KATE CLARK & ALAINA CROWELL
As the medical marijuana industry grows, so does the list of questions, particularly concerning the substance cannabidiol. If that doesn’t ring a bell, maybe its acronym, CBD, will.
Commonly found in oils, capsules, or topical creams, it is claimed to treat multiple ailments, even in children; but, are these benefits real?
Some facts first: While CBD is the second most prevalent active ingredient of cannabis, it is actually derived from the hemp plant. Therefore, it cannot produce the “high” sensation. The World Health Organization issued a report in Nov. 2017 detailing that “CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential,” meaning it is not addictive by itself. CBD products containing less than 0.3 percent of THC are legal for Connecticut residents to use whether they are enrolled in the state’s Medical Marijuana Program or not.
Of the few studies conducted to test how effective CBD is in managing anxiety and insomnia, results only suggest that it could help. Most studies conclude that there simply need to be more studies. The strongest medical proof of CBD’s benefits lie in its ability to treat rare childhood epilepsy syndromes. Despite the lack of evidence for anxiety and insomnia management, some, including sophomore Mya Wynn, continue to use CBD products.
“I use CBD oil to calm me down when I am anxious…and to deal with stressful situations like boatloads of work and school,” said Wynn.
Wynn isn’t alone, as a poll taken on Jan. 16 showed that out of 164 students at ELHS, 34 percent use CBD products regularly, which include edibles, capsules, topical creams, and even bath bombs.
Connecticut residents 21 and over can purchase these products in CBD stores, but states such as Iowa and Georgia require that purchasers be 16 or over. Despite the varying age restriction, no state has legislation limiting the ability to carry CBD products, meaning that it is legal for adults to purchase CBD products for minors to use or carry.
So if CBD is legal for teenagers to use, can they use it in school or keep it in the nurse’s office? The answer is not entirely clear.
“Even if it’s a medication or along those lines, it would have to be permitted through the nurse,” said head of security, Chris Olsen. “The laws are sometimes behind it… but I would say at this point it’s not permitted [in school.]”
In an Instagram poll taken on Jan. 16, 74 percent of 144 students asked said CBD products should be allowed in school. Junior Cowboy Buller agreed, saying that as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, it shouldn’t matter.
A major concern with teens using CBD lies, still, with the lack of scientific evidence stating clear benefits.
“The biggest problem [with CBD] is there’s a lot that we still need to know, especially in kids,” says Dr. Paul Mitrani, clinical director at the Child Mind Institute. “In regards to treating mental health disorders in children and adolescents, there’s a lack of evidence to support its use.”