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Medical Marijuana For Sick Kids?

Dorathy Gass

Medical marijuana use for sick children: it is currently a hot topic debate that many are going back and forth on. Reports from all over the globe are surfacing via social media, the internet, and television of parents happily stating how medical marijuana has helped their children when it comes to illness, seizures, or even its calming effects on youngsters who battle severe autism. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been enough research conducted to support the benefits of medical marijuana on children; yet evidence does exist on the harm it may cause a child’s developing brain.

As such, a new policy has been handed down by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) when it comes to this drug, and children. It states that medicinal marijuana should be only used for chronically ill children, who have tried other treatment options that have failed: proclaiming the treatment as a ‘last resort’ for parents. APP is siting the reasoning behind this policy is simply lack of research around the treatment, and potential side effects.

Is there a solution? A group at Stanford University seems to think they have the answer. They suggest an increase in research, however to do so, this means easier access to the substance. They propose that the U.S. government remove marijuana from the most restrictive drug category list – which includes heroin, LSD and other illegal substances with no accepted medical uses; and place it into the same category as methadone and oxycodone. Doing so will help, “make a big difference in promoting more research,” said Dr. Seth Ammerman, the policy’s lead author and a professor of pediatrics and adolescent medicine at Stanford University.

“The cart is so far ahead of the horse related to this drug,” said Dr. Angus Wilfong, of Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. “Marijuana has dozens of chemical components that need to be studied just like any drug to determine safety, proper doses and potential side effects,” he states.

Dr. Wilfong recently completed a research study where 15 children with severe epilepsy were given half a dose of an experimental drug with a marijuana compound in it, which would not get the children high. Another 15 children, with the same disorder were simply given a dummy treatment. The results of this research project are still being reviewed to see the potential effects medicinal marijuana may have on children. To date, Dr. Wilfong reports that five children from his hospital took part in the study, and while he can’t confirm if any of them received the treatment with the marijuana compound, he can say that none of the kids are showing any side effects.

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