Melatonin Overdoses Among Kids Are Up 530%
Melatonin is one of the most popular over-the-counter sleep aids. A naturally occurring hormone, it governs the sleep-wake cycle and is sold as a dietary supplement to help battle insomnia, jet lag and other conditions. Melatonin sales are rising fast in the U.S., from $285 million in 2016 to $820 million in 2020, according to the market research group Statista.
But melatonin can pose real dangers for kids, finds a new study published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Accidental poisonings with melatonin among people 19 and under increased a staggering 530% from January 2012 to December 2021, with the biggest leaps occurring in 2020 and 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The research, led by Dr. Karima Lelak, a pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, relied on reports made over the past decade to the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System. During that period, the investigators found, 260,435 cases of pediatric melatonin poisoning were reported; in 2012, there were 8,337 such incidents, representing 0.6% of all reports. By 2021 the number had leapt to 52,563, representing 4.9% of the total—making melatonin the most frequently ingested substance reported to the system.
Nearly 84% of all of those incidents occurred in children 5 or under, and more than 94% of the total cases were considered accidental, with children finding and consuming the medication on their own. That kind of accidental poisoning is especially likely with melatonin since, while the product is sold in tablet, capsule and liquid form, it is also sold as sweet-flavored gummies—making it especially appealing to kids.
Melatonin overdosing can be a very serious matter, leading to nausea, headaches, diarrhea, irritability, and joint pain. In severe cases, it can affect the cardiovascular and central nervous systems. Nearly 4,100 of the reported cases required hospitalization, and nearly 300 of those hospitalizations were in intensive care. In five of the cases, children had to be placed on respirators; in two cases, the children died.
The pandemic has been an obvious driver of the problem. For one thing, children have spent more time at home—especially during 2020—creating greater opportunity for them to stumble upon and ingest melatonin. Adults also reported more sleep disturbances during lockdown, increasing sales of melatonin. “This pandemic-related increase in accessibility and availability might have contributed to increased exposures in children,” the researchers write.
The majority of the hospitalized patients were teenagers who had ingested the melatonin intentionally. Whether they overdosed accidentally or were attempting to self-poison—a disturbing trend that’s also on the rise—was not explored in the MMWR study.
Supplements including melatonin are largely unregulated, and a lack of quality control and dose regulation in the products is making the problem of melatonin poisoning worse. The MMWR researchers cite another study in which the quantity of melatonin contained in each dose deviated by as much as 10% from what was claimed on the label in nearly three-quarters of the bottles or packages studied. In one case, melatonin levels varied by as much as 465% between different lots of the same product. “The most variation,” the researchers write, “was found in the chewable formulation, which is most likely to be used by children.”
Can CBD Replace Melatonin?
To understand whether CBD can improve sleep, we first have to understand what causes poor sleep.
Many things can cause you to sleep badly. According to the Mayo Clinic, insomnia can be caused by:
- mental health disorders, such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression
- medication, which can disturb your sleep-wake cycle
- physical conditions, such as chronic pain and restless leg syndrome
- caffeine, especially when consumed late in the day
- environmental factors, such as loud noises or an uncomfortable bed
If your insomnia is caused by external factors or related conditions, CBD may help by treating the causes of sleeplessness.
While research on CBD is still in its infancy, some research suggests that CBD can treat anxiety.
A research study published in 2019 looked at whether CBD could improve sleep and or reduce anxiety. The study involved 72 subjects, with 47 experiencing anxiety and 25 experiencing poor sleep. The subjects were each given 25 milligrams (mg) of CBD in capsule form each day. In the first month, 79.2 percent of the patients reported lower anxiety levels and 66.7 percent reported better sleep.
Pain, which may also cause sleep problems, can be helped by CBD as well. Frontiers in Pharmacology noted that there’s a fair amount of evidence to support the claim that CBD soothes pain. The authors note that by reducing chronic pain, CBD can improve sleep.
Other research tells us that CBD affects the sleep cycle. Research from 2014Trusted Source looked at four patients with Parkinson’s disease. It found that CBD improved the symptoms of REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), a disorder in which a person acts out their dreams. RBD is associated with poor sleep and nightmares.
A 2017 review also noted that CBD may be helpful in treating RBD, and that it shows potential for treating excessive daytime sleepiness.
Grogginess, another symptom of insomnia, might also be affected by CBD. A 2014 research study found that CBD could have the potential to promote wakefulness, based on both human and animal research.
Message from 8Labs Founder & CEO
"We know that our CBD works, but we understand why you might be hesitant. There is a lot of misinformation about CBD out there. Don't worry, we are here to help answer any questions you may have. Welcome to your CBD journey!"
Our hemp has a unique chemical composition. It is extremely rich in CBD and other cannabinoids with less than 0.3% THC. Therefore, our products do not have any negative effects associated with marijuana and THC use. With 8LABS CBD, you receive all the positive benefits of hemp’s full spectrum of components, with absolutely zero psychoactive effects.
8LABS CBD products contain the full spectrum of cannabinoids including CBC, CBG, CBDA, CBN and others. Additionally, our extracts contain terpenes - organic hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of plants. Together CBD, other cannabinoids and terpenes all interact synergistically to create what scientists refer to as an “entourage effect” that magnifies the therapeutic benefits of the plant’s individual components—so that the medicinal impact of the whole plant is greater than the sum of its parts.
We have a strict quality control program including on site chromatography reviews and independent lab tests on each batch of product. These reports confirm that the components of hemp remain potent, completely undenatured, and fully active. We maintain high standards of purity and potency to deliver only the highest grade CBD.