Posts Tagged ‘
medical marijuana ’
Monday, April 20th, 2015
More than 20 states have legalized marijuana in the United States, but that does not make it any less of a complicated topic. A new poll reveals that Americans are not keen on medical marijuana being used by children, or even being used around them.
The Mott National Poll on Children’s Health represented a national sample of adults in the United States—10 percent of which either have a marijuana card or know someone who does.
Almost two-thirds of people believe that medical marijuana should be used by adults, but only half as many (a third) believe that children should use it.
Related: The AAP’s Current Stance on Marijuana for Kids
Most adults (80 percent) also believe that marijuana should not be used in the presence of children, and that belief was especially strong among adults with children under the age of 18. This is not entirely surprising because the number of children who have mistakenly ingested medical marijuana products has increased as the amount of prescriptions have increased.
This poll comes only a few months after the American Academy of Pediatrics updated it’s policy on medical marijuana and acknowledged that it could be beneficial for children with “debilitating or life-limiting diseases.”
“Our findings suggest that not only is the public concerned about the use of medical marijuana among children, but that the majority of Americans worry that even exposure to it may be harmful to kids’ health,” says Matthew M. Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P., professor and director of the National Poll on Children’s Health. “As is typical with anything involving health, the public’s standards are much higher when it comes to protecting children’s health.”
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn
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Image: Medical marijuana via Shutterstock
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Thursday, January 29th, 2015
Legalizing marijuana across the U.S. is still an ongoing debate, and the American Academy of Pedatrics continues to oppose using it for medical (and recreational) reasons. However, the AAP is updating their policy and making a new exception: supporting marijuana only for “compassionate use in children with debilitating or life-limiting diseases.”
No official studies have been published before on how marijuana (medical or recreational) affect children, but limited research on adults have shown that prolonged use can have negative affects on: memory, concentration, motor control, coordination, sound judgment, psychological health, and lung health.
But because research into the long-term pros and cons of marijuana use will take time, the AAP now recognizes that children with extreme cases of illness “may benefit from cannabinoids,” or the chemicals in marijuana that can help suppress pain and nausea.
However, “while cannabinoids may have potential as a therapy for a number of medical conditions, dispensing marijuana raises concerns regarding purity, dosing and formulation, all of which are of heightened importance in children,” says William P. Adelman, M.D., an author of the updated policy.
The AAP also included recommendations for protecting kids and teens who live in states that legalized marijuana, such as having federal and state governments focus more on the impact of marijuana on children, stricter rules on limiting marijuana access and marketing, and child-proof packaging.
Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com who covers baby-related content. She loves collecting children’s picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea
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Thursday, July 11th, 2013
The use of medical marijuana in children is becoming a hotly debated topic, with some parents expressing horror that the drug would be used on children, and others praising the possibilities that marijuana could help kids cope with disorders ranging from epilepsy to cancer and autism. More on the issue from NBC News:
Eighteen states, plus Washington, D.C., allow use of medical marijuana. A number of them provide prescriptions to children, with parental supervision, to treat a host of ills, ranging from autism to cancer to seizures.
Critics, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, argue that the remedy hasn’t been clinically tested in kids and might have some long-term ramifications.
[10-year-old] Zaki [Jackson's] parents were surprised at first and a bit taken aback. “We are Christians,” Jackson said. “We are conservative. And we’re using medical marijuana. That’s a kind of big hump for people to get over. Despite the stigma associated with cannabis, we owed it to Zaki to give it a try.”
Jackson said the results were immediate and stunning. “I probably stared at him for a good three hours after his first dose and then I fell asleep. I didn’t feel any seizures after his first dose,” his mother said.
In fact, it’s been eight months since Zaki’s last seizure and he’s finally starting to do normal kid activities, like ride a swing.
Zaki’s pot is provided specifically for him by a team of brothers who legally grow medical marijuana. It has been bred to have low levels of TCH, but higher levels of another cannabinoid called cannabidiol, or CBD.
While both cannabinoids impact pain, nausea and seizures, CBD isn’t psychoactive, said Dr. Margaret Gedde of the Clinicians’ Institute for Cannabis Medicine. That means that kids using this type of marijuana won’t get high.
Cannabinoids work by hijacking normal brain circuitry.
In other words, the cannabinoids in pot are very similar to substances our own brains naturally make, called endocannabinoids. These substances serve to quiet excessive activity, whether it’s in the immune system, in the gut or in the nervous system, Gedde explained to NBCNews.com.
When cells become overactive, a switch is thrown and endocannabinoids are released. Once they lock on to receptors in the brain, “a message is sent to tell the cells to calm down,” she said. “It’s a balancing system and it’s what keeps seizures from happening in healthy brains. In these kids the system is overwhelmed. It needs a little extra help.”
That’s where the pot comes in. For Zaki, it’s delivered in a syrup that he takes each day, which contains an extract of purified cannabis oil that is high in CBD, Gedde said.
While the drug seems to be working miracles for Zaki, some doctors believe its safety in children needs to be tested in clinical trials.
“I worry that we just don’t know enough about it,” said Dr. Sharon Levy, of the Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. “I think they’re putting their child at risk of long-term consequences of marijuana use that we don’t fully understand.”
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Wednesday, May 29th, 2013
Medical marijuana, which is legal in 18 states, can bring relief to the patient taking it, but it can also be a risk if it inadvertently falls into the hands of children. The rise in medical marijuana prescriptions over the past few years has also increased the number of emergency room visits and calls to poison control centers when young children ingest marijuana-laced products, such as brownies, cookies, and candies. The Boston Globe reports on the study, which was published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics:
Marijuana-infused products have become popular for patients who are unable, or do not want, to smoke the drug.
“In our study, most exposures were due to ingestion of medical marijuana in a food product,” wrote the study authors.
Dr. George Sam Wan of the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center and his colleagues compared the proportion of marijuana ingestions by young children who were brought to the emergency room before and after October 2009, when drug enforcement laws regarding medical marijuana use were relaxed.
The researchers found no record of children brought to the ER in a large Colorado children’s hospital for marijuana-related poisonings between January 2005 and September 30, 2009 — a span of 57 months.
By comparison, they found 14 cases involving marijuana ingestion between October 1, 2009, and December 31, 2011, a span of just 27 months.
Eight of the 14 cases involved medical marijuana, and all but one of those came from food products, the authors said. In all, eight of the patients had to be admitted to the hospital, with two of them ending up in intensive care. None died.
The ages of children studied ranged from 8 months to 12 years old. During those years, Colorado had no laws requiring medical marijuana to be sold in child-proof packaging.
Image: Child reaching for cookie, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, November 29th, 2012
The story of Mykayla Comstock, a 7-year-old Oregon girl who is undergoing treatment for leukemia, is at the center of a national debate on what age is appropriate to offer medical marijuana as a way to ease the symptoms of cancer treatments. The Oregonian newspaper reports on Comstock’s situation, which is unique in that her parents are divorced and do not agree on the use of cannabis in capsule form:
The Oregon Medical Marijuana Program serves 52 children who have a qualifying medical condition, parental consent and a doctor’s approval. Like adults, most cite pain as a qualifying condition, though many list multiple health problems, including seizures, nausea and cancer.
Allowing adults to consume medical marijuana is gaining acceptance nationwide. But Mykayla’s story underscores the complex issues that arise when states empower parents to administer the controversial drug to children.
Oregon’s law, approved by voters 14 years ago, requires no monitoring of a child’s medical marijuana use by a pediatrician. The law instead invests authority in parents to decide the dosage, frequency and manner of a child’s marijuana consumption.
The state imposes no standards for quality, safety or potency in the production of marijuana.
Little is known about how the drug interacts with the developing body, leading pediatricians say. A recent international study found sustained cannabis use among teens can cause long-term damage to intellect, memory and attention.
Many doctors worry about introducing a child to marijuana when they say other drugs can treat pain and nausea more effectively.
Mykayla’s father, who is divorced from the girl’s mother, was so disturbed by his daughter’s marijuana use that he contacted child welfare officials, police and her oncologist. Jesse Comstock said his concerns were prompted by a visit with Mykayla in August.
“She was stoned out of her mind,” said Comstock, 26. “All she wanted to do was lay on the bed and play video games.”
But Mykayla’s mother and her boyfriend, Erin Purchase and Brandon Krenzler, see the drug as a harmless antidote to leukemia’s host of horrors. The couple, regular cannabis users raised in Pendleton, said Mykayla relies almost exclusively on pot to treat pain, nausea, vomiting, depression and sleep problems associated with her cancer treatment.
Mykayla, who favors a knit cupcake cap to cover her fuzz of strawberry-colored hair, said marijuana makes her feel better.
It helps me eat and sleep,” she said, nestled against her mother on a couch. “The chemotherapy makes you feel like you want to stay up all night long.”
Marijuana, she said, “makes me feel funny, happy.”
“She’s like she was before,” her mother said. “She’s a normal kid.”
Image: Marijuana capsules, via Shutterstock
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