Some 73% of parents questioned in a US poll were open-minded about giving CBD to their children for medical reasons.
Researchers at the University of Michigan conducted a nationally representative survey of 1,992 parents with children aged three to 18 years in October 2021.
While the vast majority of those polled hadn’t considered giving their child a CBD product, 73% appeared open-minded about the possibility, saying it may be a good option when other medications don’t work.
Only 2% of respondents reported having given their child CBD, while 4% had considered it and 1% said their child had used it without their permission.
Typical reasons cited for giving CBD to children, or considering it as a treatment option, were anxiety (51%), sleep problems (40%), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (33%), muscle pain (20%), autism (19%) or for general well-being (13%).
Only 29% of those who had given or considered giving CBD to their children had talked the decision over with their child’s healthcare provider.
While 74% of respondents said administering CBD to children should require a doctor’s prescription, only 63% cited the recommendation of their child’s doctor as a strong factor in determining whether they would do so.
Most parents said side effects were the most important factor in making the decision (83%), with other considerations including whether the product was tested for safety in children (78%), its efficacy in children (72%), approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (58%) and product reviews (41%).
Most parents (71%) said they had never used a CBD product themselves, while 24% had done, 5% regularly.
Poll co-director Sarah Clark said: “Anecdotal stories of children benefiting from CBD may sound alluring, but just because it’s a plant product doesn’t necessarily make it safe or effective in children. We need more evidence to understand CBD’s short and long-term side effects in kids.”
“It’s important for parents to inform their paediatrician or other healthcare providers if they’re considering CBD use in kids so that they can discuss potential risks,” she added.