Medical Marijuana May Help Sick Children, Says Pediatric Academy

Thomas Nelson | HigherPerspective

The push for the decriminalization of marijuana at the federal level just got a little bit stronger as the American Academy of Pediatrics, or AAP, has thrown its support behind medical marijuana for sick children.

The AAP recognized that medicinal marijuana may be a treatment option for kids “with life-limiting or severely debilitating conditions for whom current therapies are inadequate.”

Recently, 200 families moved to Colorado, where marijuana was legalized for adults in 2012, in search of medical marijuana for their children. Strains of pot like Charlotte’s Web have been shown, at least anecdotally, to control seizures in children.

“We don’t want to marginalize families who feel like this is the only option for their child because of crisis,” said Dr. Sharon Levy, chair of AAP’s committee on substance abuse and assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Levy was a co-author of the AAP’s statement.

“We understand why a desperate parent might say, ‘Look it’s going to take 10 years to do this research.’ We think that kind of compassionate use should be limited to children who are truly debilitated or at the end of life,” Levy told NBC News.

Aside from medicinal uses, the AAP is firmly opposed to marijuana use among children and young adults under the age of 21. But the group is throwing its support behind changing marijuana from a Schedule I illegal drug, classified along side drugs like heroin, to a Schedule II controlled substance.

“There’s never been a study of cannabinoids in any form that has included children. With that in mind, the AAP cannot endorse use of cannabinoid medication with children,” Levy said. “We do note, though, there have been anecdotal cases that look promising. And that suggests there’s a need for study.”

“We support reducing the barriers to do that.”

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