Updated: May 7, 2020
With the ever growing number of states and countries legalizing medical cannabis use, more and more people are opening their minds to the possibility that cannabis might help them or their loved one. Yet there are still countless families that have not considered how cannabis might help their child. This is partly due to the residual stigma associated with cannabis, and also simply because not everyone is aware that children can be medical cannabis patients. The fact is in many states, including Florida, minors can absolutely get a medical cannabis card. But how does a parent know if cannabis is right for their child? What are the risks associated with giving cannabis to a child? Does this mean children are smoking joints or getting stoned every day? All questions to consider when learning about pediatric cannabis use.
Many times parents discover cannabis as an option for treatment after that they have exhausted traditional treatments. Maybe the child has uncontrollable seizures, cancer, autism, ADHD or another neurological disorder. Anxiety, insomnia and even some skin conditions are also ailments that could effectively be treated with cannabinoids. Sometimes the traditional treatments are unsuccessful, other times the side effects and long term effects of these treatments are so detrimental that parents are desperate for an alternative. With the list of qualifying conditions growing as more research becomes available, more families are turning to pediatric cannabis use. As a result, thousands of children are getting off pharmaceuticals that made them a zombie, seizures are controlled, tumors are shrinking, self injurious behaviors and aggressive behaviors towards others is diminishing and non-verbal children are beginning to speak. Families are getting relief that they had hoped for.
As with most new treatments, and especially since cannabis has been vilified as a hard drug for decades, there are often concerns about risk. There are studies showing THC being harmful to developing brains in children and teens. Alternatively, CBD is known to be neuroprotectant and promote neurogenesis. However it's important to remember that research has been limited due to prohibition of cannabis, further research is needed and welcomed. Since parents don't want to put their child at risk, they can be hesitant to consider cannabis. Something that is important to think about in addition to possible risks with cannabis, is the known and unknown risk of the current treatments the child is on. Many of the pharmaceuticals children take have laundry lists of side effects and long term damage. Parents with the guidance of their child's cannabis physician, should weigh the risks and benefits associated with traditional medicine. Other risks associated with pediatric cannabis use may be relating to legal trouble. Some families choose to uproot their entire lives to relocate to a state where they can legally give their child cannabis. When the benefits outweigh the risk, it's much easier to decide to give cannabis to your child. Once that decision is made, the parent needs to learn how to give their child cannabis and which cannabis product works best for them.
The incredible part about using cannabis medicinally is there are a variety of ways to consume it and different parts of the plant at different ratios can offer a wide array of therapeutic effects. With some knowledge and support from cannabis specialists and experienced communities, parents can determine what works best for their child's needs. Whether it's a tincture, edible, plant matter capsule, raw cannabis juice, or vaping, in most cases it takes some trial and error to find the best fit. Since cannabis has over 113 cannabinoids as well as terpenes, flavonoids and other important compounds, there are a wide variety of products on the market. Some products offer specific cannabinoids that are isolated, other products are broad and full spectrum. There are ways to effectively use cannabis without intoxication, so children are not getting stoned. Education is absolutely key, but remembering that even though this plant has some powerful healing power, it has never killed anyone and should absolutely be considered as treatment for people of all ages.