We Give CBD Oil To Our Sons With ADHD
April 16, 2019 Updated March 12, 2021
Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of the author and is not medical advice. Please talk to your doctor before utilizing any treatment(s) for your child.
When our son was diagnosed with ADHD, we were surprised to learn there was an explanation for his defiance. Honestly, we simply thought he was a child who’s rebellion was over the top, compared to other kids his age. But, with the ADHD diagnosis, we learned he also had oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) as well. Apparently, it’s quite common for kids, but mostly boys, to have a dual diagnosis when dealing with mood and behavior disorders. His doctor and therapist walked us down a long road between play therapy, medication, and occupational therapy. It can be exhausting.
My husband and I really struggled with the idea of putting our son on medication. Trust me when I say, we aren’t those parents who believe traditional medicine is the devil. We don’t disagree with that way of thinking either, we just prefer to identify a balance between homeopathic remedies and the need for traditional medicine, if we can. However, the concept of putting our young son on a medication that has addictive trends is not something we settled with easily.
But, we knew we had to entertain and establish a plan before he went into first grade, aside from our sanity. Because after all, our sons’ inability to control his impulses and his anger, were like that of a blender going off without its lid. We wanted to protect our son from the stigmas of children with mental disorders, as well as from bias opinions of the education system with all the technicalities. So, with great reservation, we agreed to our son taking Adderall.
After about a year on the medication, a good friend of mine whose daughter also struggled to find balance with her ADHD and ODD, recommended we consider CBD oil. We had read several articles, including testimonies from adults with ADHD, as well as parents with children fighting the disorder, who had found great success using CBD. It’s unlikely that you haven’t heard of CBD oil and its benefits, but in case you haven’t, CBD is also known as cannabidiol oil. Although it’s not marijuana, it does come from the hemp derivative, which is a part of the marijuana plant. THC is the compound that when ingested gives the euphoric or high feeling in its user. Legally, CBD can only contain a maximum of 0.3% THC, which really is nothing. Hence, the reason it’s legal for us to administer to children.
There is very limited research on whether CBD oil has actually helped kids with ADHD, though there are limited studies where kids and young adults with epilepsy or anxiety have seen improvements. Which is what prompted the discussion around CBD helping patients with ADHD. Recently, there have been small research groups who have concluded that they’ve seen no improvements in cognitive or memory behaviors in children with ADHD consuming CBD.
I am sure, with the growing interest to change the stigma around marijuana and it’s medicinal use, it’s the very cause for the increased enthusiasm around CBD oil and treating medical or behavioral health issues. People want it to work, so they can say, see a marijuana subsidiary saved my child. Either way, because we knew families who were experimenting with their children and found they either could decrease the amphetamine medication, or completely take their child off the medication, we wanted to see if CBD held our “miracle” too.
Let me begin by setting the stage for our experience with CBD oil. Our son is six years old, and his biggest problem is finding the right ways to control his impulses around being angry. Furious actually. He has a very short temper. Naturally, just like any kid his age when he hears the word No, he immediately switches to angers little minion. The difference with our son is he gets physically aggressive. We have two other boys who are younger than him, they observe and absorb everything he does, good and bad. To make matters even worse, our youngest son, who is three, has now began to show even more extreme symptoms of ADHD and possibly ODD. My husband and I made the decision based on the fact that we didn’t want to medicate our three-year-old, and with the circumstances of our oldest son we concluded that it was best to at least try CBD oil for both of our boys.
First, we bought a low-grade bottle of CBD oil at grocery store. We wanted to start out small and with a low milligram to test the effects. From the first drop of sublingual oil, we noticed a slight change in calming effects. That first night both of our boys slept through the night for the first time in months. In spite of the CBD, they both were still struggling behavior wise, but we didn’t expect a miracle overnight. After further research, we found a well known and established CBD product distributor, and made our first big purchase. We bought a variety of sublingual oils and gummies. The package included bottles of 500 mg and 1000 mg CBD.
Based on the available research, which is limited, because it’s still considered a fairly new product, finding the right dosage for each person/child is different. As suggested we started out small. We began with one vial dropper of the 500 mg sublingual CBD for each kid. Over a period of a month we found the right dosage for each one of our boys.
Brennden is currently taking 2 vials of the 500 mg three times a day sublingual, and Junior is taking 2 vials of the 1000 mg two times a day.
We knew we had found the right dosage for them each individually when specific areas of their lifestyles began to increasingly improve.
We have seen such a positive change in both of our boys since we established a healthy routine of CBD oil in their daily regimen. Our oldest son, Brennden, has not been able to stop taking his Adderall just yet, because the medication helps him focus in ways I am not sure CBD oil will ever offer him. Nonetheless, we have been able to reduce his Adderall milligram use per day. CBD oil has been incredible for our family. Not only has it helped our children in many ways, but both my husband and I have been able to use CBD to reduce anxiety, stress, and pain relief. We used to struggle as a unit to find balance and peace, as well as offer support to our children through the highs and lows of these disorders. But not so much these days.
With the combination of support and services of our therapist, the small dose of Adderall and CBD oil our kids experience:
– More balanced moods
– Better eating habits
– Less tantrums and quicker deescalation
– More focus at school which has led to academic growth
– Healthier relationships between friends and siblings
As a family we will continue to pack our days with adventures, mastering our love languages, play therapy, and CBD oil. We have a long road ahead of us, but we have new tools to make that road smoother and maybe a little less red-faced angry. Every day will be different but there is a hope for the future that wasn’t there before, because of CBD.
As a family we will continue to pack our days with adventures, play therapy, and CBD oil. Here's why CBD oil has helped my son with ADHD.
Is it Safe to Give a Child CBD for ADHD?
In this Article
- What is CBD?
- Does CBD Help ADHD?
- Is CBD Safe for Children?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is gaining widespread popularity. A 2019 Gallup poll found that 14% of Americans use CBD for issues such as sleep, anxiety, and pain. A medicine that contains CBD, Epidiolex, is used in children with a certain kind of epilepsy. CBD is being promoted as an alternative treatment for ADHD. You may be wondering if it’s a safe and effective treatment for your child with ADHD.В
What is CBD?
CBD is a component of cannabis and medical marijuana, but it’s derived from the hemp plant, a cousin of the marijuana plant. CBD by itself won’t get you high. It doesn’t contain THC, which is the chemical in marijuana that causes you to get high.В
CBD products are available in a wide variety of products, including oil, gummies, vaping, and lotion. Because marijuana and cannabis products have been illegal in the US since 1970, there haven’t been many studies done on them. CBD derived from hemp is now federally legal. However, CBD derived from marijuana is still federally illegal. В
Does CBD Help ADHD?
The research into whether CBD helps ADHD is very limited. Most of the available research has focused on cannabis products that also contain THC.В
A small study in 2017 found that adults treated with Sativex, which contains CBD and THC, experienced a small reduction in ADD symptoms with no cognitive impairment. However, the improvement was not significantly better than the improvement with placebo.В
Another study that was done in 2020 found that adults who took higher doses of medical cannabis took fewer ADHD medicines and reported lower ADHD scores.
There is no scientific proof that CBD works or is safe for children. Until there is some proof that CBD is safe or effective to treat ADD, stimulant medicines such as Adderall are still a better option. There is some evidence that CBD oil may help with anxiety, which some kids with ADHD also have. A 2018 study done on 60 children with autism showed that anxiety improved in 39% of the children.
Is CBD Safe for Children?
There is no evidence that the CBD products on the market are safe or effective for children. The FDA has only approved one CBD product, a prescription drug called Epidiolex that treats seizures associated with certain types of epilepsy in patients older than 1. Epidiolex has been studied in clinical trials. While it has proven to be effective at reducing seizures, it has shown significant risks and side effects including:
- Elevated liver enzymes
- Decreased appetite
- Sleep problems
- Increase in suicidal thoughts
- Interference in how other medicines including propofol, bupropion, morphine, clobazam, lorazepam, and phenytoin work
The long-term effects of CBD are not known. CBD oil has not been studied adequately in clinical trials for problems such as ADHD. The American Academy of Pediatricians of Pediatrics does not support any use of medical marijuana products that haven’t been approved by the FDA. В
Problems with Unproven Medical Claims
Any CBD products other than Epidiolex making medical claims have not been evaluated by the FDA. They have also not been evaluated to determine the proper dose or for any dangerous side effects or other safety concerns. The FDA has tested the chemical of CBD in some products and found that they did not contain the amount of CBD in which they claimed.В
Other Safety Concerns
In addition to possible side effects and unproven medical claims, there are some other safety concerns with CBD oil including:В
- Products deliver an unreliable amount of CBD. There is no way to know how much you’re getting.
- There is no way to know how much is absorbed. Different delivery methods such as vaping, taking it orally, and eating it have different rates of absorption.В
- Products contain other ingredients that may not be safe.В
- There is no way to know what dose to give your child.В
Child Mind Institute: “CBD: What Parents Need to Know.”
Contemporary Pediatrics: “Examining cannabidiol use in children.”
European Neuropsychopharmacology: “Cannabinoids in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: A randomised-controlled trial.”
Gallup: “14% of Americans Say They Use CBD Products.”
Harvard Health Publishing: “Cannabidiol (CBD) вЂ” what we know and what we donвЂ™t.”
Pediatrics Northwest: “Medical Use of Cannabis and CBD in Children.”
Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal: “Cannabinoid and Terpenoid Doses are Associated with Adult ADHD Status of Medical Cannabis Patients.”
Scientific Reports: “Real life Experience of Medical Cannabis Treatment in Autism: Analysis of Safety and Efficacy.”
US Food and Drug Administration: “What You Need to Know (And What WeвЂ™re Working to Find Out) About Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-derived Compounds, Including CBD.”
Learn if itвЂ™s proven safe to give CBD to your child with ADHD, along with common concerns about it.