Pediatricians Warn of Overuse of Medical Marijuana in Children

Medical Marijuana Should Only Be Used for Extreme Illnesses in Children, Pediatricians Warn

medical marijuanaLast year, South Carolina was presented with a classic case of the need for legalized medical marijuana: Mary Louise was a child in South Carolina, and she suffered from a serious and rare epileptic disorder. Her mother, Jill, tried everything recommended by pediatricians to treat the disorder, and nothing worked for long, if at all. Except, Jill discovered, for CBD oil, or cannabidiol, which is a chemical derivative from marijuana used most often for medicinal purposes.

CBD can be derived from marijuana as an oil and used to alleviate symptoms of some neurological disorders such as epilepsy. THC, another prominent chemical in marijuana, is responsible for the “high” or euphoric feeling sought out by recreational users. Although the FDA has not conducted specific tests into the effectiveness of this form of medical marijuana, many people believe that the CBD compound has medicinal properties that alleviate pain and discomfort from chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, epilepsy, and cancer.

Since passing legislation legalizing CBD oil’s use in South Carolina in June 2014, Governor Nikki Haley opened the doors to potentially legalizing other forms of medical marijuana in the state. A new version of a medical marijuana bill is being debated in a House subcommittee, and could go up for vote this year.

However, medical marijuana has not been thoroughly studied: because federal law defines marijuana as illegal in all its forms, no large-scale medical studies have been conducted on its medicinal benefits. The state of Colorado recently proposed that, because it has both recreational and medical marijuana legalized, the University of Colorado could conduct some research into medicinal benefits.

Other studies on marijuana’s affects, however, show that it can harm the brains of users, especially children and teenagers. Pediatricians have issued a warning to parents that are interested in medical marijuana that they should only use the drug on children with severe medical problems, such as Mary Louise in South Carolina. The American Academy of Pediatrics stated that medical marijuana’s use should be limited “for children with life-limiting or severely debilitating conditions and for whom current therapies are inadequate.”

“The cart is so far ahead of the horse related to this drug,” said Dr. Angus Wilfong, of Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. Wilfong’s hospital was recently part of a study involving 30 children with severe illnesses to investigate CBD’s effects. Half the study group received a drug with the non-high-inducing compound, while the other half received a placebo. Although the results are still being analyzed, Wilfong says he knows 5 of his patients were involved in the study, and none have suffered side effects.

However, these same pediatricians are also urging the federal government to lift restrictions on marijuana, so that the plant’s medicinal properties can be studied and more thoroughly understood. The recommended switch “could 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.

“By placing this on Schedule 2, it would allow the FDA to be involved [in pediatric research] as the agency is in any study. Unless scheduling changes, this won’t happen. And there could be therapeutic benefits. The AAP is not opposed to medical marijuana, per se, but we feel it’s important that this be explored within the [framework of the] FDA process, where you have standardization.”

If You Face Marijuana Charges, Including Drug Charges for Medical Marijuana Use, The Strom Law Firm Can Help

If you or a loved one have been found with medical marijuana, you could face criminal charges ranging from misdemeanor to felony, depending on how much marijuana was in your possession, and what your intent was with the drug. The drug crimes attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. Do not let drug charges for medical marijuana hurt your reputation or your personal or professional future. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Contact us today for help. 803.252.4800

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