still largely under-regulated. Also, not much well-designed clinical research has been conducted for CBD's use by people of all ages, especially regarding long-term effects.

What Does Scientific Evidence Say?

What Does Scientific Evidence Say?

Yet the evidence so far is encouraging.

The alarming side effects of the first FDA-approved epilepsy drug were noted mostly in patients on a very high dose of CBD oil. Most people would normally not need to take such a quantity of the oil, nor for such a long period of time.

Furthermore, numerous promising studies have been conducted on subjects of a wide age range. Its efficacy and safety have been noted in a number of conditions already.

  • As noted, the cannabinoid has proven itself relatively safe for use in children and adults with severe epileptic conditions by a great number of studies. [4]
  • Its use has also been demonstrated in all-age human studies for the treatment of PTSD, depression, anxiety, and related disorders such as insomnia. [5] [6] [7] [8]
  • CBD also proved promising for the treatment of geriatric or age-related conditions, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, in a considerable number of animal and laboratory (preclinical) studies. Evidence points toward cannabinol's neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, but these still need to be confirmed in human/clinical studies. [9]

CBD proved promising for the treatment of geriatric or age-related conditions.

Is There an Age Restriction on Buying CBD?

CBD or cannabis oil extracted from cannabis cultivated for medical purposes can only be bought at state dispensaries and by adults over 21 years of age. However, CBD products are freely sold in health shops, cannabis boutiques, health markets, and smoke and vape stores in many states.

Most vape shops don't even allow children inside, though, and will probably not sell their products to them. This is an industry standard, as there's no law against selling vaping equipment to minors.

Online CBD is, of course, a free-for-all. If a child can get hold of their parents' account details, they can purchase CBD oil—though this is not advisable, of course.

Is There an Age Restriction on Buying CBD?

RELATED: Benefits of Using Organic CBD Oil 

What the Law Says about CBD Legality

Earlier, an opposition between the FDA and national law was mentioned. Explaining the 2017 Marijuana Extractions drug code, this is from their Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) website:

"For practical purposes, all extracts that contain CBD will also contain at least small amounts of other cannabinoids...However, if it were possible to produce from the cannabis plant an extract that contained only CBD and no other cannabinoids, such an extract would fall within the new drug code 7350. [Meaning such an extract would be legal - Ed.] In view of this comment, the regulatory text accompanying new drug code 7350 has been modified slightly to make clear that it includes cannabis extracts that contain only one cannabinoid. [10]

Although it might be theoretically possible to produce a CBD extract that contains absolutely no amounts of other cannabinoids, the DEA is not aware of any industrially-utilized methods that have achieved this result." [10]

So, the Department of Justice opines that no CBD extraction method has been shown to extract 100 percent pure cannabidiol and implies that any such extract's legality is therefore questionable. Yet in 2018, the FDA approved a drug which claims to be just that. [1]

What the Law Says about CBD Legality

RELATED: The Greatest Victory For Hemp: The New Farm Bill Signed Into Law! 

While this is a shaking-head-with-incredulity fact, the Farm Bill of 2018, with its news-making Industrial Hemp Act, has changed all this. Industrial hemp farming and production were declared legal (with regulation by the United States Department of Agriculture and the FDA), and all extracts from industrial hemp were removed from the DEA list of Controlled Substances.

Industrial hemp is cannabis with less than .3 percent THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid.

While all farmers are required to comply with the USDA's Hemp Production Program, the law made provision for early adopters who are currently farming and producing hemp products for commercial purposes.

The situation regarding CBD regulation is a bit more complicated but still encouraging, according to Angelique Moss, writing for The Policy:

"The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made it clear the hemp-derived CBD comes under its purview. Currently, the FDA does allow for the production of hemp-derived CBD but admits that the process needs to be streamlined. However, the guidelines are clear enough that companies operating in states, that have completed the regulatory process for hemp, can introduce products containing hemp-derived CBD for interstate commerce. In addition, it should be understood that CBD with zero THC derived from specific parts of the hemp plant are already fully legal though they must still comply with FDA product guidelines." [11]

She also notes that until the FDA provides more specific guidance, hemp-derived CBD must comply with existing guidelines for related substances. This includes abstaining from making any health-related claims and avoiding stating that CBD has medicinal value on their marketing material.

So, the scene is busy changing in the U.S. for industrial hemp and derivatives, but whether a legal CBD age limit will be introduced at some point remains to be seen.

Sources:

  1. https://www.fda.gov/newsevents/newsroom/pressannouncements/ucm611046.htm
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/epi.13060
  3. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/epi.13852
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1043661816301797
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5101100/
  6. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2016.00454/full
  7. https://www.nature.com/articles/npp20116
  8. https://www.beyondthc.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Tringale-Jensen-20111.pdf
  9. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2017.00020/full
  10. https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/fed_regs/rules/2016/fr1214.htm
  11. https://thepolicy.us/the-2018-farm-bill-leads-to-big-cbd-opportunities-in-2019-9f75a1dc4b39

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