The thought of using medical cannabis as a treatment option for children is probably not the first thing in most parents’ minds even though it is becoming more and more popular nowadays. The truth is that medical cannabis is actually completely safe for treating many different kinds of childhood ailments.
In a lot of cases the primary component of cannabis that is being used to treat children is CBD (cannabidiol). Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the main psychoactive constituent in cannabis, CBD does not make you high meaning parents won’t have to worry about their kids becoming “zoned out” if they get treated with CBD. In many cases, CBD just might be the “miracle” that many parents are looking for when it comes to treating their children’s ailments. But make no mistake, THC is used to tread kids as well.
Educating parents about the benefits of marijuana backed by studies make it much easier for them to start treating their kids with medical marijuana. As a matter of fact, kids are actually exposed to cannabis quite early as breastmilk has been found to contain endocannabinoids which are a substance that helps babies develop and grow.
Here are some of the reasons why parents should not worry about using CBD on their children:
CBD Will Not Make Them Feel High
Most parents will obviously have reservations about using cannabis on their children because they often associate it with getting high. Well, the good news is that this is not the case with CBD because it will not make their kids feel like they are floating around in space. Yes, both compounds come from the same type of plant, but their effects are different.
THC makes you high by binding with the brain’s CBD1 (cannabinoid receptors), but CBD does not do this so it will not make you high no matter how much of this compound you consume.
Quality and Purity of CBD is Important
CBD oil that is 100% pure will contain no traces of THC, but there are CBD oils that are not 100% pure. When treating children with medical cannabis, safety is of the utmost importance. Most states do not allow the selling of CBD with traces of THC over-the-counter because they still consider it to be an illegal substance. However, the same cannot be said if you order CBD online since there is no guarantee whether or not the purchase won’t be considered illegal in your state.
The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) is currently working hard to crack down on anyone that sells CBD containing THC, but it’s going to be difficult trying to catch everyone who does this.
CBD from Cannabis Can Treat Plenty of Ailments and Illnesses
CBD has been found to be an effective treatment option for a wide variety of childhood ailments. This includes conditions such as epilepsy, anxiety, sensory processing disorders, and autism just to name a few. While there is not a whole lot of documentation available out there that can support using medical marijuana since it is new to the mainstream audience, there is still plenty of anecdotal and scientific research that can back up its overall effectiveness.
Some doctors are now beginning to acknowledge the positive effects of medical cannabis and are even supporting medical marijuana physicians. One of the most popular stories about medical cannabis’ amazing benefits involves a person named Charlotte Figi. Charlotte was given CBD to help calm her seizures that were caused by Dravet syndrome.
She suffered up to 300 seizures in a one-week span which left her unable to walk, speak, move or eat without any assistance. Feeling desperate, her mother went to their local dispensary and purchased some CBD oil, and it was this decision that ultimately changed their lives for the better. The CBD oil gradually reduced her seizures to just one per week, and her mother’s decision to purchase it for her practically saved her life.
CBD Oil Can Be Pricey as a Treatment Option for Kids
If you’re a parent who wants to use CBD oil as a treatment option, then you should know that it will not be cheap. This, of course, will depend on where you get it. There have only been around 80 cases of CBD prescribed on the NHS as of writing (March 2019)
While the price of CBD oil can be quite expensive, seeing your child feeling better is simply priceless, especially if you don’t have to resort to using opioids or other potentially dangerous pharmaceutical substances. As a parent, one of the best things that you can do is to get in touch with your GPs and educate them on the benefits of medical cannabis treatment.
Cannabis Effects Are Still Limited
Even though medical cannabis has been scientifically proven to be capable of treating certain ailments in sick children, its effects are still limited. While it can help treat children suffering from chemotherapy-related nausea and control epileptic seizures to a degree, there is not enough evidence to suggest that it can help kids with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), Tourette’s syndrome, and neuropathic pain among other medical conditions.
In the US, Medical cannabis is currently legal in 29 states, and children who live in one of these states can be given legal access to them provided that they get official certification their guardians and doctors. Because of this, both parents and doctors must have an understanding of what modern science knows and doesn’t know about medical marijuana before making a decision for the health and wellbeing of their children.
The Medical Uses of THC
CBD is not the only compound in cannabis that has medical benefits. THC, the primary ingredient and the one that makes users high has lots of uses as well. In this case, it can help reduce vomiting and nausea in young patients, particularly the ones who are undergoing chemotherapy for cancer.
Since 1985, the FDA has approved two drugs to treat the side effects of chemotherapy. These drugs are synthetic forms of THC, and they are known as nabilone (Cesamet) and dronabinol (Marinol). In addition to this, THC is also known to help provide pain relief. Studies have shown that THC can activate pathways in the brain’s central nervous system that helps block pain signals from getting sent.
There was even a clinical trial approved by the FDA confirming the effectiveness of THC in providing patients momentary relief from pain. THC, as long as it’s administered in low doses and under the supervision of a licensed professional, can be used to prove kids with pain relief.
Another reason why THC can be beneficial is that it can stimulate one’s appetite. This sensation is known as the munchies and makes one feel famished and ready to eat just about anything. It is ideal for children who have trouble eating due to the effects of chemo or other conditions.
However, administering any forms of THC in children should be done with caution as prolonged use may cause them to suffer from negative side effects that could otherwise affect their memory, learning, and problem-solving abilities, as children’s brains are actively developing leaving them more susceptible to THC’s side effects compared to adults.
Other potential short-term side effects of THC in cannabis include drowsiness, diarrhoea, dizziness, mood swings etc but these will wear off.
In the UK last year Alfie Dingley became one of the first children to get a medical cannabis trial in the UK
Medical Cannabis’ Biggest Barrier
Perhaps the biggest barrier that is limiting children from having access to medical cannabis is the lack of cannabis culture in countries all over the world. Even though there are scientific research and data to backup cannabis’ positive benefits, many still view it as an illegal substance.
Yes, more countries are now starting to make medical cannabis legal, but it is a slow process. The best thing we can hope for right now is for more parents and medical experts to become educated on the subject of medical cannabis. Those who are pro-cannabis hope to one day break down this stereotype that the mainstream audience has on cannabis and cultivate a society where cannabis, including the medical variety, will be an acceptable form of treatment for children.
Of course, we cannot forget about the political opposition as well because these are the guys who practically hold the fate of both recreational and medical cannabis in the palm of their hands. And we still have a fight on our hands.
Truth be told if medical cannabis were to be made legal nationwide in the United Kingdom a countless number of children could benefit from it. For now, we must not lose hope because one day everyone will see and appreciate the benefits of medical cannabis on our endocannabinoid system.