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Children and Cannabis?

Proven research and results abound in the subject of the life-changing effects of medical marijuana on autistic children. In 2009, an article in the New York Times covered a young boy with an extreme case of pica. This condition, which compels the brain to eat non-food, and was so severe that the boy would eat his own shirts over the course of a school day, was relieved almost immediately after the boy ingested cannabis-infused cookies. Marijuana brownies have been shown to give ADHD suffering children focus and clarity, while OCD afflicted children have been calmed with just a drop of cannabis tincture. Based on these studies, a conclusion that medical marijuana is a valid alternative treatment for unmanageable neurological disorders would be logical. Following this theory, at least two of the sixteen states in which medical marijuana is legal have allowed its use for patient younger than 18. The biggest issue that medical marijuana now faces is the dichotomy of opinion in the scientific community about whether it is safe for children.

Those who fear for child endangerment through smoke inhalation need not fear: edibles and tinctures are the recommended treatments for these neurological conditions. The medicine can also be infused into bread, butter, candy and soda, which make medication softer on child lungs.

With smoke not an issue for child medication with cannabis, one may wonder what the still-present issues are. There are a few critics who suggest the gateway drug theory, which presumes that marijuana would lead users to more powerful drugs once they become used to the effects of marijuana, but the most common cause for apprehension is how use of the plant might affect brain development. Dr. Steven Sager, director of Echo, a Malibu, California-based teen drug and alcohol center, believes that medical marijuana has a negative effect on youth symptoms. He adds that cannabis may merely sedate the patient, hiding the underlying causes and presenting new problems like depression and anxiety. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Dr. Lester Grinspoon, who is a retired physician and professor of Harvard Medical School, states that although while there is no evidence medical marijuana will work, it is also remarkably non-toxic and unlikely to cause harm. Grinspoon has written several books on the subject and also experienced its healing personally: his son used cannabis to relieve the nausea and pain from chemotherapy treatments. Grinspoon believes that the most dangerous aspect of medical marijuana is public belief of the drug, saying that they have been brainwashed about it, yet there will come a time when marijuana is recognized as the wonder drug of our time.

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