Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of the author and is not medical advice. Please talk to your doctor before utilizing any treatment(s) for your child.
When our son was diagnosed with ADHD, we were surprised to learn there was an explanation for his defiance. Honestly, we simply thought he was a child who’s rebellion was over the top, compared to other kids his age. But, with the ADHD diagnosis, we learned he also had oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) as well. Apparently, it’s quite common for kids, but mostly boys, to have a dual diagnosis when dealing with mood and behavior disorders. His doctor and therapist walked us down a long road between play therapy, medication, and occupational therapy. It can be exhausting.
My husband and I really struggled with the idea of putting our son on medication. Trust me when I say, we aren’t those parents who believe traditional medicine is the devil. We don’t disagree with that way of thinking either, we just prefer to identify a balance between homeopathic remedies and the need for traditional medicine, if we can. However, the concept of putting our young son on a medication that has addictive trends is not something we settled with easily.
But, we knew we had to entertain and establish a plan before he went into first grade, aside from our sanity. Because after all, our sons’ inability to control his impulses and his anger, were like that of a blender going off without its lid. We wanted to protect our son from the stigmas of children with mental disorders, as well as from bias opinions of the education system with all the technicalities. So, with great reservation, we agreed to our son taking Adderall.
After about a year on the medication, a good friend of mine whose daughter also struggled to find balance with her ADHD and ODD, recommended we consider CBD oil. We had read several articles, including testimonies from adults with ADHD, as well as parents with children fighting the disorder, who had found great success using CBD. It’s unlikely that you haven’t heard of CBD oil and its benefits, but in case you haven’t, CBD is also known as cannabidiol oil. Although it’s not marijuana, it does come from the hemp derivative, which is a part of the marijuana plant. THC is the compound that when ingested gives the euphoric or high feeling in its user. Legally, CBD can only contain a maximum of 0.3% THC, which really is nothing. Hence, the reason it’s legal for us to administer to children.
There is very limited research on whether CBD oil has actually helped kids with ADHD, though there are limited studies where kids and young adults with epilepsy or anxiety have seen improvements. Which is what prompted the discussion around CBD helping patients with ADHD. Recently, there have been small research groups who have concluded that they’ve seen no improvements in cognitive or memory behaviors in children with ADHD consuming CBD.
I am sure, with the growing interest to change the stigma around marijuana and it’s medicinal use, it’s the very cause for the increased enthusiasm around CBD oil and treating medical or behavioral health issues. People want it to work, so they can say, see a marijuana subsidiary saved my child. Either way, because we knew families who were experimenting with their children and found they either could decrease the amphetamine medication, or completely take their child off the medication, we wanted to see if CBD held our “miracle” too.
Let me begin by setting the stage for our experience with CBD oil. Our son is six years old, and his biggest problem is finding the right ways to control his impulses around being angry. Furious actually. He has a very short temper. Naturally, just like any kid his age when he hears the word No, he immediately switches to angers little minion. The difference with our son is he gets physically aggressive. We have two other boys who are younger than him, they observe and absorb everything he does, good and bad. To make matters even worse, our youngest son, who is three, has now began to show even more extreme symptoms of ADHD and possibly ODD. My husband and I made the decision based on the fact that we didn’t want to medicate our three-year-old, and with the circumstances of our oldest son we concluded that it was best to at least try CBD oil for both of our boys.
First, we bought a low-grade bottle of CBD oil at grocery store. We wanted to start out small and with a low milligram to test the effects. From the first drop of sublingual oil, we noticed a slight change in calming effects. That first night both of our boys slept through the night for the first time in months. In spite of the CBD, they both were still struggling behavior wise, but we didn’t expect a miracle overnight. After further research, we found a well known and established CBD product distributor, and made our first big purchase. We bought a variety of sublingual oils and gummies. The package included bottles of 500 mg and 1000 mg CBD.
Based on the available research, which is limited, because it’s still considered a fairly new product, finding the right dosage for each person/child is different. As suggested we started out small. We began with one vial dropper of the 500 mg sublingual CBD for each kid. Over a period of a month we found the right dosage for each one of our boys.
Brennden is currently taking 2 vials of the 500 mg three times a day sublingual, and Junior is taking 2 vials of the 1000 mg two times a day.
We knew we had found the right dosage for them each individually when specific areas of their lifestyles began to increasingly improve.
We have seen such a positive change in both of our boys since we established a healthy routine of CBD oil in their daily regimen. Our oldest son, Brennden, has not been able to stop taking his Adderall just yet, because the medication helps him focus in ways I am not sure CBD oil will ever offer him. Nonetheless, we have been able to reduce his Adderall milligram use per day. CBD oil has been incredible for our family. Not only has it helped our children in many ways, but both my husband and I have been able to use CBD to reduce anxiety, stress, and pain relief. We used to struggle as a unit to find balance and peace, as well as offer support to our children through the highs and lows of these disorders. But not so much these days.
With the combination of support and services of our therapist, the small dose of Adderall and CBD oil our kids experience:
– Better sleep
– More balanced moods
– Healthier appetites
– Better eating habits
– Less tantrums and quicker deescalation
– More focus at school which has led to academic growth
– Healthier relationships between friends and siblings
As a family we will continue to pack our days with adventures, mastering our love languages, play therapy, and CBD oil. We have a long road ahead of us, but we have new tools to make that road smoother and maybe a little less red-faced angry. Every day will be different but there is a hope for the future that wasn’t there before, because of CBD.