Is CBD Safe for Teens?

June 30, 2024
By Arch Recovery Center
Uncover the truth: Is CBD safe for teens? Explore expert opinions, safety concerns, and long-term effects in this informative article.

Understanding CBD for Teens

To assess the safety of CBD for teenagers, it's important to have a clear understanding of what CBD is and how it differs from THC.

What is CBD?

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, another well-known compound found in cannabis, CBD does not produce psychoactive effects or the feeling of being "high". CBD is typically derived from hemp, which is a variety of cannabis with low THC levels.

CBD interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system (eCBS), a complex network of receptors and neurotransmitters involved in regulating various physiological functions. CBD primarily influences cannabinoid receptors, specifically CB1 and CB2 receptors. This interaction may help modulate functions such as pain sensation, inflammation, mood, and more.

CBD vs. THC

While both CBD and THC are compounds found in cannabis, they have distinct differences. THC is well-known for its psychoactive properties, which can lead to alterations in perception, mood, and cognition. In contrast, CBD does not produce these psychoactive effects. This makes CBD an attractive option for those seeking potential therapeutic benefits without the mind-altering effects associated with THC.

The primary difference between CBD and THC lies in their interactions with the eCBS receptors. CBD is believed to have a low affinity for CB1 receptors, which are mainly found in the brain and central nervous system, contributing to its lack of psychoactive effects. THC, on the other hand, binds strongly to CB1 receptors, leading to the characteristic psychoactive effects.

It's important to note that the legal status and regulations surrounding CBD and THC vary across different jurisdictions. In many places, CBD products derived from hemp with low THC levels are legally available, while THC-containing products may have stricter regulations.

Understanding the distinctions between CBD and THC is essential when evaluating the safety and potential effects of CBD products, specifically for teenagers. By focusing on CBD's non-psychoactive properties and its interaction with the eCBS, we can explore the safety considerations and risks associated with CBD use among teens.

Safety Concerns and Risks

When considering the safety of CBD use for teenagers, it is important to be aware of potential concerns and risks. This section will explore three key aspects: CBD interactions with medications, the legal status of CBD for teens, and potential side effects.

CBD Interactions with Medications

CBD has the potential to interact with certain medications, as it can affect the way the body metabolizes drugs. This can lead to potentially adverse effects or reduced effectiveness of medications. It is crucial to consult with healthcare professionals to determine if there are any potential interactions between CBD and other medications the teenager may be taking.

CBD can hinder the activity of liver enzymes, which can impact the metabolism of various pharmaceuticals. This can result in adverse reactions when CBD is taken with medications such as steroids, antihistamines, antidepressants, and beta blockers. Additionally, CBD can increase the level of blood thinning and other medicines in the bloodstream by competing for liver enzymes that break down these drugs. It is essential to exercise caution and seek medical advice when considering CBD use alongside other medications. Regular monitoring and discussion with healthcare professionals are crucial to ensuring safety.

Legal Status of CBD for Teens

The legal status of CBD for teenagers varies depending on the jurisdiction. In the United States, CBD derived from hemp with less than 0.3% THC is federally legal. However, it is important to note that individual states may have their own regulations regarding the legal age and permissible uses of CBD [1]. It is essential to familiarize oneself with the specific laws and regulations in the relevant jurisdiction to ensure compliance.

Potential Side Effects

Like any substance, CBD can have potential side effects. While CBD is generally considered to be well-tolerated, some individuals may experience adverse reactions. Common side effects may include fatigue, diarrhea, changes in appetite, and dry mouth. These side effects are typically mild and transient, but it is important to be aware of them [3].

Furthermore, there are concerns about the potential risks of substance abuse and addiction associated with CBD oil, particularly when used on developing brains. CBD interacts with the brain's reward system and may contribute to addictive behaviors among users, especially when used by teenagers. It is crucial to exercise caution and closely monitor teenagers using CBD products, especially for long-term use.

Understanding these safety concerns and risks associated with CBD use for teens is essential for making informed decisions. Consulting with healthcare professionals, being aware of legal regulations, and monitoring potential side effects are all crucial aspects when considering the use of CBD by teenagers.

Expert Opinions on CBD Use

When considering the safety of CBD use for teens, it's important to take into account the opinions of experts in the field. Let's explore what the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), healthcare providers, and existing research have to say about CBD in relation to teenagers.

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has expressed concerns about the potential risks of using CBD oil in children and teenagers. They warn that CBD can interact with other medications, cause liver damage, impair cognitive function, and increase the risk of addiction [4]. The AAP advises caution and recommends close monitoring when considering CBD use in this age group.

Healthcare Providers' Recommendations

Healthcare providers, including Dr. Bonni Goldstein, medical director at Canna-Centers Wellness & Education in California, recommend caution when using CBD oil in children and teenagers. They emphasize the importance of close collaboration with healthcare professionals to monitor any potential side effects or interactions with other medications. Consulting with a healthcare provider can help ensure that CBD use is appropriate and safe for teens.

Research on CBD Safety

While research on CBD is ongoing, there is still a lack of comprehensive studies specifically focused on the safety of CBD use in teenagers. Dr. Orrin Devinsky from NYU Langone Health believes that there is promise for using CBD oil to treat certain types of epilepsy in children, but he stresses the need for further research to determine its safety and effectiveness before making any definitive recommendations [4].

Existing studies have shown that regular use of CBD oil can impair cognitive functions, lead to mood disorders, and increase the risk of developing psychosis in young individuals with a family history of mental illness. Additionally, CBD oil may pose risks such as substance abuse and addiction, particularly when used on developing brains due to its interaction with the brain's reward system, potentially leading to addictive behaviors among users [4].

Considering the potential risks and limited research available, it is crucial to approach CBD use for teens with caution. Consulting with healthcare providers and closely monitoring any potential side effects or interactions with other medications is essential. Further research is needed to fully understand the long-term effects and safety of CBD use in teenagers.

Long-Term Effects of CBD

As the use of CBD becomes more prevalent among teenagers, concerns regarding its long-term effects on adolescent health and development arise. While CBD has shown potential therapeutic benefits for various conditions, it's essential to examine the impact it may have on the growing brains of teenagers.

Impact on Adolescent Brains

Research on the long-term effects of CBD specifically on adolescent brains is still limited, making it challenging to draw definitive conclusions about its impact on their health and development. The endocannabinoid system, which CBD interacts with, plays a crucial role in modulating neurodevelopment, including the reward and stress systems [5]. Therefore, the potential effects of CBD on the developing brains of teenagers require further exploration.

Lack of Research Studies

The current body of research on the safety and efficacy of CBD for teenagers is limited. While studies have been conducted on CBD's therapeutic potential, they often involve adult participants or focus on specific medical conditions. Consequently, the specific long-term effects of CBD use in teenagers remain unclear.

Cognitive Impairment Risks

Studies have shown that regular use of CBD oil can impair cognitive functions, lead to mood disorders, and increase the risk of developing psychosis in young people with a family history of mental illness. Regular cannabis use in adolescence, which includes CBD, has been associated with cognitive impairment in various domains, including attention, processing speed, verbal learning and memory, and executive functioning [5]. This suggests that CBD may have the potential to affect cognitive abilities critical for learning and development.

It is worth noting that CBD oil may pose risks such as substance abuse and addiction, particularly when used on developing brains. Its interaction with the brain's reward system may lead to addictive behaviors among users. This emphasizes the importance of exercising caution and considering the potential risks associated with CBD use in teenagers.

Given the limited research available and the potential risks associated with CBD use in teenagers, it is crucial for healthcare professionals, parents, and teenagers themselves to approach CBD use cautiously. Monitoring the long-term effects and staying informed about the latest research findings is essential to make informed decisions regarding CBD use in teenagers.

CBD Industry Insights

As the popularity of CBD continues to rise, it is important to understand the growth, availability, and challenges within the CBD industry.

Growth and Availability

The CBD industry has experienced significant growth in recent years. In 2020, it is estimated to reach a value of $2.1 billion, with a wide range of products available on the market. These products include tinctures, edibles, sprays, vaping liquids, capsules, gels, hand lotions, and shampoos.

FDA-Approved CBD Drug

In June 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a drug called Epidiolex. This medication is based on cannabidiol derived from marijuana and is used to treat seizures in rare forms of epilepsy. However, it is important to note that this FDA approval is specific to Epidiolex and does not apply to other CBD products [2].

Quality Assurance Challenges

One of the significant challenges within the CBD industry is the lack of regulation and oversight. CBD products are primarily marketed and sold as supplements, rather than medications. As a result, the FDA does not regulate the safety and purity of dietary supplements, including CBD products. This lack of regulation makes it difficult to know the exact ingredients and concentrations in CBD products.

To ensure the quality and contents of CBD products, independent laboratory testing is recommended. This testing can provide reassurance regarding the product's safety and purity. It is crucial for consumers to choose reputable brands with transparent manufacturing processes and third-party testing to ensure the quality and reliability of the CBD products they purchase.

While CBD shows promise in managing conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain, it is important to note that the effective doses are not yet well-defined. Without sufficient high-quality evidence from human studies, it is challenging to pinpoint precise and effective doses for different conditions. Additionally, the unregulated nature of CBD supplements makes it difficult to know exactly what you are getting [3].

It is crucial to approach CBD products with caution and seek guidance from healthcare professionals. The lack of regulation and quality control within the CBD industry underscores the need for further research, standardization, and oversight to ensure the safety and efficacy of CBD products.

Recommendations and Considerations

When it comes to CBD use for teens, there are several important recommendations and considerations to keep in mind. These factors can help ensure the safety and well-being of teenagers who may be considering CBD as a potential option for various health concerns.

Dosage and Usage Guidance

Determining the appropriate dosage and usage of CBD for teens is crucial. It's important to note that there is a lack of sufficient high-quality evidence in human studies to pinpoint effective doses. Therefore, it is advisable for teenagers to consult with healthcare professionals experienced in CBD use to get personalized guidance.

Healthcare professionals can provide tailored recommendations based on various factors like the teen's age, weight, specific health concerns, and potential interactions with any medications they may be taking. Following professional advice can help ensure that teenagers use CBD in a safe and appropriate manner.

Importance of Regulation

One significant safety concern with CBD is that it is primarily marketed and sold as a supplement, not a medication. The FDA does not regulate the safety and purity of dietary supplements, including CBD products [3]. This lack of regulation makes it challenging to know the ingredients and concentration levels of CBD products, potentially posing risks to consumers.

To mitigate these risks, it is essential to choose CBD products from reputable manufacturers who prioritize quality and transparency. Independent laboratory testing can help ensure the product's safety, purity, and accurate labeling. Look for CBD products that have undergone third-party testing to verify their contents.

Monitoring Side Effects

As with any substance, monitoring for potential side effects is crucial when using CBD. While CBD is generally well-tolerated, it can have side effects such as fatigue, diarrhea, and changes in appetite. It's important for teenagers and their caregivers to closely observe any changes in physical or mental well-being and promptly report any concerning symptoms to healthcare professionals.

Additionally, it's important to note that CBD has the potential to interact with certain medications. It can affect the way the body metabolizes drugs, leading to potentially adverse effects or reduced effectiveness. Teenagers who are taking other medications should consult with healthcare professionals to determine if there are any potential interactions between CBD and their medications [1].

By adhering to dosage and usage guidance, prioritizing regulation and quality, and monitoring for potential side effects, teenagers and their caregivers can make informed decisions regarding CBD use. Consulting with healthcare professionals experienced in CBD can provide personalized guidance based on individual circumstances, ensuring the safety and well-being of teenagers exploring CBD as a potential option.

References

[1]: https://www.armsacres.com/blog/is-cbd-safe-for-teens

[2]: https://drugfree.org/article/is-cbd-safe-for-teens/

[3]: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476

[4]: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/possible-dangers-cbd-oil-developing-brains-help-my-child

[5]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7380653/

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