My youngest daughter has Down syndrome. As I have learned more and more about cannabidiol oil, I wondered, “Is it safe and beneficial to give CBD to my child with special needs?” The best way to find out is to research it, so I did. Although I am familiar with the benefits of CBD, I was truly amazed by the things I learned about how it is being used for these special kiddos and about the results they are having. I chose to focus on three fairly common conditions: ADHD/ADD, Autism, and Down syndrome (Ds). For each condition, I looked at if CBD was being used and what the results have been so far.
How CBD Works
I want to make a brief summary of how CBD works in the body. If you have questions about this, please leave it in the comments, and it will be addressed.
The endocannabinoid system in our bodies helps to regulate hunger, anxiety, neuron function, and even pain. This system receives a signal from our bodies as soon as a cannabinoid like CBD enters the bloodstream. The brain and nervous system absorb the cannabinoid within a matter of minutes.
CBD and ADHD/ADD
First, let’s clarify what this condition entails. ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) refers to someone who consistently displays poor concentration and impulsiveness. ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder): a person with this disorder also shows impaired concentration, and impulsiveness as well as being in constant motion, or appearing fidgety.
I was surprised by how little information I could find about ADHD/ADD and the use of CBD oil. However, cannabis is mentioned in several articles. Many of the articles I read do not specify if they are using hemp or marijuana in the study.
Based on the things I have learned about how CBD works in the body; I would venture to say that CBD could help maintain the health of an individual with ADHD/ADD.
CBD is already known to calm anxiety. It is quite possible it could offer similar support to someone who felt agitated or fidgety. Later, I will address how CBD affects certain areas of the brain. Based on that information, I believe it could also support the brain function in the areas of memory and concentration. These are my own theories based on the information I have studied.
Some authoritative studies you can reference are listed here:
CBD is not a cure for any condition. Please consult your doctor before taking CBD or giving it to your child.
CBD and Autism
The use of CBD to support the health of kids with Autism, anxiety and epilepsy is on the rise. People are turning to CBD for their children because it is thought to be safe and non-addictive.
Results of studies are showing that CBD is having a significant, positive impact on decreasing the number of occurrences of seizures as well as the severity of those seizures. CBD is also having some success in changing aggressive behavior and self-injuring behavior. These are important steps in CBD use because controlling these situations could help a person with Autism maintain a stable life.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurobehavioral condition that usually manifests in early childhood. Someone with ASD may exhibit impaired social skills, impaired communication, and repetitive compulsive behaviors. Approximately 30% of those diagnosed with Autism also suffer from seizures. The CDC says that they now estimate the number of children to fall on the Autism spectrum to be 1 in 59.
I read about a study conducted in Israel. The study followed 60 children with Autism for seven months. During this time the children received high-CBD (20% CBD and 1% THC). At the completion of the study, the parents were given a questionnaire to fill out. Here are some of the findings:
- 80% of the parents saw a decrease in problem behaviors with 62% noting a significant improvement in behavior
- Approximately half (30) kids showed improved communication
- 40% said there was a decrease in anxiety (note: initially 20 parents had said there was no issue with anxiety)
The pharmaceutical companies are taking note. A new medication called Epidiolex is now available, and it is being used to treat two types of childhood epilepsy. This medication does contain CBD.
In 2018, New York University began two studies using CBD in helping children with Autism. CBD shows great promise in helping people with Autism have a greater quality of life, but more research is needed.
CBD and Down Syndrome
Down syndrome (Ds) is a genetic condition that affects approximately 1 in 700 births. It is found in both genders and in all ethnicities. Trisomy 21 or T-21 is the most common form of Ds, and it occurs when there are three copies of the 21st chromosome instead of only two.
A person with Ds processes information differently from a “typical” person. This is because their hippocampus and temporal lobe function differently. A typically developing child will process information and transfer the experience to long term memory. A child with Down syndrome has trouble transferring that same information into long term memory. Therefore, they have trouble retrieving the information consistently. Learning can become stressful and cause a great deal of anxiety for someone with Ds.
One reason for this difficulty is that the neurons in the hippocampus do not communicate properly. There also seems to be an imbalance between the neurons that excite and the ones that inhibit. The endocannabinoid system has been found to play a major role in regulating the functions of the hippocampus.
Another important thing to note is that if a person with Down syndrome lives long enough, they will (100% will) develop Alzheimer’s. The plaque associated with Alzheimer’s appears in people with Ds. In fact, between the ages of 30-40, studies have shown they already show a significant build-up of this plaque.
Enter CBD. Look at what we already know: In many cases, we can use CBD to maintain a stable mood and combat anxiety. Studies show CBD can create new pathways in the hippocampus. Newer cannabinoid therapies are even showing success in breaking down and preventing the dreadful Alzheimer’s plaque.
My daughter is six. She has Down syndrome. I wanted to know if CBD would be safe and beneficial to give to her. There are times she exhibits signs of anxiety, wringing her hands and twisting her hair. Often it occurs when she doesn’t have the words to explain what is happening or how she is feeling.
A few weeks ago, I noticed she was emotional and twisting her fingers. I decided to try the CTFO Anti-stress oral spray that I use for myself. I put 2 squirts into her juice at breakfast. When she came home from school, I noticed a happier smiling kid, but still doing the wringing of the fingers.
The next morning, I repeated the spray in her juice. She came home my happy bouncy girl. No agitation. No twisting the fingers.
The information about memory and plaque make me think that using CBD for my daughter on a regular basis could really be beneficial for her. For the next 60 days, I am going to start giving her 1 drop of CTFO 500 mg Full Spectrum drops (for more information about choosing a quality CBD oil click here). I want to see what if any changes it might cause in her memory and learning. (The reason I chose the 500 mg is due to some tendencies my daughter has for sinus and ear infections.)
Always remember to start with a low strength and a low dosage. This will help you notice subtle changes and possible side effects like mild headache. After the 60 days, I will update this post and let you know what happened.
Start your own experiment using CTFO CBD drops.
Click here to order your drops, backed by a 60-day money back guarantee.
Please remember that CBD is not a cure for any illness or condition. Always consult your doctor especially if you are taking medications.
Supporting Positive Behavior in Children and Teens with Down Syndrome: The Respond but don’t React Method by David Stein, Psy.D.