At the hemp apothecary, we constantly receive questions regarding administering CBD to children for a multitude of reasons; ADHD, autism, seizure disorder, eczema, and acne are just a few. There is no doubt that cannabis is rightfully credited for numerous medicinal benefits, it only seems natural that parents may determine that medicinal cannabis promotes a healthy body and/or limits disease for their children. Let us talk about the medicinal benefits of cannabis for children, pregnant and breast-feeding mothers using cannabis, and common parent questions regarding cannabis and kids.

Most commonly parents ask about administering CBD to their children for an array of issues. Hyperactivity, behavioral disorders, autism, and sleeplessness are common reasons parents seek help, many trying to avoid pharmaceutical medications. ADHD is usually treated with a stimulant controlled substance which side effects include but are not limited to sleeplessness, nervousness, weight loss, agitation, headache, & dizziness. Many children experience these side effects with little to no management of their diagnosis, and that is why parents explore cannabis use as a form of treatment. As many know there are two common cannabinoid compounds found dominantly in cannabis plants used for their medicinal benefit, THC & CBD. CBD is raved about for its non-psychoactive effects with many great medicinal benefits; therefore, a CBD product is the best way to start administering to children because it will not get them high.

When I first started administering cannabis to my children it was in topical form. I would purchase a CBD dominant salve to rub on their upset stomachs, growing pains, eczema, and achy legs. I loved this remedy and found it effective for treating their eczema and minor aches & pains, and I highly recommend CBD salves for children over the age of one. They may be applied as needed and as often as every 1-2 hours. For children, under the age of 1, topical applications may be beneficial, but ingredients are extremely important. For instance, our team created a “boo boo & bum” CBD salve sensitive enough for infants and used to heal diaper rash. Make sure when applying any topical application especially for skin disorders like eczema, that products do not contain preservatives, fillers, propylene glycol, and fragrances. These additives can worsen dry skin & eczema symptoms. Another great topical application of CBD is for teens experiencing acne. Applying a pH balanced high strength CBD oil directing to the face decreases inflammation and soothes inflamed, irritated skin.

The next common route for children using CBD would be to consume orally. Oral CBD use is more commonly taken for children experiencing mild to moderate pain, headaches, skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema, nausea, hyperactivity, seizure disorder, gastrointestinal disorders, auto-immune disorders, behavioral disorders, and cancer. At Bryan’s, we have a recommended dosage chart for administering CBD orally based on weight. This is a recommended starting point for administering but increasing and decreasing according to therapeutic effect is important with most plant medicine. This means do what works best for you and your child when dosing and ask yourself questions. What symptoms are you managing? What time of day are symptoms at their worst? Parents can create a CBD regimen best based on their parental expertise.

So, what about THC? Is it safe to give children THC? Is THC a viable option for your child? THC may most definitely be administered to children for its therapeutic benefits. Most of the time when parents are looking to cannabis as a form of treatment for their child, they have already tried many other treatments prior. Cannabis is often used as a parent’s last hope. Thanks to research and progressing laws and minds many parents are trying cannabis more, as well as, asking more questions. The most common reason parents ask about THC administration for a minor is for severe mental disorders that include ADHD, cancers, pain, autism, and/or seizure disorders. Many times, pharmaceutical medications have failed them, or patients are unable to maintain the regimen due to side effects of the meds. Let me remind parents that nearly every prescription medication has more risky adverse side effects than cannabis. Meaning cannabis is safer to administer to children than the majority of prescription medications. I always ask myself before administering something with potential concern– Do the risks outweigh the benefits? With cannabis, the answer is usually yes because there are little to no side effects with many great health benefits.

Little to no side effects. So, what is the little? Some side effects of THC include but are not limited to paranoia, anxiousness, increased appetite, dry mouth, red eyes, slow reaction time, and/or short-term memory loss. These effects can easily be avoided by teaching parents how to safely administer THC dominant cannabis products. Unlike CBD, THC has a known effect of a head high. This intoxicating feeling may lead to possible unwanted adverse effects, so avoiding this high with proper dosing is important to achieve a therapeutic level. Products blended with CBD & THC are also great products for dosing children.

I would absolutely consider THC dominant cannabis for a multitude of symptoms, disorders, and diseases with children and teens. I would also try it before trying prescription medications for my children. Oral consumption through an oil or edible would be the most popular way to dose a child. I
would start by giving children under the age 10 – 2.5 mg as needed every 2-6 hours for symptom management. Children 10 and older and over 100 pounds, I would recommend 5 mg as needed every 2- 6 hours for symptoms. Like CBD, a dosing regimen should be created based on the person’s response. Doses may be increased as needed 2.5 mg at a time. Logging dosing dates, times, amounts, and therapeutic effects may help develop a regimen.

THC has a strong analgesic effect, which means it alleviates pain, including menstrual cramps. Cannabis vaginal suppositories and tampons can be used to treat abdominal cramping associated with menstrual cycles, gastrointestinal disorders, and inflammatory diseases of the pelvis. These are fast-acting and may be used every 4-8 hours as needed for pain. Rubbing a THC or CBD pain salve or aroma roller in the abdominal area, lower back, and thighs as needed will also relieve pain. This route also helps with any nausea that may coincide with abdominal cramping. Rectal suppositories are also good options when treating persistent nausea and vomiting. CBD dominant suppositories are available at Bryan’s or check your local apothecary.

Transdermal patches, edibles, capsules, & inhalers are all routes that children may use with ease. A transdermal patch works by applying a small clear adhesive patch to a venous part of the body like the inside of the arm or wrist, the patch then slowly delivers medicine throughout the body. This slow delivery is great for children because if given at the proper dose are highly unlikely to feel a head high but still receive symptom management. Patches may be cut in halves and quarters to decrease to a children’s dose approximately 5-10 mg every 8-12 hours depending on the patch and children’s weight. Edibles and capsules are other long-acting forms of cannabis. I would ensure safe ingredients with no fillers or preservatives in both edibles and capsules. Inhalers are a fast-acting form that may be handy and useful for acute episodes of anxiousness, agitation, pain, or nausea. Most forms can be found in both CBD and THC strains.

Next, let’s talk about the controversial topic of breastfeeding and pregnant moms using medical cannabis. There has been little research done to understand the effects of using cannabis while nursing or pregnant, so there is very little direction from physicians and medical staff except just DON’T. Remember what I mentioned earlier with children if the risks outweigh the benefits and when using the medicinal cannabis plant risks are exceptionally low. Pregnant women may have several mental or physical health issues where many other medications are contradicted. Uncontrolled symptom exacerbation may lead to high stress on the mom and baby. Cannabis may be an option for treatment. We are not talking about recreational cannabis for healthy pregnant women. We are talking about using plant medicine to heal and treat symptoms that have an effect on the mind, body, & baby. Cannabis may need to be considered especially for body feeding parents with postpartum depression or other complications.

This glorious plant has more to show and we have so much more to learn. Cannabis medicine is safe and may be used for children. When dosing children or adults for the matter go low and slow, increase slowly to avoid potential unwanted effects from a head high. Make sure to obtain medicine from a reputable source when dosing children, unwanted pesticides, chemicals, preservatives, and additives are unnecessary and can be harmful. Remember to trust your own intuition on knowing what is best for your young ones, and please reach out or call Bryan’s Green Care with any questions regarding administering cannabis to your children. We are eager and happy to help.