As many pharmaceutical drugs are designed for adults, children do not always respond to them the same way their parents do. But what can doctors do if a child is unresponsive to the conventional treatment? Recent studies suggest that there are possible benefits of medical marijuana in kids and adolescents. While a child's brain may not be influenced by usual drugs, it can be affected by marijuana components.
In cases when adult drugs cannot help, cannabis may turn out to be the only alternative. However, many parents and even doctors are still rather suspicious towards this kind of treatment. The main worry lies again in the child's brain—even if cannabis can help deal with severe conditions, how will it impact the brain in the future?
Recently, a neuroscientist from the University of Pennsylvania Proman School of Medicine, Frances Jensen, revealed the main focus of her study. The scientist studies cases when child's brain does not respond to adult drugs. She works with groups of infants who suffer from neonatal seizures. Their only hope is cannabis medicine.
As a mother of two boys, Frances concentrates on studying the adolescent brain and the ways different substances influence it. She is not the only one who studies the influence of cannabinoids on children's bodies and brain in particular. Dr. Ester Fride is an Israeli researcher who also advocates cannabis use in pediatrics. The doctor claims that young developing organisms are less sensitive to the psychoactive properties of THC.
The study shows that during the postnatal period, CB1 receptors are not fully developed—hence the insensitivity of youngsters to the psychoactive effects of THC. She concludes that children are less influenced by psychoactive side effects of cannabinoids and, thus, can be treated by medical cannabis. Her studies show that the use of cannabinoids in pediatric medicine has great potential.
We should also notice that the above-mentioned study indicates the psychoactive insensitivity among young children. But are adolescents as prone to this effect as toddlers? The statistic shows that, on average, THC effects are negligible among children under 13. Dr. Jensen's study highlights that cannabis influences teens differently. According to the study, teenager's brain provides cannabinoids more place to land, and they stay there longer. Besides, teens are more likely to develop an addiction to various substances that may lead to negative mental health consequences in the future.
The development of our brains during this period is very intensive; during this period, the brain develops in a way that is different from how it used to be in childhood. Scientists are not sure yet what functions cannabinoid receptors play in our development. During the period that cannabinoids stay in teens' organisms, the chemicals may influence the brain in different ways that may lead to surprising results.
It has not been proven yet that young children are 100% immune to the psychoactive effects of THC, but they surely have a different experience than the adults do. However, the herb is constantly proving to be a more and more effective pediatric medicine.