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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.

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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:
  1. Royal CBD — Editor’s Choice
  2. Gold Bee CBD Gummies — Best Value
  3. CBD Infusionz Gummy Candies — Widest Selection
  4. Hemp Bombs CBD Gummies — CBD Isolate-Based
  5. 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:

  1. To alleviate or prevent nausea before a long car ride (this doesn’t work with all children)
  2. As an alternative pain management option for mild pain (more severe pain should be treated with the most appropriate options available)
  3. To alleviate anxiety in anxious or autistic children
  4. To support a full night of sleep in children experiencing insomnia (nightmares is a common cause)
  5. To alleviate symptoms of certain epileptic conditions (Dravet’s syndrome)
  6. To relax the lungs and chest muscles to help with coughing
  7. 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 [5] — 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.

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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 [4]. 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 [1].

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 [2].

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 [3].

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:

  • Eczema
  • Ingrown hairs
  • Dry, flaky skin
  • Rashes
  • 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 [6].

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.

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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 Dosage: How Much Should You Take?

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Table of Contents

  • Determining the Best CBD Dosage for You
  • How to Calculate CBD Dosage
  • How to Take CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD) is growing increasingly popular, thanks to its many purported health benefits and non-intoxicating properties (most CBD products contain less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC). In fact, 60% of U.S. adults have tried CBD at some point and believe it has medicinal benefits, according to a recent Forbes Health survey of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by OnePoll. As research evolves and sheds light on CBD’s efficacy, especially for pain relief, more and more people are adding it to their daily wellness regimens.

Consumers can choose from a variety of CBD products, from oils to gummies to vapes to capsules. But figuring out the safe and effective CBD dose for an individual is a complex decision.

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Here’s how to find the right CBD dosage for you and how to consume it safely.

Determining the Best CBD Dosage for You

With the exception of one CBD product, a prescription drug used to treat seizures associated with particular syndromes, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate the use of CBD. (In fact, it’s illegal to market CBD as a supplement or add it to food.) Therefore, it’s best to consult a doctor with experience in CBD administration to determine your ideal dosage.

Expressed in milligrams (mg), CBD dosage largely depends on the conditions and symptoms you’re trying to treat and your unique endocannabinoid system, which is associated with motor control, behavior, emotions, the nervous system and homeostasis. CBD dosage remains an area of active research—more large, high-quality studies are needed in different populations to determine appropriate dosing, efficacy and safety guidelines.

“It’s best to start small and gradually increase your dose up to a level that gives you the desired effect,” says Cheryl Bugailiskis, M.D., a cannabis specialist at Heally, a telehealth platform for alternative medicine. Your starting point might look like half a CBD gummy or a drop of oil. Ideally, navigate this process under the guidance of a qualified physician.

If you’re still not sure where to start, mydosage.com offers a questionnaire and CBD calculator to help you based on your specific symptoms and usage goals.

How to Calculate CBD Dosage

When you consume CBD gummies, capsules or softgels, dosage is typically expressed per unit. For example, there may be 50 milligrams of CBD in each individual gummy. These products don’t offer much dosage flexibility since you can’t split up capsules easily. For instance, if one softgel capsule didn’t provide your desired result, you would have to take another full capsule, doubling the total dose.

CBD oil, on the other hand, makes it easier, to begin with a small dose. But calculating CBD oil dosage can be less straightforward. Oils and tinctures tend to come in a dropper bottle and, typically, only the total liquid volume and CBD contents are listed on the label. For example, the label might simply state there’s 1,500 milligrams of CBD in the 30-milliliter bottle.

But what does 1 milliliter look like? Due to the current lack of regulation of CBD, this calculation can be tricky. Start by figuring out the volume of a single drop in your dropper, which is usually 0.05 milliliters, according to Dr. Bugailiskis. If you’re unsure, ask the company.

Here’s where math comes in. Let’s continue with the 30-milliliter bottle with 1,500 milligrams of CBD and 0.05 milliliters in a single drop as our example.

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1500mg÷30mL = 50 mg/mL

This bottle contains 50 milligrams of CBD per milliliter. Let’s see how many milligrams are in a drop:

50mg/mL ×0.05mL/drop = 2.5mg/drop

Each drop contains 2.5 milligrams of CBD.

Next, you can calculate how many drops you need to reach your goal dosage. Let’s say you want to consume 25 milligrams each day.

25mg÷2.5mg/drop = 10 drops
10 drops ×2.5mg = 0.5mL

With this CBD oil dosage calculator as your guide, you would find that you needed to consume 10 drops, or 0.5 milliliters, to reach 25 milligrams. And if you intend to consume 25 milligrams daily, you can expect this particular bottle to serve as a 60-day supply.

Some CBD products do some of this math for you and illustrate how many milligrams are in a milliliter, some even marking these points on the dropper so you know exactly what you’re taking.

CBD Dosage for Different Ailments

Without FDA approval, there is little guidance in the U.S. on how much CBD a person should consume for various conditions.

In many medical studies on CBD, you see administered doses reach hundreds of milligrams a day, which sounds severe compared to our starting dosage example of 25 milligrams. However, Steven Phan, founder of Come Back Daily, a CBD dispensary in New York, points out that patients in these studies are often dealing with serious flare-ups and pain-inducing conditions compared to everyday dispensary customers.

Below are clinically-studied CBD dosages based on different ailments and conditions. Note: Some of the formulations studied contained THC as well—not all available dosage research sticks strictly to CBD.

Condition Dose* Anxiety 300mg–600 milligrams a day [1] Linares, Ila M. et al. Cannabidiol presents an inverted U-shaped dose-response curve in a simulated public speaking test . Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry. 2019;41(1):9-14. [2] Bergamaschi MM, Queiroz RH, Chagas MH, et al. Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naïve social phobia patients . Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011;36(6):1219-1226. Select forms of epilepsy Starting at 2.5 milligrams per kilogram of the person’s body weight twice daily [3] EPIDIOLEX- cannabidiol solution. DailyMed. Accessed 7/4/2021. Central neuropathic and cancer-related pain A maximum of 30 milligrams a day (or 12 sprays) [4] Sativex Oromucosal Spray – Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC) – (emc). Datapharm. Accessed 7/4/2021. Opioid addiction 400 or 800 milligrams a day [5] Hurd YL, Spriggs S, Alishayev J, et al. Cannabidiol for the Reduction of Cue-Induced Craving and Anxiety in Drug-Abstinent Individuals With Heroin Use Disorder: A Double-Blind Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. American Journal of Psychiatry. 2019;176(11):911-922. Arthritis A maximum of 30 milligrams a day (or 12 sprays), or 250 milligrams applied topically [4] Sativex Oromucosal Spray – Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC) – (emc). Datapharm. Accessed 7/4/2021.

*Dosages are based solely on small, short-term clinical study results where CBD proved significantly successful over placebo. Much larger studies are needed to further strengthen the evidence.

FDA-approved Epidiolex administers CBD orally as a liquid to treat seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Dravet syndrome and tuberous sclerosis complex. The dosage of Epidiolex is determined by taking the patient’s weight in kilograms (kg) into account.

Several countries, including Canada and those in the U.K., have approved the use of Sativex, an oral spray with equal amounts of CBD and THC, to treat pain stemming from multiple sclerosis. Canada has also approved it for treatment of cancer pain.

The medical and research community still has a long way to go before figuring out what dose works best for each condition. At an individual level, consumers can experiment with caution until they find what works best for them.

Partner Offers feature brands who paid Forbes Health to appear at the top of our list. While this may influence where their products or services appear on our site, it in no way affects our ratings, which are based on thorough research, solid methodologies and expert advice. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services

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How to Take CBD

Popular ways to take CBD include:

  • Oils and tinctures (extracts of plant material dissolved in ethanol): A liquid that comes in a bottle with a dropper
  • Gummies: A soft, chewable candy that’s often fruit-flavored
  • Sprays: A liquid that comes in a bottle with a nozzle for spraying into the mouth
  • Capsules: Tablets or softgels that are ingested by mouth
  • Vapes: CBD oil that’s heated without ignition, resulting in an inhalable vapor
  • Flower: Dried hemp plant that’s often ignited and smoked
  • Edibles: Any food that CBD oil has been added to, such as brownies or chips
  • Drinks: Any beverage that’s infused with CBD, often in the form of hemp extract

Your CBD product of choice will largely depend on your personal preferences, as well as your budget since prices vary depending on the potency of ingredients and manufacturing processes. Different mediums also offer varying levels of bioavailability—or how much of what you take is actually absorbed into your bloodstream to have an effect. For example, if you ingest 10 milligrams of CBD via 1 milliliter of liquid, your body might absorb about 60% of it, or about 6 milligrams.

Cannabinoids generally have a low bioavailability compared to other substances, according to Jordan Tishler, M.D., a physician specializing in cannabis treatment in Massachusetts. However, “products that contain emulsifiers like egg yolk (brownies) or lecithin (some gummies) do better,” he says.

With that said, ingesting CBD via gummies or other edibles may take longer to take effect since the CBD has to travel to your digestive system to be broken down and absorbed.

Can You Take Too Much CBD?

Like with any substance, you can take more CBD than your body can handle. Studies show doses up to 1,500 milligrams a day have been well-tolerated, but every person is different [7] Bergamaschi MM, Costa Queiroz RH, Zuardi AW, Crippa JAS. Safety and side effects of cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent. Current Drug Safety. 2011;6(4):237-49. . Ingesting too much CBD can cause unpleasant side effects, such as dry mouth, nausea, diarrhea, upset stomach, drowsiness, lightheadedness and general disorientation. While rare, liver damage can also occur.

What’s more, CBD can have serious interactions with certain medications. In evaluating available information on five prescription CBD-based medications, researchers found 139 medications could have a potential drug-drug interaction with CBD [8] Kocis PT, Vrana KE. Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol Drug-Drug Interactions. Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids. 2020;3:61–73. . People who take certain blood thinners, heart rhythm medications, thyroid medications and seizure medications need to be particularly careful.

At the end of the day, not all supplements are created equal, which is why it’s important to work alongside a health care provider when adding CBD to your wellness regimen and research reliable brands. And while emerging research and anecdotal evidence is promising, more large, randomized-controlled trials are needed to further understand the benefits of CBD and its dosing.