Medical Marijuana

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

They're getting stoned on the wrong drugs!

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Perhaps make sure she's around long enough to have to worry about long-term health issues.

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.