This information is valuable for staff, students and parents.
Betty Mitchell,
Kingsway Regional School District,
Woolwich Township, NJ
   
   
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  What Parents Should Know About Kids Using CBD  
  ~ Partnership for Drug-Free Kids  
 

cbd cannabidiolTHC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the most well-known component of marijuana, and it is the one that “gets you high,” so to speak. But have you heard of CBD? Many parents haven't, or even if they have, they aren't sure what to make of it or even understand if their son or daughter is using CBD. What's certain is that it's becoming more and more widely available, and like vaping, is often marketed to young people. Below is an overview of CBD, the numerous forms it's sold in, its efficacy in treating various problems and current knowledge about its relative safety.

What is CBD?

CBD, short for Cannabidiol, is the largest non-psychoactive component of marijuana, and interest in its effects is growing. High levels of CBD and low levels of THC are found in most medical marijuana products, but the CBD industry has started to expand and market their products as “life promoting” to healthy individuals.

There are hundreds of online companies selling CBD, with the market estimated to grow to $2.1 billion by 2020. CBD tinctures, edibles, sprays, vaping liquid, capsules and items such as gels, hand lotions and shampoos are widely available, varying in price and CBD content.

Some of these products are illegal, while others can be purchased in a supermarket by anyone. The legality of CBD comes down to whether it is hemp-derived or marijuana-derived. Hemp and marijuana both originate from the cannabis plant, but cannabis crops grown for their flowers have high THC levels, while when grown for their fibers and stalks are usually called hemp.

Plants with high levels of THC remain illegal at the federal level, although state laws vary. Hemp-derived CBD is legal in all 50 states and can easily be purchased by anyone in a health store, food market or online. On the other hand, CBD derived from cannabis is not legal in every state, so it's important to check individual state laws on marijuana usage.

Why is CBD so Interesting to Young People?

The U.S. in general is becoming increasingly interested in CBD because of its ability to produce the medicinal benefits of cannabis without the high. It's seen as a potential medicine without the side effects typically associated with marijuana — especially for cancer, serious chronic pain and epilepsy. For the first time, the FDA approved a new drug based upon CBD derived from marijuana called Epidiolex in June 2018. It provides patients with a concentrated dose of CBD to treat seizures in rare forms of epilepsy.

Teens and young adults are using CBD as a homeopathic remedy for pain relief, depression and anxiety symptoms, acne, insomnia and boosting productivity. However, there's a crucial difference between CBD that's studied in labs for medical conditions like epilepsy and CBD products that are sold to consumers for well-being.

The biggest problem with CBD is that there is a lack of well-controlled trials and little understanding of the long-term effects. Further, the trials are focused on the action and benefits of the purified CBD compound, not an extract of CBD, which is typically found in commercial products. CBD products are for the most part unregulated, so users have to rely on the quality assurances of the companies that manufacture and sell them.

cbd products

CBD does not appear to be dangerous in and of itself for short-term use, but many CBD products contain dangerous chemicals or synthetic CBD oil. For example, there were 52 cases of serious adverse effects including seizures, loss of consciousness, vomiting, nausea and altered mental status, in Utah from 2017 to 2018 after people ingested a CBD product. Surprisingly, no CBD was found in blood samples, only 4-cyano CUMYL-BUTINACA (4-CCB), or fake CBD oil. There aren't any known brands that include harmful ingredients, but many producers do not test their products in labs nor share how they are produced. It's difficult to know what you are getting.

For the most part, side effects from CBD alone are minor (dry mouth, dizziness, nausea), but they can be serious if the CBD products interact with other medications. CBD and other plant cannabinoids can interact with many pharmaceuticals by hindering the activity of cytochrome P450, a group of liver enzymes, so other drugs don't metabolize as expected. Steroids, antihistamines, calcium channel blockers, immune modulators, benzodiazepines, antibiotics, anesthetics, antipsychotics, antidepressants, anti-epileptics and beta blockers could all potentially cause an adverse reaction when taken with CBD.

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