Marijuana Can Help Children with Seizures, Cancer Nausea - Micha

Marijuana Can Help Children with Seizures, Cancer Nausea

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Researchers said medical marijuana is effective in treating some conditions in children, but they urge caution on using the drug in young patients.

Should kids and adolescents ever use medical marijuana?

Administering the drug to younger patients remains somewhat contentious, but it also appears effective in treating a limited number of symptoms.

According to a new study published today in the journal Pediatrics, medical marijuana is effective in treating seizures and chemotherapy-induced nausea in young patients.

Researchers conducted a meta-analysis, looking at 22 relevant studies on the use of medical cannabis on children and adolescents to reach this conclusion.

Of the many chemical components found in marijuana, researchers determined that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most abundant cannabinoid found in the plant, improved nausea and vomiting for young chemotherapy patients.

Cannabidiol (CBD) another cannabinoid present in marijuana was determined to have an effect on seizures.

Some advocates have hailed these results as further proof of the effectiveness of medical marijuana, particularly in cases where children haven’t responded to other traditional treatments.

“The real-world results of these programs indicate that cannabinoids can play a role in pediatric care, particularly in the treatment of life-threatening seizures, and that they can do so in a manner that is sometimes safer and more effective than conventional treatments,” Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), told Healthline.

Treatment not effective in all cases

While treatment for the above conditions using medical marijuana seems promising, the review concludes there’s little evidence to support its effectiveness in treating a wide range of other conditions in young people.

Researchers wrote that they didn’t find sufficient support for the benefits of medical marijuana on neuropathic pain, posttraumatic stress disorder, or Tourette’s syndrome in young patients.

Other health organizations have previously issued warnings on the use of medical marijuana (and recreational marijuana) in children and adolescents due to the risks it represents.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) previously warned parents about these dangers, which they say include weakened motor skill control and memory function, as well as mental health issues, including depression.

“Our research supports the AAP’s concerns that cannabis can be harmful to children’s brains,” said Dr. Shane Shucheng Wong of Harvard’s department of psychiatry and a lead study author. “Studies of children and adolescents who use recreational cannabis, particularly frequent use of high potency cannabis over longer periods of time, suggest negative effects on learning, memory, attention, and problem-solving ability.”

As such, appropriate dosing of medical marijuana is of the utmost importance for younger patients.

Careful usage urged

Currently there are only two synthesized cannabinoids that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as medications: dronabinol and nabilone.

Both are used to treat nausea and vomiting in children and adults.

AAP guidelines recognize the use of these two approved drugs in order to treat those conditions.

“The academy’s guidelines also recognizes cannabis may be an option for debilitating conditions, which includes seizures from epilepsy conditions,” said Wong.

The study authors warn that the use of the drugs in pediatric cases must be judicious because of the potential of psychoactive effects.

Naturally-derived cannabis — the actual components of the plant, including flowers and leaves — that are typically smoked or vaporized can have wildly varying chemical components and potency depending on the strain.

The same is true for marijuana concentrates and edible products.

The varying potency and chemical makeup of these products can make consistent, appropriate dosing more challenging in young patients.

To ensure oversight and appropriate usage, all states with medical marijuana programs require consent forms from a legal guardian and a physician to give kids access to medical marijuana.

Some states require the guardian to control dosage and frequency of use, but others do not.

As another safeguard, some states require two physicians to sign off on a minor using medical marijuana.

About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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2017's Top Ten Events In Marijuana Policy - Michael King

2017 Year In Review: NORML’s Top Ten Events In Marijuana Policy

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2017 was a big year for cannabis legislation. Below, NORML lists the top ten events in marijuana policy throughout the year.

#1: Public Support In Favor Of Adult Use Legalization Reaches All-Time High

Sixty-four percent of US adults – including for the first time a majority of self-identified Republicans – believe that the adult use of marijuana should be legal, according to nationwide polling data published in October by Gallup. The percentage is the highest level of support ever reported by Gallup, which has polled the question since 1969. Gallup’s results came just two months after a national Quinnipiac poll reported that 61 percent of voters support adult use legalization – the highest percentage ever reported in that poll’s history.

#2: Legal Cannabis Industry Responsible For 150,000 Full-Time Jobs

The legal cannabis industry is responsible for the creation of an estimated 150,000 full-time jobs, according to state-by-state data published in September by the content provider The total represents a 22 percent increase in the number of full-time cannabis-related jobs created since 2016. States reporting the largest number of cannabis-related jobs were California (47,711) Colorado (26,891), and Washington (26,556).

#3: Adult Use Laws Do Not Adversely Impact Traffic Fatality Rates

The enactment of statewide laws regulating the adult use and sale of cannabis is not associated with subsequent changes in traffic fatality rates, according to an analysis of traffic safety data published in June in the American Journal of Public Health. “We found no significant association between recreational marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado and subsequent changes in motor vehicle fatality rates in the first three years after recreational marijuana legalization,” authors concluded. Another study published last year in the same journal reported that the enactment of medical marijuana legalization laws is associated with a reduction in traffic fatalities compared to other states, particularly among younger drivers.

#4: Canadian Lawmakers Pledge To Legalize Adult Use By 2018

Liberal Party members introduced comprehensive legislation in April to regulate the use, cultivation, and sale of marijuana by those age 18 and older. Members of the House of Commons overwhelmingly approved the measure in November. The legislation now awaits action from the Senate. Liberal Party members have pledged to enact the legislation by summer 2018.

#5: Presidential Commission Ignores Evidence That Cannabis Mitigates Opioid Abuse

A final report issued in November by a Presidential commission on opioids refused to acknowledge science establishing that legal cannabis access is associated with reduced rates of opiate use, hospitalization, and mortality. Members of the commission had received over 10,000 communications from the public urging them to consider the role of legal cannabis in addressing the opioid crisis.

#6: Medical Marijuana Access Linked To Lower Medicaid Costs

Patients use fewer prescription drugs in states where access to medical cannabis is legally regulated, according to data published in April in the journal Health Affairs. Researchers reported, “[T]he use of prescription drugs in fee-for-service Medicaid was lower in states with medical marijuana laws than in states without such laws in five of the nine broad clinical areas we studied. … If all states had had a medical marijuana law in 2014, we estimated that total savings for fee-for-service Medicaid could have been $1.01 billion.” The findings are similar to those of a 2016 study which reported that medical cannabis access was associated with significantly reduced spending by patients on Medicare Part D approved prescription drugs.

#7: Anti-Cannabis Zealot Jeff Sessions Named US Attorney General

Members of the US Senate in February confirmed the nomination of Republican Congressman Jeff Sessions as US Attorney General. As a member of the US House of Representatives, Sessions once supported the death penalty for certain marijuana offenders and stated publicly, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.” As Attorney General, he has aggressively lobbied leadership to reject legislation protecting the rights of patients and providers in medical cannabis states from federal prosecution, and continues to mischaracterize as a substance that is “only slightly less awful” than heroin.

#8: Vermont Governor Vetoes Marijuana Depenalization Measure

Republican Gov. Phil Scott vetoed legislation in May that sought to eliminate criminal and civil penalties for the adult possession and cultivation of marijuana. However, a slightly amended version of the measure (S. 22) is likely to once again go before the Governor early next year – at which point he indicates his intention is to sign the bill into law. Vermont would be the first state to legislatively pass reforms protecting adults from both civil and criminal sanctions for possessing or growing small amounts of cannabis.

#9: New Hampshire Decriminalizes Minor Marijuana Offenses

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu signed marijuana decriminalization into law in July. The law took effect in September. Under the act, the possession of up to 3/4 of an ounce of cannabis and/or up to five grams of hashish by those age 18 or older is no longer criminal. New Hampshire was the only remaining northeastern state where minor marijuana violations were classified as criminal offenses.

#10: World Health Organizations Says CBD Is Safe, Should Not Be Restricted

Use of the naturally occurring cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) possesses no likely abuse potential and should not be subject to international drug scheduling restrictions, according to recommendations issued in December by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence. “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile,” WHO determined.

About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

Read More