Commercial Cannabidiol for Community-Based Young Adolescents: Predicting Medicinal Use

Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2024 May 7. doi: 10.1089/can.2024.0015. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: Cannabidiol (CBD) is rising in popularity, including as a potential medicinal product. Yet data on use of commercial CBD for medicinal or health reasons in adolescents are lacking. In this study we aim to detail characteristics of adolescents given commercial CBD for health reasons (health CBD [hCBD]) and to investigate predictors of use. Materials and Methods: The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study is a population-based cohort study following U.S. healthy, community-based adolescents annually, with data from 2018 to 2022 (11- to 15-year-olds; N=11,189). Participants and caregivers completed questionnaires, including whether adolescents were given CBD with parent or doctor's permission. Participants reported past-month pain, attention problems, externalizing symptoms, internalizing symptoms, and total mental health problems. Caregivers reported youth sociodemographics, sleep problems, whether the youth had mental health treatment or sought medical treatment, and rules about recreational cannabis use. We describe youth given hCBD, and run generalized estimating equations predicting odd ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals of adolescents given hCBD by mental health, physical health, or sociodemographics of factors. Results: Of the 11,189 participants across up to three waves of data, 48% were female. Mean age across waves was 12.8 years old (SD=1). In total, 307 (2.8%) were given hCBD. Common administration methods were oil (42%), topical (31%), and edibles (29%). Increased hCBD odds were associated with being older (OR=1.32 [1.17-1.49]), White (relative to Black, OR=05.97 [2.81-12.65] or Hispanic, OR=1.82 [1.17-2.82]), parents with some college (relative to no high school diploma, OR=3.55 [1.09-11.6]), internalizing symptoms (OR=1.81 [1.13-2.91]), mental health treatment (OR=1.76 [1.3-2.38]), pain (OR=1.38 [1.09-1.76]), medical treatment (OR=1.39 [1.08-1.79]), and sleep problems (OR=1.69 [1.27-2.25]). Rules against recreational cannabis decreased odds of hCBD (OR=1.75 [1.30-2.36]). Conclusions: Findings indicate some healthy adolescents are given hCBD, and predictors of use include mental and physical health concerns, being White, older, and parents with some college education. Providers should ask if their youth patients are being given CBD medicinally, and transparently discuss potential benefits, consequences, and unknowns of CBD.

Keywords: CBD; adolescents; cannabidiol; commercial CBD; medicinal CBD.