Editor's note: For more coverage of the 2020 AAP Virtual National Conference & Exhibition, visit https://www.aappublications.org/news/2020/08/21/nationalconference2020.
Signs screaming “CBD Sold Here” have popped up like weeds. Also abundant are the ills cannabidiol is purported to treat: anxiety, depression, insomnia, acne, pain.
David K. Becker, M.D., M.P.H., M.A., FAAP, an integrative pediatrician at Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at University of California, San Francisco, fields questions from families about using CBD for those conditions and more. But instead of launching into a review of the evidence, he poses some questions of his own: What have you heard? What have you tried?
“If I just start quoting literature, making statements about what we know and don't know, that may or may not be in line with what their questions are, what their experience is, and it could turn some people off,” said Dr. Becker, who also is co-medical director of the Pediatric Pain Management Clinic at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and a member of the AAP Section on Integrative Medicine Executive Committee. “For some people, they just welcome that information, and that's actually all they want. But I don't know that ahead of time.”
Yet, Dr. Becker is sure many pediatricians would appreciate information on CBD, including its physiologic effects, risks and benefits. He aims to provide these details during a session titled “Advising Families on Cannabidiol: A Primer on How to Cool Off a Hot Topic,” which is available via the virtual platform through Jan. 31, 2021.
“These days, I imagine it is difficult to be a pediatrician in most parts of the country and not be faced with questions about cannabis and related products,” he said. “My interest, like most of the topics that drew me to integrative medicine as well as pain management, stemmed from the questions families asked. I felt a responsibility to be better informed.”
During the session, Dr. Becker defines the terms cannabidiol, hemp, marijuana and cannabis. He also explains what is known about potential benefits and harms of CBD; what state and federal regulations are in place; and how to guide families on the safety and reliability of over-the-counter products.
“Hopefully, this session will fill in the gaps of the knowledge base about CBC — what we know and don't know about its physiologic functions, the current legal and regulatory environment, and hopefully some added tools on how to have these conversations with patients in general,” he said.