Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound extracted from the cannabis plant. One of its desirable properties is that it's not psychoactive; therefore, it is widely incorporated in many health supplements.
But over and above this, cannabidiol is also believed to pack a host of health benefits. Existing evidence shows that CBD can effectively manage pain, anxiety, inflammation, sleep disorders, and certain neurological conditions (e.g., epilepsy).
Teenage anxiety is surprisingly common. According to the National Institutes of Health, roughly 1 in 3 adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 have social anxiety disorder (SAD). Girls are more likely to suffer from anxiety than boys. However, this issue is not getting any better.
Experts contend anxiety disorders are rising among teenagers and adults alike, marked by increasing cases of low self-control, narcissism, worry, sadness, and general dissatisfaction.
For instance, last year, a survey showed that almost half (48%) of U.S. teenagers are worried about experiencing social anxiety as they transition from a post-pandemic world. Another 43 percent are anxious about mental health challenges due to COVID-19.
But there may be light at the end of the tunnel. The emergence of super supplement cannabidiol may offer some hope for these teenagers. A poll found that over 60 percent of CBD users take it to reduce anxiety. And so, it would seem that CBD's anxiolytic properties are already well-established.
As for the prevalence of use, a study involving 200 U.S. teens showed that 40 percent had used CBD oil. Some thought it could help with their medical conditions, while others did it for fun. So there's no doubt that teenagers are already using CBD.
However, the million-dollar question is, is it bad for them?
Is CBD bad for teens?
CBD's popularity has exploded in recent years, especially in the U.S. It is marketed in practically everything from drinks to food to edibles and beauty products. The much-touted benefits are equally wide-ranging and include relief from anxiety, pain and inflammation, and insomnia, to mention just a few.
Whether CBD is good or bad for young people is really a question of who you speak to. To get an idea, medical students from Penn State College of Medicine conducted a study to determine if CBD use was linked to risk-taking behaviors. The participants were aged 12 to 23.
The findings showed that, in general, there were no indications that CBD users exhibited unusual symptoms over the last six months before the study. However, they were more likely to report being anxious (66% did).
The researchers did not understand why teenagers who used CBD reported being more anxious, yet it's one of the conditions it's marketed for.
Besides, the researchers also found that young people who use CBD are more likely to smoke or chew tobacco and abuse prescription drugs. Nonetheless, it was increasingly clear that young people believe in CBD's health-boosting properties.
The main concern with CBD seems to be that very little is known about it. Research into CBD is at the early stages, so scientists cannot say whether it may have long-term effects. Therefore, most health experts like Paul Mitrani, MD, a psychiatrist at Child Mind Institute, recommend that parents wait for further research findings before exposing their children to CBD.
But on a more positive note, there has been an increase in studies using human subjects to investigate the properties of CBD. One such study conducted in 2016 examined the effectiveness of CBD oil in managing insomnia and pediatric anxiety.
The case report was of a 10-year-old girl who has PTSD due to sexual abuse. Pharmaceutical medications only offered short-term relief and had side effects.
However, a CBD oil trial significantly helped reduce anxiety and steadily improved sleep quantity and quality. In the researchers' opinion, CBD oil given in 12 mg to 25 mg doses once daily appeared to relieve key PTSD symptoms with no observable side effects.
This study further investigated the permanency of the patient's improved condition and how much longer she would continue taking CBD oil.
Another study, this time by researchers at the Kyoto University Primate Research Institute, studied the impact of cannabidiol in treating Japanese teenagers with social anxiety disorder (SAD).
Seventeen participants aged 18 and 19 and exhibiting SAD and avoidant personality disorder were given cannabis oil containing 300mg of CBD. The control group (n=20) was given a placebo every day for four weeks.
The results showed that SAD symptoms significantly reduced, indicating that CBD could positively be used to treat anxiety. Again, the participants did not report any side effects following the experiment.
A growing body of animal and human studies continue to investigate the anxiolytic effects of CBD. In most of these, several procedures were used to induce anxiety in otherwise healthy volunteers.
One of the earliest studies on the effects of CBD on SAD showed that it reduced anticipatory anxiety.
In another, the researchers found that CBD exerted a considerable effect on increased brain activity on the right side of the brain (right posterior cingulated cortex), where emotional information is processed.
Another group of scientists demonstrated that CBD could reduce artificially induced anxiety (simulated public speaking) in people with SAD. It is noteworthy that subsequent studies have yielded more or less similar results showing that CBD intervention can reduce anxiety levels in teenagers.
Is CBD oil safe for teens?
In general, the issue with CBD is that scientists know pretty little about it. Even though anecdotal evidence suggests that it might have benefits, the fear is that there remain lots of gray areas.
So when it comes to using CBD on children, these are the areas of concern.
For starters, CBD products are not reliable in delivering the correct amount of CBD. Since the compound is not regulated, there are reasonable fears that some CBD products might have less or more of the CBD.
Even worse is that most products do not usually specify their contents. In other words, with CBD products, you cannot be sure of the quality.
While we now have insights into how CBD is absorbed into the systemic circulation, very little is still known about the exact quantity absorbed. Further, the various delivery methods, e.g., vaping, eating in food, or sublingual consumption, all have different delivery rates.
The consensus is that the effects typically vary depending on the delivery method used. Therefore, the amount of CBD absorbed can vary.
Lab testing of CBD products is not mandatory. Therefore, these products may contain other compounds besides CBD. In fact, a lab testing analysis recently showed that 25 percent of CBD products are not tested. Among the toxic compounds often found in untested CBD products include heavy metals, microbial contaminants, THC, and pesticide residue.
Without a Certificate of Analysis (CoA), it's pretty hard to verify the safety of a product.
Nevertheless, last year, the World Health Organization published a report stating that CBD generally has a good safety profile. It is well-tolerated by most people and has zero potential for abuse or dependence.
Up to this moment, there is no single evidence linking the use of pure CBD to health-related problems.
As for its much-touted medicinal value, the WHO referenced clinical studies that have shown the effectiveness of CBD in treating certain medical conditions like insomnia, chronic pain, inflammation, and anxiety. Thus far, only one CBD-based prescription medicine has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used in treating two rare types of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
Researchers are increasingly persuaded that in pure form, CBD may be safe. However, they are yet to establish how its interaction with other medications a child may be taking could affect metabolism in the liver.
Further, CBD use, especially for children, is new. So, not many people are familiar with the correct dosing procedures for children. Even adults are typically advised to start with lower doses and gradually increase until they achieve the desired effects.
Then there is also the possibility of children developing tolerance to CBD. Researchers warn that in such an eventuality, the condition that CBD was being used to manage or treat might worsen, further putting the child at risk.
But evidently, all these are conjecture. Since time immemorial, cannabis has been used as medicine to treat a wide variety of ailments. In the U.S., it was widely used for its medicinal properties in the 19th and early 20th centuries until 1937, when the federal government passed the Marijuana Tax Act.
Of course, the politics surrounding the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act is well-documented. However, had cannabis been harmful, we'd have a library of records showing as much.
For now, anecdotal and research-based evidence both point in one direction – CBD may, after all, be a safe and effective cure for a myriad of health conditions.
How does CBD help anxiety?
Research shows that CBD hinders the uptake of serotonin in the brain. Consequently, this increases serotonin levels in the body. In fact, people who suffer from depression, anxiety, anger, and chronic fatigue often have low serotonin levels.
So having higher serotonin levels in your system may contribute to minimizing anxiety. This is what CBD helps do.
Further, CBD has also been shown to promote the production of endocannabinoids by the endocannabinoid system. An important endocannabinoid in this regard is anandamide, which regulates emotions like euphoria, bliss, and fear.
Low levels of anandamide are closely associated with low mood and anxiety. Therefore, by stimulating the production of anandamide, CBD ensures that it stays in the body longer, thereby uplifting your mood.
Lastly, CBD is believed to stimulate neuron regeneration in the hippocampus. This is an interesting finding because brain scans of individuals suffering from depression and anxiety often show a marginally smaller hippocampus.
CBD benefits for anxiety
There are various ways in which you can benefit from using CBD. Studies have shown that CBD interacts with adenosine and serotonin receptors in the human body to reduce stress and enhance your mood.
For this reason, researchers believe CBD can be used to promote restfulness. It also possesses immense benefits for mood disorders originating from stress.
The relationship between stress and sleep is fascinating. It is known that stress more often than not affects sleep quality by prolonging overall sleep latency (the time it takes to fall asleep) and fragmenting sleep.
When this happens, the body typically triggers a stress response system that increases the concentration of the stress hormone cortisol, which further disrupts sleep.
CBD has a calming effect on the central nervous system. This effect is linked to better sleep scores in persons with anxiety. So, by helping you sleep better, CBD essentially reverses the cycle that leads to cortisol building up in your system, thus alleviating anxiety.
Is CBD good for teenage anxiety?
Anxiety is prevalent among teenagers. At the primary level, it pushes us to become better versions of ourselves. However, when it becomes extreme and interferes with a person's normal functioning, it becomes a disorder that needs proper medical attention.
In adolescents, anxiety can affect their concentration and harm their studies and overall productivity. If it persists, it may lead them to depression and suicidal tendencies.
With research showing that CBD has the potential to help people get relief from anxiety and stress, the debate we now have is whether the risks of CBD outweigh its benefits. Existing research indicates that CBD has almost zero side effects and can be used to help with teenage anxiety.
Choosing the best CBD oil products
The bottom line is that when buying CBD products, ensure you prioritize quality. If possible, review the manufacturer's test results since the product's quality significantly affects its safety and efficacy.
As always, we recommend vetted products like FOCL's collection of CBD products that include gummies, oil drops, and fruit chews.
The FOCL Premium CBD Drops are one of the most effective and quickest ways to get calming relief. It combines broad-spectrum hemp CBD infused into organic MCT oil for a smoother flavor and consistency. A few drops of this deliciously flavored product help you manage stressors like anxiety, physical pain, and insomnia.
You can also try our FOCL Premium CBD Gummies to manage nagging stress and anxiety. To suit your preference, these gummies come in three tasty flavors and the usual broad-spectrum CBD. With these, you will notice the effects within 30 to 60 minutes. So whether you want to fight stress, calm your mind, or sharpen your focus, these gummies are the go-to!
If you want something less intense, we recommend FOCL CBD Fruit Chews. Like the gummies, these also come in three fruity flavors with 10 mg of premium hemp CBD in each gummy. These are perfect for managing everyday stressors and keeping you calm and focused during the day.
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