Are CBD Gummies Illegal For Minors


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Can Children Take CBD? What Parents Should Know

Recently, many parents have been wondering if their children can take CBD. CBD is non-intoxicating and used by adults as a way to manage a range of common concerns from pain to anxiety. So, can kids use it too?

Since the 2018 FDA approval of Epidiolex — a CBD-based treatment for children with epilepsy — interest has been mounting regarding the use of CBD by children.

We’ll be tackling questions like:

  • Is CBD safe for kids?
  • Can children buy CBD?
  • Can my child get Epidiolex?

Here’s what you need to know about CBD usage for children.

Can Children Buy CBD?

In general, children can’t buy CBD. But depending on your state and the specific CBD retailers, the age requirement to buy CBD may be 18+ or 21+.

We fully break down the laws and regulations around age requirements in our Can Teens Use CBD? article.

But here’s a quick overview.

State-Mandated Age Requirements For Buying CBD

First, states have their own specific laws surrounding CBD purchasing and use, including how old you need to be to purchase CBD products.

You must be at least 18 or 21 years old in most states in order to buy CBD.

Retailer-Set Age Requirements For Buying CBD

Second, retailers often set their own age requirements for buying CBD as well. These restrictions will be as strict or stricter than the state laws.

For example, you may live in a state that allows people 18 or older to buy CBD. But you may come across a retailer in your area that will not sell CBD to anyone under 21.

Can Children Take CBD?

So children are unable to purchase CBD for themselves, but can they use it?

Some parents have been turning to CBD as a treatment for autism, anxiety, or other ailments.

But the truth is, it’s unclear whether children can or should take CBD products. CBD products on the shelves today are formulated for adult use, and there have been no long-term studies on the effects of these CBD products on children.

The only FDA-approved CBD for kids is Epidiolex, which is a medication for treatment-resistant seizure conditions.

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The Research On Children & CBD

The bulk of research on CBD and kids has focused on the potential for CBD to reduce seizures.(1) It’s not surprising that years of rigorous study have yielded the first CBD product to treat childhood seizures — Epidiolex.

Scientists are currently looking into other uses. One recent study looked at the effectiveness of a cannabis treatment (CBD + THC) for children with autism spectrum disorder. It found that the cannabis treatment was associated with reduced behavioral outbreaks and anxiety, and improved communication issues.(2)

These results are promising, and we can expect more research on CBD and other cannabinoid-based interventions for children in the coming years.

Epidiolex: The Only FDA-Approved CBD Medication

So while children cannot buy CBD products, a doctor can prescribe the CBD-based medication Epidiolex. It’s been approved for those 1 and older.

Containing isolate CBD, Epidiolex is used to treat very specific seizures conditions in children:

  • Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome
  • Dravet syndrome
  • Tuberous sclerosis complex

Does Epidiolex Have Other Treatment Uses?

There are currently no other conditions that Epidiolex is approved to treat. There are studies currently looking at the potential for Epidiolex to treat autism, anxiety, pain, infantile spasms, and multiple sclerosis.(3)

No approvals for treating these conditions yet, but the use of Epidiolex may expand in the future.

OTC CBD Products

OTC CBD products have to follow hemp industry regulations, but these products are currently formulated for adult use.

These CBD products have not gone through the rigorous testing and safety measures that come with FDA approval. Thus, none others are approved as medical treatments for children.

This is why it’s key to do your research and carefully weigh the risks before opting for over the counter CBD products for children.

Is CBD Safe for Your Child?

A few studies point towards the potential uses of CBD for children, but more information is needed.

There just isn’t enough research to confirm whether non-medical CBD products — like CBD oil — are safe for the kiddos.

The FDA-approved CBD medication Epidiolex is the only CBD product that has been rigorously tested and deemed to be safe for children, when used as intended.

CBD & Children: Research Still In Its Infancy

Aside from what we know about Epidiolex, there are few studies on CBD’s safety or effectiveness in kids.

The age limits around purchasing CBD also generally require that buyers be at least 18 or over (and sometimes 21 and over). These rules will vary from state to state, and across different CBD retailers.

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Given the boom in interest lately, we can likely expect to hear more about the potential for CBD to help children in the coming years.

CBD and parents’ attitudes about giving it to children

Most parents say CBD for kids should require a doctor’s prescription, while 7% have given or considered giving it to children for medical reasons.

Products containing cannabidiol, or CBD, a chemical compound naturally found in marijuana and hemp, have been used in recent years to help adults manage medical issues like chronic pain and mood disorders.

While its use is much more limited in children, some CBD products have been marketed for minors as well.

But despite the wide availability of CBD, parents have limited knowledge about it, with a third thinking it’s the same as using marijuana, suggests the University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health .

And while the majority haven’t even considered having their child use a CBD product, three in four parents appeared open-minded about the possibility, saying it may be a good option for medical care when other medications don’t work.

“There is very little data on how CBD may impact children’s developing brains and only certain types of situations when it’s considered for pediatric medical reasons. Still, CBD has become much more accessible and widely advertised, with some companies claiming benefits for kids,” said Mott Poll co-director Sarah Clark, M.P.H.

The nationally representative poll report is based on responses from 1,992 parents of children 3-18 years surveyed in October 2021.

Seven percent of parents have given or considered giving their child a CBD product, with the most common reasons including anxiety (51%), sleep problems (40%), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, (33%), muscle pain (20%), autism (19%) and to make their child feel better in general (13%).

Among parents who say they’ve given or considered giving CBD to their child, less than a third have talked with their child’s health care provider about CBD use.

And while three quarters of parents felt CBD for children should require a doctor’s prescription, only 63% rated the recommendation of their child’s doctor as a strong factor in deciding whether to give their child a CBD product.

“Anecdotal stories of children benefiting from CBD may sound alluring but just because it’s a plant product doesn’t necessarily make it safe or effective in children.”

“Our poll suggests most parents have very limited knowledge about CBD products,” Clark said. “It’s important for parents to inform their pediatrician or other healthcare providers if they’re considering CBD use in kids so that they can discuss potential risks.”

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Most parents cited side effects as the most important factor in deciding whether to give their child a CBD product. Other considerations included whether it was tested for safety in children, how well it works in children, approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and product reviews.

The majority of parents have never used a CBD product themselves, while 24% have tried it and 5% use a CBD product regularly, according to the poll report.

Many unknowns on side effects

CBD products are sold online and in stores that specialize in CBD products, as well as in supermarkets and drugstores and come in many forms, including oils, topical ointments, vaping, edibles and gummies.

The FDA has only approved one purified form of the drug substance CBD for children to treat rare seizures that don’t respond to medication. Studies have also looked at CBD use in children with hyperactivity, anxiety, sleep problems and depression but research remains limited.

Side effects could include sleepiness, fatigue, and diarrhea, and experts have raised concerns about CBD’s potential to interact with other medications and adversely impact the liver. But since CBD products have not undergone rigorous testing for FDA approval, the rate and severity of side effects remain unclear, particularly for children.

To be legal, CBD must have less than .3% of tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly referred to as THC, the chemical that produces most of marijuana’s psychological and “high” effects. Many manufacturers purport to contain close to 0% THC, but the lack of regulation of CBD products also raises questions about quality control in the production of various products, experts say.

“Parents who see promotional content claiming CBD benefits kids with certain conditions should be aware that products seen online or in stores are not regulated by the FDA and may be mislabeled,” Clark said. “This makes it difficult for parents to know exactly what they’re buying and what their child may be exposed to.

“Anecdotal stories of children benefiting from CBD may sound alluring but just because it’s a plant product doesn’t necessarily make it safe or effective in children. We need more evidence to understand CBD’s short- and long-term side effects in kids.”

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