Can CBD Oil Be Used to Treat Anxiety in Children?

To get straight to the point, the research on the topic is inconclusive, but leans towards its safety. While there is evidence CBD oils can be used to treat anxiety symptoms in children, other research on cannabis use, which should be noted is not directly related to CBD oil only usage, seems to indicate that cannabis can alter a child’s growing mind, suggesting that any cannabis use should only be during adulthood.

Of course, cannabis by itself is a highly complex compound of over 500 chemicals, and CBD (cannabidiol) is just one of them. While this does not mean that CBD oil is necessarily harmless, harmful, or helpful for kids, it may mean that using CBD oil for children and teens should be done with caution and only under strict supervision.

Evidence of benefits

CBD oil has been claimed to do a lot of things, often with very weak evidence of its efficacy. But in treating adult anxiety, there is an overwhelming scientific consensus that CBD oils are beneficial for treating anxiety symptoms. Test subjects across multiple studies spanning generations have reported that CBD oil has reduced symptoms of excessive worrying, fatigue, agitation, irritability, and sleeplessness that have been associated with anxiety symptoms.

But what about its use for children? The current consensus is that CBD oil is most likely safe for children. It’s often indicated where legal for ADHD and especially anxiety. These conditions can create learning difficulties that children may have to cope with for the rest of their lives. Given the risks associated with mainstream pharmaceutical products used for treatments such as benzodiazepines, the low risk factor of CBD oil has a major appeal for treating anxiety in children.

Evidence against CBD oil for children

There is scant evidence that CBD oil alone is harmful to children. However, a recent seminal study showed that teens and young adults that regularly smoked cannabis ran significant risks to the development of their brains. The study demonstrates that cannabis does indeed have significant risks to brains that have not fully developed yet, with no ill effects on full-adult brains, but serious developmental stunting on young brains.

However, the study is focused on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active component of cannabis that causes the majority of the drug’s psychoactive effects. It was also focused on smoking, which is a faster pathway into the brain’s endocannabinoid system compared to the oral CBD that is often used when treating children for anxiety.

It’s also notable that with over 500 different active chemicals in cannabis, it’s difficult to pin down the thousands of possible interactions of all these different chemical compounds, an issue that continues to confound cannabis research to this day.


There should be minimal risk in using CBD oil for treating anxiety symptoms in children. However, it must be administered in a medical setting by trained physicians who understand the risks associated with prescribing such treatments. Please refrain from medicating your children yourself or attempting these treatments in a jurisdiction where CBD is not approved for such applications.