May 9, 2016 8:20 AM

Cannabis and Children: Marijuana in Pediatrics

Cannabis has proved to be an effective remedy for various diseases. However, most medical marijuana studies explore the issue of treating adults. There are only a few papers published on the effects of weed on children. It seems that pediatrics can benefit from using cannabis or its components as well. During the last decade, many newspapers were filled with the stories of medical marijuana miraculously treating children with epilepsy, leukemia, and severe autism.

But do children experience this kind of treatment just like the adults do? Does marijuana influence the little ones in the same way it influences grownups?

Marijuana Exposure

The first rule to remember when having marijuana in a house with kids is to keep cannabis away from them. While in some cases doctors may prescribe medical cannabis to children, unchecked use of marijuana by minors is definitely not recommended.

Unfortunately, the statistic shows that since 2003 marijuana exposure among kids has grown. Overall, the rates are not terribly high, but enough children under six accidentally consume marijuana every year. The increased numbers may be the result of the growing popularity of weed edibles―marijuana-infused brownies and cookies are very attractive for small children who are used to putting everything in their mouths. The majority of exposed children suffer from confusion, drowsiness, irritability, and lack of coordination. The only safe way to treat a child with cannabis is to consult a medical professional.

Until recently, the very thought of prescribing marijuana to children was just a ridiculous joke. Who would want to make their child high? We all know that marijuana's components are psychoactive which almost screams: “NOT safe for children!” However, the plant has many various components. THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects, but CBD can neutralize them.

Many scientists advocate using CBD to treat children when they are unresponsive to other medications. Epilepsy can be successfully treated with CBD alone. However, children with leukemia and autism are often prescribed medications that contain not only CBD but THC and other components as well. Unfortunately, medical cannabis treatment does not have a solid basis in science yet, and the lack of studies is a great disadvantage. Either way, numerous anecdotal articles and surveys prove the effectiveness of this kind of treatment.

News Spread Fast

It is always hard to take risks when your child is involved. Thanks to those brave people who shared their true stories with the world, parents now have an opportunity to think about an alternative way to treat their children. The biggest revolution in the medical use of cannabis in pediatrics was made due to a bold support of CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta who created a documentary series called Weed and shared a story of a four-year-old girl with Dravet Syndrome who was blessed with the new kind of treatment. The girl was relieved from terrible seizures by taking cannabis oil that was high in CBD. After that, one story after another flooded the media popularizing medical cannabis even more.

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