Let’s Fret over Children in Chemotherapy Using Medical Marijuana to Dull Pain

A mom in Oregon, upon discovering her 7-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia, wasted no time at all getting her little girl a license for medical marijuana. ABC News provides some details:

When 7-year-old Mykayla Comstock was diagnosed with leukemia in July, it was less than three days before her mother filed Oregon medical marijuana paperwork so the child could take lime-flavored capsules filled with cannabis oil.

The decision to give Mykayla the capsules came naturally to Erin Purchase, MyKayla's mother, who believes marijuana has healing power, but doctors aren't so sure it's a good idea. …

It's legal for a minor to enroll in the Oregon medical marijuana program as long as the child's parent or legal guardian consents and takes responsibility as a caregiver.

And Mykayla is not alone.

There are currently four other patients enrolled in the Oregon medical marijuana program between the ages of 4 and 9, six between the ages of 10 and 14, and 41 between the ages of 15 and 17, according to the Oregon Public Health Division. Severe pain, nausea, muscle spasms and seizures are among the top conditions cited for medical marijuana use.

Well, let’s give the media a little credit for focusing on the age of the medical marijuana user and whether the mother is moving too quickly rather than turning to anti-pot officials to declare out of hand that pot isn’t medicine.

Well actually, there’s this one person from the American Association of Pediatrics:

"The issue is that marijuana isn't a medicine," Dr. Sharon Levy, of the AAP, told the Oregonian.

A commenter on the Oregonian story wasted no time pointing out that Marinol, a drug prescribed to help ease the side effects of chemotherapy, contains synthetic THC, the psychoactive chemical in cannabis.

But outside of Dr. Levy, other medical experts were actually more concerned about the long-term effects of Mykayla’s drug use given that she’s so young and her prognosis is very good. Dr. Michel Dubois of NYU’s Pain Management Center weighed in:

Dubois said it would be better to give a child other drugs for nausea because the cannabis oil likely contains at least 50 or 60 different chemicals with unknown long-term health effects. If Mykayla's life expectancy is limited, her risk of toxicity will also be limited. However, if she is expected to make a full recovery, Dubois said there is a worry that the cannabis will add health problems later on.

There is a bit of worry in the story about how much of the potential long-term side effects of marijuana is unknown, which is the inherent outcome of poor research due to a governmental drug policy that declares by fiat that marijuana has no redeeming qualities. The story also has a creepy amount of Nanny State worrying from everybody (including an ex-husband) reluctant to allow a mother to make her own decisions about her daughter’s treatment.

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  • Concerned Citizen||

    I wish her a full recovery. I wish the drug war addicts a painful death.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    I have a research project I'm working on for my graduate studies. Any chance the government can just step in an declare what I'm trying to study "to have no redeeming qualities" and ban further research. Please; it could really free up my Spring.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    That. Or just declare all knowledge to be known, ban science, and don't risk discovering anything that might be politically incorr...der, I mean "a public danger."

  • califernian||

    Quote from reality today: The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.

  • califernian||

    Also Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal

  • califernian||

    and lastly Anything could be true. The so-called laws of Nature were nonsense. The law of gravity was nonsense. 'If I wished,' O'Brien had said, 'I could float off this floor like a soap bubble.' Winston worked it out. 'If he thinks he floats off the floor, and if I simultaneously think I see him do it, then the thing happens.' Suddenly, like a lump of submerged wreckage breaking the surface of water, the thought burst into his mind: 'It doesn't really happen. We imagine it. It is hallucination.' He pushed the thought under instantly. The fallacy was obvious. It presupposed that somewhere or other, outside oneself, there was a 'real' world where 'real' things happened. But how could there be such a world? What knowledge have we of anything, save through our own minds? All happenings are in the mind. Whatever happens in all minds, truly happens

  • ||

    God forbid a kid not feel like total shit all the time, just in case there might be unknown long term effects. Which chemo totally doesn't have.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Obviously, the chemo drug lobby must be a heckuva lot stronger than the marijuana drug lobby.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    There is a bit of worry in the story about how much of the potential long-term side effects of marijuana is unknown...

    Well, marijuana users are a new thing. After a few years maybe we'll see the effects.

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    She needs her strength. If the kid can't keep food down, there will be no long term for the effects.

  • JW||

    She still feels like crap from the chemo, but now she plays the piano very, very quickly, when she's not on murderous rampages.

  • ||

    Damn you, Citizens United!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Well actually, there’s this one person from the American Association of Pediatrics:

    "The issue is that marijuana isn't a medicine," Dr. Sharon Levy, of the AAP, told the Oregonian.

    Pediatrics isn't a job, it's a mental condition.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    "The issue is that marijuana isn't a medicine."

    Which is exactly what the government-medicine-regulatory complex assured her when they told her not to prescribe THC to her patients.

  • Zair||

    I'm all for full legalization of drugs, but there is some evidence to show that marijuana use by kids and teens is not good for long-term brain development. Permanent decrease in cognitive abilities.

    Hopefully this is short-term use and she recovers quickly, but marijuana's something I'd hesitate to give to someone that young.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    I'm not aware of any research which demonstrates that marijuana use by kids leads to a permanent decrease in cognitive abilities. Could you provide a link to the study?

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    And she won't have any brain development if she dies. You give her what she needs to live. Deal with the side effects once she has a future.

  • elfprince13||

  • Sevo||

    Awright, there's one. Anyone got gripes with this report?

  • ||

    The study doesn't have any usage of cannabis by the typical "young" age group. They do the neurological studies at age 13 but cannabis usage doesn't reportedly start until 18, and only then every three years (it would seem; maybe I misread that last part).

    Decent study, but I don't know that it's conclusive in saying there are long term effects for children.

  • box_man||

    Reasonably solid study cited by elfprince13.

    Structurally, cannabanoid receptors in the brain are still developing in children and THC usage alters that development. After about age 25 or so, that development ceases and there is little or no physical change - thus MJ doesn't affect adults like it would children. Exactly what extent the harm is to development is still up for debate, but it's hard to deny that the THC usage is impacting the development.

    Mom has right to choose to use legally available medicine though and wouldn't be in favor of trying to stop her as long as she understands risks.

  • JW||

    Please tell me that you're not this stupid in real life.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Has there been any evidence of long-term, detrimental side effects resulting from the administration and control of dosage in a clinical setting. It would seem to me that a trained and experienced medical provider who would attempt to treat with cannibas would have the faintest grasp of appropriate dosage to use.

    If only dosage curves could be examined in a controlled study...

  • GatewayDrug||

    1. There is some evidence, but it's not conclusive.

    2. I think those were studies of smoking marijuana, which involves limiting oxygen to the brain, ingesting a number of chemicals other than thc, and ingesting them through the lungs rather than the stomach. More research is needed, but I would not be surprised if eating pills containing cannabis oil had zero harmful health effects. And I really have to think it's a better alternative than the opiates for which thc is a substitute.

  • GatewayDrug||

    Also, probably worth pointing out that those studies were funded by NIDA and others with a vested interest in the outcome showing marijuana to be harmful. NIDA has pulled funding from studies to shut them down when it appears their conclusions suggest no harmful effects.

  • Ted S.||

    Yet people still claim industry-funded science is bad?

  • ||

    What's the problem? With industry funded science pulling their funding as soon as they don't get the result they want, we can all see what is happening. That is preferred over government funded science that tends to study things no one cares about, doesn't follow their own conclusions for political reasons, and takes from everyone to pay for it whether we want them to or not.

  • califernian||

    also who cares? not my business. nor the governments'

  • Sevo||

    Zair| 11.27.12 @ 7:38PM |#
    "I'm all for full legalization of drugs, but there is some evidence to show that marijuana use by kids and teens is not good for long-term brain development. Permanent decrease in cognitive abilities."

    If the feds allowed research, we might actually have some data.
    Care to cite what you have?

  • elfprince13||

  • SIV||

    I'm not too keen on the idea of children taking psychoactive drugs but that decision rests solely with the parents.

    I would rather see a child with a real ailment on cannabis extract than one with just some DSM-billing code on Desoxyn (methamphetamine).

    Our medical, educational and social work authorities seem to think meth is just fine for some children as long as their parents have a permission slip.

  • califernian||

    Of course, that's not the issue. But you don't get the issue do you?

  • califernian||

    oops. re: I'm all for full legalization of drugs, but there is some evidence to show that marijuana use by kids and teens is not good for long-term brain development. Permanent decrease in cognitive abilities.

  • ||

    Because you know, it is better to be fucking dead than get a low score on your math SAT scores.

    Fucking idiots.

  • gaoxiaen||

    If Marinol isn't medicine, why is it manufactured?

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    Shhh! Don't wake the baby!

  • playa manhattan||

    THC to a suffering pediatric cancer patient=bad
    Ritalin and racemic amphetamine salts to a slightly over-energetic 5 year old = A-OK!

  • ||

    THC would be great for that slightly over-energetic kid compared to Ritalin and meth.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Nope this isn't about a vengeful ex-husband angry that his former wife is boinking someone else...nope...not at all.

  • Sevo||

    "Dubois said it would be better to give a child other drugs for nausea because the cannabis oil likely contains at least 50 or 60 different chemicals with unknown long-term health effects"

    Yeah, so let's make sure the feds prohibit research, so digbats can claim 'we don't know'.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    I'm reminded to the furor creationism/intelligent design gets for attempting to play "pretend science."

    But at least IDers have to make some attempt at pursuasion. What the government is doing with banning research and deciding what they want the results to be anyway is nothing more than "fiat science."

    Let's see Dawkins, Harris, Dennett etc. show any excitement about this infringment on the scientific process.

  • Sevo||

    Caleb Turberville| 11.27.12 @ 8:19PM |#
    "Let's see Dawkins, Harris, Dennett etc. show any excitement about this infringment on the scientific process."

    Shermer does a good job; Sagan was a closet doper.
    I quit sending money to CSICOP when Kurtz started whining about 'korporashuns!' owning the media at the same time the mag went 4-color.

  • califernian||

    Those guys are jack-boot licking statists, through and through. They would never criticize a social-democrat regime. PS i am an atheist but their love of centralized bureaucratic tyranny is sickening

  • califernian||

    They are evil. End of story. I firmly believe that future societies will look back on us in horror, the way we look at 1850's slave-holding states.

  • ||

    You had me until the last sentence: "The story also has a creepy amount of Nanny State worrying from everybody (including an ex-husband) reluctant to allow a mother to make her own decisions about her daughter’s treatment."

    Per the article the ex-husband is also the father. I would think decisions like this belong with both parents.

  • Scott S.||

    Fair point.

  • califernian||

    custody is what matters. I'm not a big fan of how custody is determined but to be fair, that's the issue, not fatherhood.

  • Sevo||

    "Per the article the ex-husband is also the father. I would think decisions like this belong with both parents."

    Can't find the 'thumbs-up' key, but you got it anyway.

  • Jordan||

    "The issue is that marijuana isn't a medicine," Dr. Sharon Levy, of the AAP, told the Oregonian.

    I hope Dr. Sharon Levy gets to experience a mistaken no-knock drug raid. Or gets cancer and has to endure the shitty chemo side effects because "marijuana isn't a medicine."

  • ||

    If real justice existed....sigh.

  • ||

    If this kid is lucky, hopefully he will have the opportunity to deal with long term effects of marijuana.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Today I learned that one "Sharon Levy" cares more for boot licking than the Hippocratic oath.

    -jcr

  • waaminn||

    Comeon man, kids are jsut cool like that.

    www.Anon-Goes.tk

  • sohbet||

    very super blogos thanks admin sohbet & sohbet odaları

  • cinsel chat||

    earned that one "Sharon Levy" cares more for boot licking than the Hip sohbet odaları

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