MAY 30, 2024 11:49 AM PDT

3% of Young Teens Use CBD Products for Health Reasons

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

 Almost 3% of healthy adolescents aged between 11 and 15 years old have used commercial cannabidiol (CBD) products for health-related reasons. The corresponding study was published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research

CBD is a non-intoxicating chemical found in the cannabis plant. It was legalized in the US via the 2018 Farm Bill through hemp products, which are defined as containing less than 0.3% intoxicating cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).  Since then, products containing CBD have become widespread across the US and are available in stores, dispensaries, online retailers, and even coffee shops. 

In the current study, researchers investigated CBD use among adolescents. To do so, they analyzed data from 11, 189 healthy, community-based 11-15 year olds collected between 2018 and 2022. Participants and caregivers completed questionnaires including information such as whether adolescents were given CBD with parent or doctor’s permission, as well as their experience of various health conditions.

Ultimately, the researchers found that 2.8% of adolescents used CBD for health reasons. Oils, topical treatments, and edibles were the most common routes of administration. Being older, white or Hispanic, and having parents with some college education were linked to a higher likelihood of CBD use. Health conditions increasing the likelihood of use included sleep problems, pain, and some mental health symptoms. None of the participants reported prescription CBD use. 

"While this study documents that about 3% of young teens have been given CBD for medicinal reasons, we believe this is likely an underreport. Parents might not be comfortable saying they're giving CBD to their kids, even though they're trying to help them,” said lead author of the study, Natasha Wade, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UC San Diego School of Medicine, in a press release

The researchers also conducted hair toxicology testing on a subsample of participants. They found that 23% of those who used CBD products had THC in their hair, suggesting that some parents may not realize their children are consuming products containing THC. Wade noted that this finding highlights the need to regulate CBD products and ensure they contain what their labels claim.

"We know very little about what CBD effectively treats in youth, and at what doses,” said Wade,“There are also some adverse effects associated with CBD use. The goal of any medical treatment is to ensure the health and well-being of the child, so talking with doctors is essential to make sure the best decisions can be made for each child."


Sources: EurekAlert, Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research

About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets.
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