Experts Debate Safety of Medical Marijuana for Children

Experts are debating the safety of medical marijuana for children, NBC News reports. A number of states allow doctors to recommend a type of cannabis that doesn’t produce a high for children with conditions including cancer, seizures and autism.

The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes medical marijuana use in children, arguing it has not been clinically tested in this age group, and the long-term effects are not known, according to the article.

One type of medical marijuana used in children is bred to have high levels of cannabidiol (CBD), which reduces pain, nausea and seizures, but is not psychoactive. It can be given in a syrup.

“I worry that we just don’t know enough about it,” Dr. Sharon Levy of the Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, told NBC News. “I think they’re putting their child at risk of long-term consequences of marijuana use that we don’t fully understand.”

Dr. Margaret Gedde of the Clinicians’ Institute for Cannabis Medicine says marijuana “is a substance that’s been used for thousands of years and it has a known safety profile. And there’s a long history of women using it in pregnancy. If there was some terrible defect that came up in children exposed in utero, we’d know about it by now.”

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    David Turner

    July 10, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    There has been all too much rush (I know, “legalization” has been an issue at least since the 1960’s) to legalize pot, particularly by the smoking population. I doubt there is sufficient medical study to assure the safety of marijuana in any form, so the legislative rush to legalization of pot use under the fig-leaf of “medical marijuana” is just a political caving to a possible voting public, not a contribution to the medical needs of the public.

    And if marijuana does turn out to a rational medical use within safety limits afforded all drugs, then it should be prescribed in pill or, as illustrated in the article, syrup form. Pot smoking may serve the desire of pot-smokers to defy logic and enjoy the toxicity of an even more dangerous than cigarette smoke in the lungs. Certainly that does not serve the public interest!

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    July 10, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    This is my argument.
    As for Marijuana not having any conclusive proof of helping cancer (and other diseases) in children or otherwise, where’s the proof that any other cancer treatment works? Everyone I know that has taken Chemo/radiation has died.

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