The restrictions of the pandemic have been felt by everyone, but particularly for teenagers. For teens, COVID restrictions have meant months of virtual learning, more time isolated from friends, and the canceling of important social activities like sports, school performances, graduations, and proms. According to the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at Michigan Medicine, a national poll shows that 46 percent of parents say their teen had shown signs of a new or worsening mental health condition since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.
These trends, coupled with already high teenage anxiety rates, have sparked a growing interest in CBD as a potential treatment. As we know, CBD has been proven to ease anxiety in adults, but what about in adolescents?
While there hasn’t been much research to provide a definitive answer, studies are looking promising:
In 2015 a group of researchers led by Esther Blessing, PhD, of New York University, investigated the potential of CBD for treating anxiety. The results present the first clinical evidence of the positive effects of CBD on teenagers suffering with severe anxiety. Overall, the study indicates CBD has considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders.
A 2016 study done by Scott Shannon, MD, ABIHM studied the potential effects of CBD in treating anxiety and sleep disorders resulting from post-traumatic stress disorder. The findings support the use of cannabidiol oil as a safe treatment for reducing anxiety and improving sleep in young people with post-traumatic stress disorder, particularly when compared to pharmaceutical medication. While pharmaceutical medications provided partial relief, results were not long-lasting, and there were major side effects. A trial of cannabidiol oil resulted in a maintained decrease in anxiety and a steady improvement in the quality and quantity of the patient’s sleep.
Most recently, in 2019, Professor Nobuo Masataka, a professor at Kyoto University led an exciting clinical trial investigating the effects of CBD on teenagers experiencing Social Anxiety Disorder (or SAD). The results present the first clinical evidence of the positive effects of CBD on teenagers suffering with SAD. The teenagers who received the treatment with CBD had reduced anxiety when compared with the teenagers who received the placebo treatment. Additionally, none of the teenagers who participated had any significant health complaints following the trial. A final finding of interest was that 53% of the teenagers who received treatment with CBD oil went on to take the decision to receive treatment (medication and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) from a hospital whilst none of the teenagers in the placebo group sought any additional treatment. The fact that teenagers suffering with SAD who were treated with CBD were making positive steps towards ongoing treatment is a very encouraging sign and is worthy of note.
With these encouraging findings, it is still important to note the potential risks when teenagers take CBD. Some of the concerns to remain aware of include:
- Various delivery systems — tinctures vs. gummies vs. vaping — have different rates of delivery. Even the oils that the CBD is dissolved in can result in varying effects. Be sure to do your research and use quality products.
- Though CBD is safe itself, it may interact with other medications a teen is taking. Remain hyper-aware of these interactions.
- Since CBD use — especially for adolescents — is still so new, few people are familiar with dosing for non-adults, so determining how much to give your teen can be tricky. Clinical doses versus what you might find in common consumer products could vary dramatically.
Overall, current evidence indicates CBD has considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders within teenagers. Though robust clinical trials are clearly needed to identify a definitive scientific evidence base, and there is a need to identify the most appropriate doses of CBD in young adults, the future looks promising! If you are -or someone you know is- a teenager experiencing anxiety, consult your doctor to devise the best treatment plan. If CBD seems like a safe option, contact one of our knowledgeable staff members to learn more about the best quality CBD products to benefit your lifestyle.