Medical cannabis for children: Revised American Academy of Pediatrics policy

 In Medical Cannabis

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently revised their policies regarding medical cannabis.  While they remain opposed to legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes, they advocate for re-scheduling of cannabis so the promising anecdotal benefits can be studied more thoroughly. Most importantly, they acknowledge there are instances where medical cannabis can be the most compassionate option.

In my 35 years as a Family Physician, I’ve seen many children with debilitating conditions.  Cannabis has demonstrated tremendous therapeutic potential with minimal side effects, yet there are parents who have to risk arrest and prosecution for providing it to their children.  Fortunately, California, and now many other states, allow pediatric patients to access cannabis with a doctors recommendation.

I often see pediatric patients for cannabis consultations at my practice.  For many of these parents, medical cannabis is one of their last options, having tried and failed with traditional treatments.  Many of these medications traditionally used to treat children with severe conditions like epilepsy have very serious potential side effects which can be terrifying for a parent to give to their child.

I agree with the AAP that more research is needed on the medical benefits of cannabis and it should only be given to children who are in serious need and in consultation with a physician.  However, many of these children cannot wait for a long bureaucratic process and decades of studies.  They and their families need relief now.  I’ve seen enough families cry tears of relief during our follow-up visits, describing the amazing improvements of their children, it brings me pride to know that I can continue helping these parents and follow the progress of their amazing children.

I see seriously ill pediatric patients for cannabis consultations from around the country.  If you feel your child might benefit from cannabis, please call my staff to discuss setting up an appointment with me.  I am also willing to consult with any physician who deals with treatment-resistant children.

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