Recently, my teenage son and I had lunch at a well-known restaurant in Los Angeles. As we waited for our breakfast to arrive, I noticed a sign on the table. “Put CBD in your coffee!” was in bold red letters. I realized as I sipped my coffee that, although CBD oils and products seem to be everywhere these days, I knew very little about them.
Most people are familiar with the more well-known compound tetrahydrocannabidol, or THC, which is the part of the cannabis plant that causes the psychotropic “high” when smoked or ingested. CBD is different in that it is not mind-altering, yet, according to advocates, provides the same relaxation and benefits without the psychotropic effects of THC.
As CBD products become more commonplace in the open market, parents of teens—including myself—need to arm ourselves with knowledge.
What are the long-term effects of CBD for children?
Because cannabis legislation is changing almost daily, long-term studies haven’t materialized as quickly. And while there are promising studies in reputable journals about cannabis and CBD for ailments like anxiety and Alzheimer’s, much more research is needed to determine the long-term effects of CBD on certain disorders.
Laura C., a family physician in western Colorado, says that while she talks to her teen patients about CBD, she tends to focus more on the effects of THC and the fact that it is illegal for teens to possess cannabis if they are underage. “I worry that kids don’t realize that cannabis is still a drug, even if it’s legal over the age of 21,” she tells Nug Magazine.
When it comes to CBD, Laura reminds parents that it’s still too early to know the long-term effects of CBD on the developing teen brain.
“CBD is not well-studied and there are too many variables,” says Laura, who asked that we not use her last name so she could speak candidly about CBD. “At this point, it would be impossible for me to recommend kids of any age to use CBD without more studies on purity. And, until we know more about how CBD affects the young growing brain, I can’t make any endorsement for CBD and kids.”
How is CBD ingested?
CBD comes in many forms. You can find cannabidiol in everything from CBD Gummies to dog treats, and the market seems to be exploding with products aimed at consumers who want to incorporate CBD into their daily lives.
CBD is being combined with ice cream, snacks and cocktails. Vape shops sell CBD oil for inhaling, and you can even buy cannabidiol ointments and creams for your skin.
How can you tell if your child is using CBD?
Because there is no psychoactive effect from consuming CBD, it may be difficult to tell that your child is using it. But if you do discover your child is using CBD without your permission or a doctor’s prescription, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids advises discussing the potential health impacts both with your child and with their doctor.
If you’re a concerned parent, the best thing to do is to talk with your child about CBD just like any other substance. Start a conversation about why they’re interested in it, how it makes them feel and why they feel the need to use it. Come from a place of understanding and patience, and work to help your son or daughter make healthy decisions.
The bottom line…
No one really knows how safe or effective CBD products are due to lack of research, and parents should have regular conversations with their teens regarding the cannabidiol products they are buying and using. Sometimes, asking your kids outright if they know of a new product with which you are unfamiliar will lead to eye-opening conversations.