Best CBD Oil & Gummies For Kids: Is CBD Safe for Children with Anxiety & ADHD?
Learn how to use CBD safely with kids & understand what side effects to watch out for.
Many parents are wondering if CBD supplements are safe to give to their children — and what dose to use.
CBD (cannabidiol) is safe to use with your kids — but there are a few factors to be aware of first.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about using CBD with children.
We’ll cover the laws, safety, reasons why people are using it with their kids, and how to calculate the right dose depending on your child’s age and weight.
Let’s get started.
MEDICALLY REVIEWED BY
Updated on January 05, 2022
Table of Contents
- Best CBD Oil & Gummies for Kids
- Step 1: Determine the Adult Dose
Best CBD Oil & Gummies for Kids
CBD-infused gummies are the best way to use CBD with children. They provide consistent, precise doses of non-psychoactive CBD disguised in a delicious gummy candy. Aim for gummies that contain either 5 or 10 mg each and cut them into smaller doses as needed.
Just like those gummy vitamins, make sure to only give them what they need and store them out of reach!
CBD oils are also a good option to use with kids, just make sure you use something on the lower end of the potency range (less than 500 mg) and always speak with your doctor first.
Here are the five best CBD gummies to use with kids in 2020:
- Royal CBD — Editor’s Choice
- Gold Bee CBD Gummies — Best Value
- CBD Infusionz Gummy Candies — Widest Selection
- Hemp Bombs CBD Gummies — CBD Isolate-Based
- Green Roads CBD Gummies — Low Doses
Will CBD Make My Child High?
This is the first question most parents ask before deciding to give CBD to their children.
The answer to this question is a resounding no — as long as the THC content of the chosen product is below 0.3%.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the primary psychoactive constituent of the cannabis plant. This is the compound responsible for the “high” associated with marijuana.
CBD is different — it doesn’t have any psychoactive effects.
Is It Legal to Give CBD to Children?
Recreational cannabis products containing more than 0.3 percent THC are not acceptable for children. In fact, it’s completely illegal to give products high in THC to children.
However, as we’ve discussed, CBD doesn’t have any intoxicating effects. It’s treated as a nutritional supplement in the United States. Most countries around the world consider CBD to the same degree.
Modern extraction techniques allow manufacturers to remove the THC from their final products — allowing them to be given safely and legally to children.
With that said, it’s wise to consult with your child’s doctor before giving them any supplements of any kind.
When Should I Consider Giving CBD to My Child?
Not all children stand to benefit from CBD — but there are a few examples where CBD may offer dramatic improvements in your child’s quality of life.
The most common reasons parents are using CBD products with their children include:
- To alleviate or prevent nausea before a long car ride (this doesn’t work with all children)
- As an alternative pain management option for mild pain (more severe pain should be treated with the most appropriate options available)
- To alleviate anxiety in anxious or autistic children
- To support a full night of sleep in children experiencing insomnia (nightmares is a common cause)
- To alleviate symptoms of certain epileptic conditions (Dravet’s syndrome)
- To relax the lungs and chest muscles to help with coughing
- To manage inflammation and autoimmune disease
CBD is not a cure-all. While it offers many benefits and has helped a lot of people (kids included), you should never attempt to treat your child with CBD (or any health supplement) without first consulting a doctor. CBD is most effective when combined with other diet and lifestyle modifications.
If your child is having trouble sleeping, is feeling anxious, or experiencing autoimmune disease — it’s important to identify what’s causing the problem and address that directly. CBD may offer support for the symptoms and improve quality of life, but will not solve the problem directly.
The Health Benefits of CBD in Children
Learn about the specific health benefits of CBD for common health problems or symptoms experienced by children of all ages.
1. CBD Oil For Kids With Anxiety
Children often experience anxiety — whether it’s from nutritional deficiencies, pressures at home or school, or difficulties making friends. It’s normal, and most children manage to get through a rough period without the need for powerful pharmaceutical medications.
However, CBD can be used to address anxiety in the short term. This is especially useful for managing anxiety after, particularly stressful events.
The compound works by increasing the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain tasked with reducing hyperactivity in the nervous system. It helps the mind to relax after a stressful event and return to a more normal baseline.
2. CBD Oil For Kids With Insomnia
Perhaps the most common reason why parents are giving their children CBD is to manage insomnia.
Overstimulation can cause many children to experience difficulties shutting off at the end of the day. Their brains remain wired for hours in bed after spending so much time in front of computers, phones, or television screens. Children that have difficulty sleeping often become irritable (understandably), which can make it even harder to fall asleep.
CBD is an excellent supplement for supporting sleep. It’s not directly sedating, so you don’t have to worry about most of the negative side effects of tranquilizers. It merely slows hyperactivity in the brain — giving your child the chance to wind down and fall asleep naturally.
3. CBD Oil For Kids With Epilepsy
One of the main reasons CBD has become so popular in recent years is its ability to treat epilepsy.
This is one of the few health conditions we can actually state “treat” rather than support. This claim is well-supported by clinical research.
The research on the impact of CBD on epilepsy in children began with a series of case studies  — starting with a girl named Charlotte Figi.
Charlotte suffers from a rare form of epilepsy known as Dravet’s syndrome. For years, she experienced dozens of debilitating seizures every day. Despite trying everything they could get their hands on, Charlotte’s parents were unable to give their daughter relief — until they decided to try cannabis.
Almost immediately after giving their daughter a high-CBD cannabis extract, she virtually stopped having seizures. She went from having a few hundred per week to just a handful each week. Some days, she didn’t even have one.
Charlotte’s story blew up in the media and has been a major contributor to the popularity of CBD today.
Since then, there’s been a significant amount of research on the use of CBD for epilepsy in both adults and children alike with very promising results . There are even a handful of pharmaceutical companies developing new anti-epileptic medications based around natural or synthetic versions of CBD — such as Sativex® (1:1 THC to CBD) and Epidoliex® (synthetic CBD).
4. CBD Oil For Kids With Autism
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is becoming an increasingly common diagnosis in early childhood. At the moment, there’s almost nothing we can do to treat it.
Medications exist, but they’re unreliable and often come with their own set of negative side effects.
In recent years, CBD has caught the attention of medical researchers as a potential treatment for autism.
There is no cure for the disorder. However, there is plenty of room for improvement in managing symptoms — especially side-effects such as anxiety, seizures, mood swings, and a higher potential for addictive behavior. All of these symptoms may be reduced with the use of CBD.
Parents are using CBD oils for symptomatic relief in their autistic children. Some common applications include:
- To reduce social anxiety when visiting in large groups
- To reduce anxiety and occurrence of nightmares
- To alleviate anxiety when visiting the doctor
- For associated health conditions like epilepsy that often appear alongside ASD
5. CBD Oil For Kids With ADHD
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurological disorder affecting roughly 1 in 15 children in the developed world .
Current treatment options are mainly pharmaceuticals. Stimulant drugs, including Adderall and methylphenidate, help with symptoms but often bring their own set of negative side effects. Many parents are seeking natural alternative options instead.
CBD offers a compelling new treatment for ADHD symptoms. One of the key symptoms of ADHD is hyperactivity — something CBD is particularly useful for relieving.
The relaxing nature of CBD helps hyperactive children remain calm and relieves common side effects such as anxiety and insomnia. It’s also useful for addressing headaches and autoimmune conditions that may be associated with the condition.
6. CBD Oil For Kids With Asthma
Asthma can range from mild to severe — some asthma attacks can even be life-threatening.
The underlying cause of asthma is inflammation and swelling of the airways. Medications such as salbutamol (puffers) are most commonly used for treating childhood asthma — however, these medications can form tolerance, meaning that the more your child uses it, the less effective it becomes over time. Eventually, you will need to increase the dose or find another medication to relieve symptoms.
CBD is a potent anti-inflammatory compound that acts on several inflammatory pathways leading to asthmatic reactions (such as TNF-a, IL-6, IL-4, and IL-13).
It works best as a preventative for asthma attacks, rather than as a direct treatment. For that, you’re best to stick to the beta-adrenergic agonists inside your child’s puffer.
As a daily supplement, CBD is suggested to resist the specific type of immune activation involved with asthma. It also relaxes the muscles lining the airway and lowers stress levels — both of which heavily contribute to an asthmatic reaction.
7. CBD Oil For Kids With Nausea & Motion Sickness
Children are especially prone to experiencing nausea and motion sickness. There are many reasons for this, but the most common theory is that it’s a direct result of their smaller ear canals. This is also why children are more likely to experience inner or middle ear infections than adults.
Inside our ears is a unique set of nerves designed to relay messages to the brain regarding our association to the ground. This helps us determine up from down and maintain our balance.
If this system becomes dysfunctional — which can happen while sitting in a car for too long or while on unstable surfaces such as a boat — the brain panics and makes us feel nauseous. The brain is essentially tricked into thinking we must have eaten something poisonous, so it tries to get it out of the body by making us vomit.
The region of the brain responsible for producing these effects is aptly named the nausea center in the brain. This system is heavily regulated by the endocannabinoid system .
CBD, in turn, interacts closely with the endocannabinoid system by preventing the breakdown of our natural endocannabinoids. This effect is thought to be the reason why CBD is so useful for alleviating nausea.
It’s even been shown to provide relief to cancer patients experiencing extreme bouts of nausea following a chemotherapy session .
8. CBD Oil For Kids With Skin Conditions
CBD is also useful for addressing skin conditions. Both CBD oil and CBD skincare products are useful for this.
Internally, CBD is useful for supporting underlying causes for skin disorders — often stemming from the gut, liver, immune system, or combination of all three.
Topical CBD products are more useful for managing symptoms or addressing top-level skin problems not caused by other underlying health issues.
A few examples of skin conditions that may benefit from CBD include:
- Ingrown hairs
- Dry, flaky skin
- Bug bites
9. CBD For Kids With Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is the most common childhood motor disability according to the Center For Disease Control (CDC). Most patients with CP (75%) have the spastic form — which causes the muscles to become rigid and stiff.
CBD is not a cure for CP — there is no cure. However, it does have potent muscle-relaxing qualities that may help alleviate some of this tension and make life just a little bit easier and more comfortable for those affected.
Studies examining the effects of CBD and THC was shown to provide a noticeable improvement in muscle rigidity, spasticity, and motor function .
Numerous other studies support this conclusion — suggesting CBD serves as an effective ally to conventional treatment approaches. Adverse effects are minimal, primarily consisting of increased somnolescence (rare) and diarrhea.
Never use CBD with children diagnosed with CP before speaking with their pediatrician. There are some drugs used to treat CP that could interact negatively with CBD if it isn’t used properly.
Choosing CBD Products for Children
CBD Comes in many different forms. Most parents will use a simple CBD gummy or a CBD topical — but oils, syrups, and suppositories are also good options.
1. CBD Oils
CBD-infused oils are the most common form of CBD. They’re easy to use, and specific doses can be calculated easily by counting the drops or using a small measuring cup.
Mix CBD oils with your child’s favorite juice or smoothie to disguise the flavor or choose an oil that comes with added flavor.
2. CBD Gummies
CBD gummies are also a great way to give CBD to children. They taste just like candy and can be divided into smaller doses by simply cutting them into pieces. Most people cut their gummies into 5 mg doses for small children, and 10 mg for kids over the age of 10.
Make sure you store these gummies in a safe place where your child can’t reach them between supervised doses.
3. CBD Syrups
CBD syrups aren’t very common but work the same way as CBD oil. The sweet flavor makes it easy to disguise with other foods (such as waffles or pancakes). The only downside is the high sugar content.
Check out our selection of the top CBD Honey Sticks.
4. CBD Topicals
CBD topicals are the best option for anything skin-related. These products don’t need to have the dose measured and are, therefore, the safest means of using CBD. However, it’s still best to try any new skin product on a small area of the body to make sure there are no allergic reactions before using it on larger areas of the body.
5. CBD Suppositories
Suppositories are specifically designed for inflammation in the digestive tract. There are only a few cases where these are necessary, such as following a parasitic infection (for example, worms), to speed recovery and lower inflammation.
Products to Avoid With Children
Not all forms of CBD are appropriate for children.
Here are a few examples of CBD products to avoid giving children.
1. Tinctures (Alcohol-Based)
Nothing alcohol-related should be given to children. Most tinctures are alcohol-based and should, therefore, be avoided. There are, however, CBD companies referring to their CBD oils as tinctures. Therefore, always double-check the ingredients on products sold as tinctures to confirm the content.
2. CBD Capsules
CBD capsules are a great way to use CBD in general but are not recommended for children. This is especially true for those under the age of 8.
This is because younger children have smaller airways compared with adults. Therefore, it’s much easier for a capsule to get caught in a child’s throat — which can be a very uncomfortable experience, not to mention potentially dangerous.
3. CBD Vape Pens and E-Liquids
Children should not be vaping — end of story. CBD vape pens are an adult-only product.
4. CBD Concentrates
CBD concentrates should be avoided by all but the most experienced CBD users. That even applies to adults.
The ultra-high potency makes it too easy to take too much. For small children who only require very small doses and are more sensitive to compounds (including CBD), this is a recipe for disaster.
Therefore, avoid concentrates and opt for something with a lower potency.
How to Calculate CBD Dosage for Children
In general, the dose of CBD for a child is about 2.5 to 10 mg depending on their age, size, and symptom severity.
Most experts agree CBD is a safe supplement. Going over the recommended dose (within reason) isn’t likely to cause any issues.
Here’s a quick dosage guide to get you in the right ballpark, but if you want to really dial in the dose for your child, follow the instructions listed below.
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.”
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.”