MyKayla Comstock is not the only adolescent medical marijuana patient. There seems to be a new trend in parents treating their seriously ill children with medical marijuana. Jason David is swearing by medical marijuana (the kind that doesn’t include THC) in helping his son heal from daily epileptic seizures. Jason claims that his son Jayden used to have seizures every single day and that the medicine he was on left him in a zombie state.
“I give it to him three times a day. He’s now on withdrawals from his medications, from 22 pills a day to one and a half now. Every time we take him off another pill, I’m getting my son back from being a zombie to being human again,” said Jason David.
Modesto police Lt. Rick Armendariz said when adults use medicinal marijuana, based on a doctor’s recommendation, the department doesn’t get involved. He said the department would have “concerns” if a child was being given the drug.
As I’ve said before the issue here is one of ethics – medical marijuana has been shown to have some medical benefits but like many drugs when abused (and abused quite frequently it is) there can be negative health effects.
In MyKayla’s case, her mother once gave her the equivalent of 10 joints a day. That’s insane, if you ask me but MyKayla is battling cancer and the effects from chemo are strong and damaging so I can only imagine the type of medications she was on to begin with. What’s the less of two evils – medical marijuana or manufactured prescription medications?
Tough one, right?
The battle here is in weighing the benefits of the positives versus the negatives and deciding whether it’s going to benefit the child in the long run. Who should ultimately determine that? The parents or the system?
According to the NIDA, about nine percent of people who use marijuana become dependent on it. The number increases to about 1 in 6 among those who start using it at a young age, and to 25% to 50% among daily users.
Ruben Baler, a neuroscientist with the National Institute on Drug Abuse emphasizes that “one of the main contributors to worse outcomes (of marijuana use) is the age at which you start… So we are particularly worried about young people who are using the drug.”
The concern, especially for young people, “is that you’re performing suboptimally during those years when you should be working at peak levels of performance,” he says. And with day-after-day use, the drug has a cumulative effect on achievement. Studies show that when marijuana is used chronically, “people achieve lower in academics, job performance and life satisfaction,” says Baler. “It’s difficult to understand why kids working so hard on their education would engage in an act that would lower their chance of success.”
Most people report physiological and psychological effects after marijuana use. Short-term physical effects of marijuana include increased heart rate, lowered blood pressure, and impairment of short-term and working memory. Behaviorally/psychologically, marijuana produces euphoria – a feeling of joy, relaxation, and increased visual, auditory, and taste perceptions. Most users also report an increase in their appetite. Unpleasant reactions that may result from smoking marijuana include acute feelings of panic, disorientation, or paranoia. The effects of THC last from a few seconds to several minutes after it is inhaled. Effects last from 30-60 minutes if marijuana is ingested.
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