CBD Oil for Kids: Is It Safe for Children with ADHD & Anxiety?
Written by Nina Julia
- Last Updated: January 2, 2021
If you’re a parent, you’ll go above and beyond to keep your child healthy.
You may have heard your friends saying they’re using CBD oil with their kids. If you don’t know what CBD is, don’t worry — I’ll explain everything in this article, including why you may want to consider using the supplement with your children too.
Long story short, CBD stands for cannabidiol, a natural compound in cannabis plants that has an array of positive effects on the body and brain but is non-psychoactive, unlike THC.
CBD is becoming increasingly popular for a variety of negative symptoms, from anxiety to pain and inflammation (read more here).
It comes in many different forms, including CBD oil, capsules, edibles, beverages, vaping liquids, and topical products.
But which CBD oil will be the best for your little one?
In this guide, you’ll learn about 3 brands that, I believe, deserve your attention as a parent.
I’ve also mapped out several areas where CBD oil appears to be particularly effective, as well as what to look for when searching for the best CBD oil products for kids.
How to Find the CBD Oil for Your Kids
Several steps are involved in the production of CBD oil; each of them is a make-or-break factor.
Quality is paramount when buying CBD oil for kids, so if you want to rest assured your money goes in the right hands, I suggest researching the following information:
1. Hemp Source
It all starts in the soil.
Hemp is an effective bioaccumulator. What does this mean?
It means it absorbs everything from the environment it’s cultivated in.
In essence, when grown in clean and fertile soil, the hemp will pull all the good nutrients to grow strong, healthy, and produce plenty of CBD.
But when the growing conditions are inferior and the soil polluted — the plant will draw every contaminant, too, resulting in very poor sourcing material.
With that said, I strongly recommend buying CBD from domestic farmers who grow organic hemp plants, even if they aren’t certified organic.
This ensures you’ll only get pure CBD oil that is safe for your kid.
2. Extraction Method
The method by which CBD oil is processed can tell much about its quality.
Some manufacturers use toxic solvents like propane and butane for extraction to avoid higher production costs and sell cheap CBD oil. The toxic residue in such products is what you want to steer clear of. I, for example, couldn’t imagine myself purposefully exposing my children to hazardous substances.
There are two extraction methods that yield clean and potent extracts without leaving any harmful chemicals behind — Ethanol and CO2 extraction.
Ethanol is used in making CBD tinctures. The high-CBD bud is soaked in high-proof alcohol like Ethanol, so the cannabinoids and other hemp compounds can be extracted.
CO2 extraction calls for using pressurized CO2 at varying temperatures to obtain an oily extract, which is then suspended in a carrier oil (most often MCT oil). This method is the golden standard in the industry.
3. Is It Full-Spectrum CBD Oil or Isolate?
Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all phytonutrients from hemp, including cannabinoids (with trace amounts of THC), terpenes, flavonoids, and essential oils, whereas CBD isolate carries only pure, isolated cannabidiol.
While isolates offer the highest dose of CBD per serving and are more versatile than full-spectrum CBD (it has no odor and no flavor), it lacks the synergy achieved by other hemp compounds in the full-spectrum extract.
CBD oil obtained from the whole plant is believed to have a greater therapeutic value than isolate-based products and the user needs less CBD to achieve the desired effect. There is more scientific evidence supporting the theory about the synergy between cannabinoids, especially when it comes to pain and inflammation.
I, too, believe that full-spectrum CBD oil is a better choice, but if your child is allergic to certain constituents of the hemp plant — or you simply don’t want even a negligible amount of THC in their system — isolates might be your only option.
4. Third-party Testing & Lab Results
Once a CBD oil is manufactured, companies can submit their products for third-party testing, which is conducted by non-company staff to ensure the product is safe for consumption and consistent with the bottle’s label.
CBD oils should always feature information about third-party tests; if they don’t, it should raise some red flags.
It’s all the better if the actual lab results accompany that information. As a rule of thumb, companies that include lab results are generally better than those who aren’t open about them.
When buying CBD oil for your kid, it’s essential to choose the one that will suit their dosage needs. With children, I would always go for the lower potency unless there’s a specific reason you want to give them CBD for.
CBD Oil Effects on Kids
CBD has coined its fame thanks to its anticonvulsant properties in children with rare forms of epilepsy. Still, this cannabinoid is also capable of alleviating less severe conditions, too — not to mention it’s a great supplement to keep your little pumpkin in good health in a natural way.
Below I go over the most common uses of CBD oil in kids and how it may improve selected health problems.
CBD Oil for Kids With ADHD
If your child has an attention disorder — they quickly get overstimulated and have problems with maintaining focus — CBD can help with symptom management.
Research on CBD as a potential treatment for ADHD is sparse. Most of what we know about the link between these two stems from studies on cannabis as a whole, not the specific CBD compound.
However, there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence from parents giving CBD to their kids that CBD oil helps in managing their hyperactivity symptoms.
Moreover, a 2014 study published in Current Neuropharmacology suggests that at low doses, CBD can be a wake-promoting agent, making users more alert throughout the day (1).
Interestingly, our sleep-wake cycle largely depends on our level of alertness during the day, so CBD oil may also help when your kiddo has problems falling asleep at night.
CBD Oil for Kids With Anxiety
CBD exerts several actions in the brain that regulate our brain’s response to the feelings of fear and anxiety. The research in this subject is mostly preclinical or based on animal studies, but there are thousands of testimonies from parents whose children found relief from anxiety in CBD oil.
But how exactly does CBD work for anxiety disorders?
Research suggests that cannabidiol inhibits serotonin reuptake in the brain. In other words, it makes serotonin more available for the body (2). With better control of your serotonin resources, CBD could help stabilize mood and reduce anxiety.
The second benefit is associated with CBD’s ability to prompt the endocannabinoid system to produce more of its natural cannabinoids (3). This includes anandamide — the endocannabinoid regulating emotions such as fear, bliss, and euphoria.
Insufficient anandamide production has been linked to low mood or overreaction to anxiety triggers.
As with serotonin, CBD stimulates the release of anandamide and helps it stay in the body for a longer duration — assisting the user in maintaining sanity.
Last but not least, CBD may stimulate the hippocampus (a critical brain area playing a vital role in an array of brain functions) to regenerate neurons (4). These findings are particularly interesting because brain scans of patients suffering from anxiety and depression often show a smaller hippocampus.
CBD Oil for Kids With Autism
A study led by the director of pediatric neurology at Jerusalem’s Shareek Zedek Hospital, Dr. Adi Aran, treated 60 autistic children with CBD oil for at least seven months.
After the treatment period, parents were asked to fill assessment questionnaires about changes in their child’s condition. The researchers asked questions about behavioral changes, anxiety levels, and communication skills.
According to the collected data, 80% of parents noted a decline in problematic behaviors, with 62% reporting serious improvements. Half of the examined children showed improved communication, and 40% of parents reported significant decreases in their children’s anxiety (5).
While these are some really promising results, we need more longitudinal studies on larger groups of patients for the research to be conclusive.
Top 4 CBD Oil Brands
I’ve tested plenty of CBD brands in my life, and I have a list of my personal favorites. It turns out that three of them are a perfect match for my children’s needs.
I always base my product recommendations on extensive testing and thousands of verified customer reviews to give you a full picture of any given product I tackle. I would never suggest any product that fails to meet my quality and safety criteria.
Below you’ll find the top 3 brands selling CBD oil.
1. Royal CBD (Best Overall)
Get 15% off all Royal CBD products. Use code “CFAH” at checkout.
- Full-spectrum of phytocannabinoids
- Made from 100% natural ingredients
- Extracted with supercritical CO2
- Contained in premium-quality MCT oil
- Lab-tested for potency and purity
- The 250mg bottle is easy to dose
- They also sell CBD infused gummies
- No mint flavored option
What I Like About Royal CBD:
I remember receiving a press release from Royal CBD shortly before their launch, so I couldn’t help but try their products — as I do with any new brand that grabs my attention.
I’m a visualizer, so I was instantly bought with the minimalistic design of their products. Of course, I did some solid research so as not to rely solely on my gut, and it turned out this company has an unparalleled level of transparency.
They explain everything about how they source their hemp and what extraction they use for their CBD oil. Not only that, but they were also able to prove it with the lab results. I ordered two bottles — the 500mg (for me) and 250mg (for my two boys).
What I love about Royal CBD is that their full-spectrum oil does what it’s advertised to do — brings relief. My children sleep better, they don’t get irritated so easily, and I can finally get them focused on their homework for longer than 3 minutes, which is a blessing for me.
Oh, and it doesn’t leave that botanical aftertaste on the tongue. I’m a fan of everything related to hemp, but my boys don’t share my enthusiasm to that extent. Thankfully, the MCT oil does a stellar job at masking the natural hemp flavor.
2. Gold Bee (Best Organic CBD Oil)
- Made from US-grown, organic hemp
- Contains full-spectrum CBD
- 1200 mg of CBD per bottle (40 mg/mL)
- Extracted with supercritical CO2
- Delicious Kiwi flavor
- Sweetened with organic honey
- Third-party tested for cannabinoid content and purity
- Only one concentration available
- Limited flavor options
What I Like About Gold Bee CBD Oil for Kids
Gold Bee offers craft-quality CBD oils that are well suited for kids, both in terms of their potency and ingredients. The company sources its CBD from organic hemp grown in Colorado, which is then gently extracted using pressurized CO2. Gold Bee’s farming and processing practices yield pure CBD extracts that maintain consistent potency throughout all batches.
The CBD oil contains full-spectrum CBD, meaning there are other cannabinoids and terpenes to support the health benefits of CBD. These compounds contribute to the much-desired entourage effect. As a result, your kid needs less oil than they would if you gave them isolated CBD, making this product very affordable compared to competitor brands.
What I especially like about Gold Bee is that its product contains only organic ingredients, including the honey in the CBD oil and the cane sugar in the gummies. The brand is a safe pick for health-conscious parents.
3. Hemp Bombs
- Sourced from 100% certified organic hemp from Europe
- Extracted with CO2
- Lab-tested for purity and potency
- Highly versatile — you can use it as is or add it to food and drinks
- Available in 5 potencies
- Less expensive than full-spectrum CBD oil
- Lacks the entourage effect from other cannabinoids
- Your children usually won’t need anything stronger than the 300mg bottle
What I Like About HempBombs CBD:
HempBombs specializes in making 99% pure CBD products. These isolates are available as tinctures, capsules, vape oils, or gummies.
I know that some parents — especially those new to cannabis — tend to freak out about any THC in hemp products they give to their kids, so if you’re one of those parents, isolates might be a good starting point. Your child may be allergic to some plant compounds, CBD isolate might be the only option here.
Isolates are highly versatile. Given this, if your pumpkin hates the taste of natural CBD oil, the isolate should do the trick as it’s odorless and flavorless. Because of that, you can also mix it with foods and drinks to smuggle some CBD into your kid’s favorite muffins or a fruit salad dressing.
Remember that CBD isolate is purged from any cannabinoids other than CBD, so there’s no entourage effect. But as I said, with parents using isolate-based products, the potency of CBD is likely more important than the whole-plant synergy.
- Sourced from non-GMO, pesticide-free hemp
- Extracted with CO2
- Available as full-spectrum CBD or pure CBD oil (broad-spectrum, zero THC)
- Lab-tested for purity levels and consistency in potency
- Available in 5 different potency options
- Very affordable
- Only available in the natural flavor
- Not certified organic
What I Like About CBDistillery:
A veteran to the scene, CBDistillery never fails to deliver the highest quality and safety standards — both for adults and children.
Their oil is sold in five different potencies, from 250mg to 5000mg of full-spectrum or broad-spectrum (THC-free) extract. The 250mg CBD oil (my recommended potency for most kids) costs as little as $20, so it’s a perfect product for parents shopping for CBD on the budget.
I love the fact that you can also get a THC-free version of this oil but still enjoy the benefits of the other cannabinoids that have been preserved during extraction. I must admit it’s not as effective as Royal CBD, but it’s still a decent product. And for many young moms, this can be a golden mean between full-spectrum CBD oil and CBD isolate.
Using CBD With Children 101
I receive lots of questions from parents who would like to try CBD oil for their kids, but there’s so much confusion on the Internet that they get even more confused in the end.
So, my fellow moms, I’ve selected the 4 most frequently asked questions about CBD oil for kids, and I’m going to explain everything in the simplest way possible.
Is CBD Oil for Kids the Same as CBD Oil for Adults?
Yes, it’s precisely the same product. Companies don’t distinguish between CBD oil for kids or adults.
However, because children weigh less than adults, I suggest that you operate on lower potencies. Kids usually need lower amounts of CBD to feel the difference.
Besides, with a low-potency CBD oil (e.g. 250mg CBD per bottle), it’s easier to gauge the dosage in the dropper because you can use a few drops instead of having to measure out, say, one-tenth of the syringe for accurate dosing.
What Are the Benefits of CBD Oil for Children?
CBD is a highly versatile supplement that has a special relationship with our endocannabinoid system.
If you’re giving CBD oil to your kid for general supplementation purposes, you can expect the following benefits:
- Improved focus
- Better memory
- Higher alertness throughout the day
- Better quality of sleep (more details)
- Boosted immune function
On a practical note, CBD is easy to use, has a long shelf-life, and you can administer it to your child in many different ways.
What’s the Best Way to Use CBD With Children?
It goes without saying that your kids won’t be vaping CBD oil or dabbing CBD concentrates because first, they’re too potent, and second — the very consumption method is out of the question for children.
Most parents choose the sublingual method, which involves placing a few drops of CBD oil beneath the kid’s tongue. Once there, they need to hold it for about 30–60 seconds until the oil gets absorbed into the bloodstream, then swallow.
It may happen that your tot isn’t a fan of CBD oil’s distinct taste and will turn its head away each time you try to administer it sublingually.
If that’s your story, I recommend CBD gummies. Each gummy comes with a fixed dose of CBD — you can skip that nasty dropper part — and they are sold in many delicious flavors.
I don’t need to tell you how much children love gummies, so this form of cannabidiol is a great way to give your little one the best of both worlds.
CBD Oil Dosage Guidelines for Kids
The optimal dosage for any given CBD user — including children — depends on their weight, metabolism, unique body chemistry, and desired effects.
For the pediatric population of CBD users, experts suggest starting with 0.5mg of CBD per pound and taking this dose three times a day.
Starting low and slow allows you to adjust the dosage to how your child reacts to CBD without causing any side effects (e.g., dry mouth or lightheadedness).
Quick Reference Chart for Children’s Dosages:
|Weight (lbs)||Low Strength||Medium Strength|
|30 lbs (13 kg)||2.6 mg||7.8 mg|
|40 lbs (18 kg)||3.6 mg||10.8 mg|
|50 lbs (23 kg)||4.6 mg||13.8 mg|
|75 lbs (34 kg)||6.4 mg||19.0 mg|
|100 lbs (45 kg)||7.5 mg||22.5 mg|
Final Thoughts on CBD Oils for Kids
CBD oil is an excellent tool for enhancing the quality of one’s life, not only for adults but also for children. Because of the non-psychoactive nature of CBD, this compound is doesn’t impact their mental development and comes with only a few mild side effects, such as dry mouth or dizziness when consumed in larger amounts.
I hope my guide has helped you get a good understanding of what CBD oil is and how it can help your kid live a better life. Now you can make a well-informed decision and by a high-quality product that will benefit the whole family.
We outline whether or not it's safe to use CBD oil with your youngsters, as well as outline our favorite CBD oil for kids brands in this comprehensive guide.
Pediatric digital library intended to serve as a source of continuing pediatric education, curated by Donna M. D’Alessandro M.D. and Michael P. D’Alessandro M.D.
What is the Dosing of CBD Oil?
An attending physician overheard a resident talking with a father on the telephone in clinic. The parent had asked the resident to give a dosing schedule for over-the-counter cannabidiol (CBD) oil for a 7 year old with attentional issues because the bottle said to consult a physician for children under 12 years of age. The resident discussed that that he could not do this as the preparations varied so much from vendor to vendor and this was not an approved use. The parent was fairly insistent that with the dosing for adults that the resident could “just figure it out,” and give him a dose for his child. The resident said that these preparations are not regulated the way other medications are in the United States and therefore couldn’t give a dosing recommendation. He went on to try to engage the father in discussing why he wanted to give the CBD oil and eventually was able to convince the father to come to clinic to discuss the underlying problems with their regular primary care physician.
Cannabis sativa makes small fruits which are usually named “seeds” although they are not technically a seed. Hemp oil is derived from the hemp seeds by cold-pressing or other means of macerating or squashing the seeds. Cold pressed oil is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids including various omega-3 and linolenic acids and antioxidants. It is used by some people for its nutritional value and “[a]ccording to an old legend, Buddha (Prince Siddharta Gautama) founder of Buddism, was able to survive eating only one hemp seed each day for six years.” The seeds themselves do not contain any psychoactive compounds (specifically THC or tetrahydrocannabinol) but during processing they can become contaminated with these compounds. The THC impurity concentration is highly variable among different cultivars, processing and storage methods and thermal stress also increases the THC levels. In Europe there are strict limits on THC impurity levels and the oil is recommended to be consumed without heating.
A review of cannabis can be found here.
“…Cultivars used for seed production with a low THC levels generally contain a high concentration of cannabidiol (CBD) which has no THC activity.” An analysis study of cannabinoids in 13 commercial hemp seed oil preparations found that “concentrations of cannabinoids can be extremely variable among different oil varieties.” The authors also state that other methodologies they outline can be used to help determine storage conditions of the oil.
Medical use of cannabis has been proposed and mainly studied in adult populations. Potential indications include cancer-related nausea, appetite enhancement, neurogenic pain, glaucoma and epilepsy. In pediatrics some of the most common use is for seizures, but also chronic pain and muscle spasms. CBD is the more common form of cannabis used for seizures. Epidiolex® is a liquid cannabis-derived medication, that is FDA approved in the United States for the treatment of patients 2 years and older with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome seizures or Dravot Syndrome. The starting dose is 2.5 mg/kg twice a day orally with increases based on response and side effects.
Questions for Further Discussion
1. What is Lorenzo’s oil used for?
2. What is the legal status of medical cannabis in your location?
To Learn More
To view pediatric review articles on this topic from the past year check PubMed.
Evidence-based medicine information on this topic can be found at SearchingPediatrics.com and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
Information prescriptions for patients can be found at MedlinePlus for these topics: Marijuana and Pregnancy and Substance Abuse.
To view current news articles on this topic check Google News.
To view images related to this topic check Google Images.
To view videos related to this topic check YouTube Videos.
Citti C, Pacchetti B, Vandelli MA, Forni F, Cannazza G. Analysis of cannabinoids in commercial hemp seed oil and decarboxylation kinetics studies of cannabidiolic acid (CBDA). J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2018;149:532-540. doi:10.1016/j.jpba.2017.11.044
Samanta D. Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Efficacy and Safety in Epilepsy. Pediatr Neurol. March 2019. doi:10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2019.03.014
Hoffenberg EJ, McWilliams S, Mikulich-Gilbertson S, Murphy B, Hoffenberg A, Hopfer CJ. Cannabis Oil Use by Adolescents and Young Adults With Inflammatory Bowel Disease. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2019;68(3):348-352. doi:10.1097/MPG.0000000000002189
RxList. Epidiolex (Cannabidiol Oral Solution): Side Effects, Interactions, Warning, Dosage & Uses. https://www.rxlist.com/epidiolex-drug.htm. Accessed June 10, 2019.
Commissioner of the Federal Drug Administration. Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on new steps to advance agency’s continued evaluation of potential regulatory pathways for cannabis-containing and cannabis-derived products. FDA. http://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/statement-fda-commissioner-scott-gottlieb-md-new-steps-advance-agencys-continued-evaluation. Published May 3, 2019. Accessed June 10, 2019.
Donna M. D’Alessandro, MD
Professor of Pediatrics, University of Iowa
Patient Presentation An attending physician overheard a resident talking with a father on the telephone in clinic. The parent had asked the resident to give a dosing schedule for over-the-counter cannabidiol (CBD) oil for a 7 year old with attentional issues because the bottle said to consult a physician for children under 12 years of…