Children and Medical Marijuana
Prior to prohibition conflict over children and medical marijuana medications was not an even an issue. It was commonly prescribed and used to treat over 100 separate illnesses. By 1851 it was a recognized medicine in the 3rd edition of the U.S. Pharmacopoeia under the name of Extractum Cannabis (extract of hemp).
There was no restriction on treating children with medical marijuana and it was regarded as benign and helpful for many ailments. More than 20 prescription medicines containing cannabis were readily available in pharmacies right up until 1942, when cannabis was officially removed from the Pharmacopoeia due to prohibition.
Today its benefits are widely recognized and it is become legally available in more countries as common sense prevails. Whilst medical marijuana for adults is now an acceptable form of treatment for a host of ailments there is still controversy about treating children.
Most stem from ignorance but there are also valid arguments regarding the psychoactive effects of THC and the lack of studies relating to the effect of cannabinoids on the developing brain.
The lack of research regarding cannabis-based medications is wholly due to the fact that it is still classed as an illegal drug.
CBD is the non psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant and research has led to exciting developments regarding its medical use, particularly in pediatric medicine, where the lack of any associated high feeling can positively assist doctors with regard to treating children and medical marijuana medications.
CBD oil for children and medical marijuana for kids
More parents are now treating kids with CBD oil. Cannabidiol (CBD) oil contains none of the psychoactive compound known as THC, and allows pediatric cannabis treatment without any associated high. Unfortunately while many individuals and groups are calling for pediatric use to be legalized, medical bodies like the American Academy of Pediatrics remain opposed to treating children with cannabis.
Cannabis is an inherently safe drug, far safer than aspirin for example and can be used over long periods of time without serious side effects. Dr. Leslie Iversen of Oxford University.
- The U.S. government actually holds a patent on CBD as an antioxidant and neuroprotectantant.
- CBD oil can be safely purchased online with no legal restrictions when it comes to treating children.
- When choosing a natural option to give to your children, safety is obviously one of the top concerns. Cannabis is a safe alternative with zero recorded fatalities in thousands of years of human use.
Cannabis dosage for children and medical marijuana efficacy
When treating children ensure you administer two hours apart from pharmaceutical medications and combine with a high fat snack to aid absorption.
Try to be consistent with the cannabis plant strains you choose to make or purchase your child’s oil.
Rectal dosing has been found helpful when wishing to avoid any psychoactive reaction if digestion is problematic, or when using cannabis in relation to children and medical marijuana medications..
Oils can be administered by syringe into the mouth or preferably onto a medium such as a biscuit, in capsules but also through G-Tubes. A gastrostomy tube (G-tube) is a tube inserted through the abdomen that delivers nutrition directly to the stomach. Use a clean syringe with each dose to avoid any possible contamination.
This applies to both CBD and full spectrum cannabis oil and gradually introduces the cannabinoids into the system over the course of 1 month. The aim is to be ingesting 1 gram of oil by the end of week 4. There will be a psychoactive effect from the full spectrum oil and suppository administration is a better alternative if wishing to avoid the psychoactive effect.
Mix 1 gram of cannabis oil with 20 grams of organic extra virgin (first press) olive oil. This mixture gives a ratio of 1/20g (0.05g) or 50mg cannabis oil per 1 gram of mixed oil.
Draw the mixture into a plastic syringe (available online). Apply 1 gram of this mixed oil onto a biscuit or cracker.
To accurately measure your dosage use an inexpensive jewelers electronic digital scale (available online) they generally measure 0.01g-200g.
Place the medium (biscuit, cracker, toast) onto the scales first and re-zero by pressing the zero button. Add the oil until 1 gram of your oil mixture has been dispensed onto the medium.
Dosage: Eat twice a day, morning and evening. This equates to 0.1 gram of oil (2 x 0.05g)
If making capsules or suppositories thoroughly mix 1 gram of cannabis oil into 20 grams of warmed organic coconut oil. Draw into a plastic syringe and fill capsules whilst mixture is cool but still workable.
Dosage: Administer 1 capsule twice a day, morning and evening. This equates to 0.1 gram of oil (2 x 0.05g)
Empty capsules are available to purchase online. A size ’00’ capsule holds approximately 1 gram of mixed oil. Place the capsule on the digital scales and re-zero as above. Fill with one gram using the plastic syringe.
Reduce the dilution to 1/10g by mixing 1 gram of cannabis oil into 10 grams of extra virgin olive oil or for capsules use coconut oil.
This will safely up the dosing to (0.1gram) or 100mg cannabis per gram of oil.
Dosage: Take twice a day to increase saturation to (0.2gram) or 200mg of cannabis oil a day.
Continue reducing the dilution and increase steadily over the following two weeks.
Within the first month 1 gram a day of cannabis oil should be tolerable and will be the standard dosage. (0.5 gram) x twice a day – 1gram.
Medical marijuana for children with seizures
A cannabis-based oil made from a low THC, high CBD plant strain has now been called “Charlotte’s Web” after a young girl named Charlotte Figi whose parents use it as a treatment to successfully medicate Dravet Syndrome.
Soon after birth Charlotte was having over 300 seizures every week and could no longer eat, talk or walk.
After exhausting prescription medications and attempting restrictive diet plans her parents eventually found two doctors who were willing to treat Charlotte with cannabis. They used cannabis oil that was made from the highest concentration of pure CBD, and insignificant traces of THC. Her seizures have been reduced to only 2-3 episodes per month, and they almost always occur when she is sleeping. Her physical development is improving, not only can she walk normally, but she can now also ride her bicycle. Her speech is developing and she is able to feed herself. Now around 180 children in Colorado receive Charlotte’s Web treatment for seizures.
Amy Brooks-Kayal, MD, chief of pediatric neurology at Children’s Hospital Colorado and professor of pediatrics, neurology and pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Dr. Brooks-Kayal is a pediatric epilepsy specialist and past president of the American Epilepsy Society when asked about treating children with marijuan:
“As medical providers in the neuroscience field who specialize in the care of children with epilepsy, the epilepsy program team at Children’s Colorado understands first-hand the medical complexity of epilepsy and the difficult decisions facing people with epilepsy and their families. The stories of families eager to try medical marijuana are incredibly moving and completely understandable -because any parent of a child with such a life-altering condition would do everything in their power to make their child better.”
A helpful guide is published online by Pediatric Cannabis Support
“Some kids are lucky and stop seizing from the first dose. We have them in our group. But a lot of kids take longer. My child took 8 weeks, some take months (and sadly some won’t respond at all). Treating your child with cannabis can be a commitment, requiring patience and tinkering. Some kids are only taking cannabis, others are using it in combination with pharmaceuticals. It may increase quality of life more than decrease seizure count. Individual response cannot be predicted. Educate yourself, ask questions, observe, document and connect with others. This will give you the tools to identify what works and doesn’t work for your child.”
Children and medical marijuana treatment for cancer
Mykayla Comstock was diagnosed with leukemia in 2012, aged seven-years-old. When she first began traditional cancer treatment, she was unable to eat and was in a lot of pain due to the chemotherapy and steroid drugs. While the chemotherapy helped reduce the level of lymphoblasts for a few days after treatment, they would soon spike up again.
The Comstocks researched and began administering cannabis medication. Mykayla now takes one gram of cannabis oil every day. Half in the morning, and a half at night. Her parents stated:
One week after we began the oil treatment Mykayla’s physicians notified us that her leukemia had vanished from her bone marrow and blood! She was in remission.
Never again will I fear cancer. We found the answer for children and medical marijuana! Mykayla is currently 6 months into the intense treatment part and has never used any pain relievers (not even Tylenol) and has only had to take anti-nausea medication a few times.”
Mykayla is still cancer free several years after her initial diagnosis. She has been off chemotherapy treatments and still continues to take cannabis oil regularly.
Cannabis is not a miracle cure and in the case of Cash Hyde it did not save his life.
However, with regard to the debate surrounding children and medical marijuana use the results demonstated improved quality and length of life.
Cash was diagnosed with a stage IV brain tumor at only 20 months and underwent emergency brain surgery, chemotherapy and experimental stem cell therapy to eliminate the 4.5cm tumor.
Doctor’s were only able to remove 10% of the tumor with surgery and the mass spread to his optic nerves, causing temporary loss of vision post surgery. Doctors had to tell the Hyde’s that Cash would either die of organ failure or a drug overdose. Chemotherapy was successful in decreasing the size of the tumor, but the aggressive nature of the treatment was difficult for the infant to handle. The high doses of pain medication were ineffective and he was unable to eat due to nausea and vomiting.
Two weeks after beginning cannabis oil treatment, Cash began to eat, smile and laugh again. He was able to replace seven different pain medications for 0.3 millilitres of cannabis oil. As his parents explain on the Cash Hyde Foundation website:
“Cash survived septic shock, stroke, pulmonary hemorrhage, pulmonary hypertension, all side effects of the chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants he had received. We were told after his 4th cardiac arrest episode he would have brain damage, organ failure and that he would ultimately die. However, he did not die, and it was because of the cannabinoid therapeutics that he was receiving and their Antioxidant and Neuroprotectant capabilities.”
Unfortunately, despite continued chemotherapy and cannabis oil his tumor returned when he was four-years-old and sadly was fatal.
In other cases, such as Mykayla’s, it has been successful and the children are now cancer-free. It is a difficult choice for many parents where cannabis medication is still illegal, however, cannabis can be safely and discreetly taken alongside pharmaceutical treatments and has proved effective in many cases.
Cannabis oil for ADHD children and medical marijuana use
ADHD is commonly treated with central-nervous-system stimulants or, less commonly, nonstimulants that affect norepinephrine and/or dopamine levels, and behavioral therapy.
ADHD drugs often have undesirable side effects including stunted growth, loss of appetite, sleep problems, headaches, stomach pains, tics, and emotional extremes. L. Alan Sroufe, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development, stated in the New York Times:
“Attention-deficit drugs increase concentration in the short term, which is why they work so well for college students cramming for exams. But when given to children over long periods of time, they neither improve school achievement nor reduce behavior problems. To date, no study has found any long-term benefit of attention-deficit medication on academic performance, peer relationships or behavior problems, the very things we would most want to improve.”
Dr. Lester Grinspoon is Associate Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Psychiatric Association,.and author of ‘Marijuana: The Forbidden Medicine,’ stated in a recent interview:
“I’d have no hesitation giving a youngster with ADHD a trial of oral marijuana. For some kids, it appears to be more effective than traditional treatments. Marijuana certainly has fewer potential dangers than Ritalin.”
A Californian mother who wishes to remain anonymous, recently spoke of her experience with cannabis and ADHD. She had struggled to control and understand her sons behavior since the age of six, but staunchly refused to follow her doctors recommendation that he be prescribed the pharmaceutical drug Ritalin. She stated:
“My son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 6. He was hyperactive and had trouble in school, but we didn’t want to put him on Ritalin. There were too many side effects. When he got to high school, I suddenly noticed that he’d calmed and could concentrate. I couldn’t figure it out. Then he told me that he’d started smoking pot.”
David Bearman, MD, is one of the most clinically knowledgeable physicians in the U.S. in the field of medicinal marijuana. He has spent 40 years working in substance and drug abuse treatment and prevention programs. His career includes medicine, provision of primary care, pain management and cannabinology.:
“Cannabis appears to treat ADD and ADHD by increasing the availability of dopamine. This then has the same effect but is a different mechanism of action than stimulants like Ritalin (methylphenidate) and Dexedrine (1) amphetamine which act by binding to the dopamine and interfering with the metabolic breakdown of dopamine. Cannabis (THC) is an anandamide agonist that is it stimulates the anandamide (CB1) receptor sites.”
Dr. Bearman hypothesizes that the anandamide-sometimes called the “bliss chemical”-slows down the rate of neurotransmission, and that stimulating anandamide receptors also stimulates Renshaw cells, which turn off some cells that provide sensory input and recommends treating children with cannabis medications to medicate ADHD.
The overall effect would be to increase the ability to regulate behavior and reduce the overstimulation that causes ADHD brains to become distracted.
Treatment for children with autism
There are several accounts of infants with autism and similar disorders finding life changing relief from parents understanding the needs of children and medical marijuana treatment. The most obvious signs of autism surface between ages 2 and 3, so groups like the Organization for Autism Research have been funding research efforts to help detect autism at earlier ages, as an early diagnoses may improve the effect of treatment options including cannabis-based medications.
There is a great deal of evidence supporting the theory that autism is increasing exponentially due in part to man-made poisons that are emitted into the environment. Basically toxic pollution from industry and petrochemical fuels.
“In 2032, 1 in 2 children will have an autism spectrum disorder – eighty-percent of boys, one in two children. The risk of autism for a child born today is one in twenty-five at least.” Dr. Andrew Wakefield.
Mieko Hester-Perez, is founder of the Unconventional Foundation for Autism, advisory board member to Cannabis Science.
Her son is Joey, the boy for which Aaron Justis of Buds and Roses Collective and cultivator Kyle Kushman developed Joey’s Strain for both children and medical marijuana users alike.
Hester-Perez discovered the many benefits of children and medical marijuana use when Joey, who has autism, was later diagnosed with Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy, a rare and aggressively degenerative muscular disorder.
He was given six months to live, and in that time, would need to take a cocktail of pharmaceutical medications, all of which have a severe degree of documented toxicity. At the time, he was already taking up to 13 different medications each day. After researching, Hester-Perez was advised to try cannabis. Curious, she experimented with giving her son cannabis-infused edibles. Soon after, Joey began making consistent eye contact which is always a struggle for children with autism.
The edibles seemed to stimulate his appetite and he put on weight. Six years after that six-months-terminal diagnosis, Joey is still happy, sociable and thriving.
If you need any advice or help regarding children and medical marijuana please use the contact form provided. We try to answer all emails within 24 hours and are happy to help and advise on all aspects of medical marijuana treatments in complete confidence.