Acceptance in the use of cannabis for medical purposes has bounded major development in recent years. Also known as medical marijuana, medical cannabis has recently made headlines after Canada and more than half of the United States have declared it safe for use in alleviating specific medical conditions. Its primary component, cannabidiol or CBD, has proven to help in the treatment of cancer patients and those who have epilepsy.
Medical cannabis contains many cannabinoids. The two that are most commonly known are tetrahydrocannabinol or THC and cannabidiol or CBD. Both these compounds are extracted from the plant and given to children orally, either in liquid form, sold as oils, capsules and sprays, or dry form, which is inhaled and faster acting. Parents have reported using a Storz & Bickel Volcano Medic is an easier device for consumption for their young ones needing immediate relief. THC and CBD have been helpful in treating a number of medical conditions including but not limited to the following.
1. Epileptic seizures
Seizures happen due to the abnormal brain activity caused by the misfiring of neurons resulting in uncoordinated, often exaggerated movement. It can affect anyone, no matter gender, race, and age. A study was conducted in determining the efficacy of medical cannabis in treating child-onset epilepsy, also known as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome(1). Cannabinol has been proven to be an effective treatment in these types of epilepsy, and the FDA has even approved the distribution and use of a drug derived from CBD specifically indicated to children with these conditions(2).
A recent study was conducted that reported CBD can be used as a “well-tolerated, effective, and safe option to relieve some symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)”. The study further noted that 30% of pediatric patients diagnosed with ASD showed significant improvement. And 50% of children in the spectrum showed moderate improvement after six months of CBD treatment. It is important to note, however, that 25% did exhibit side effects, the most common of which is restlessness(3).
3. Sleep Disorder
Sleeping disorders affect many children and pre-teens. If not resolved, it can severely affect their development and ability to learn. Medical cannabis marijuana is known to be effective in several sleep disorders, including:
- Sleep apnea: a condition where the patient temporarily stops breathing for 10 to 30 seconds. If not addressed, it can severely limit the oxygen supply to the developing brain of the child.
- Hypersomnolence: this is characterized by children who are unusually sleepy or lethargic in school despite having enough sleep.
- Restless leg syndrome: a condition characterized by the strong urge to move one’s leg while sleeping. Although not a severe condition, it can interrupt REM sleep.
4. Inflammatory Bowel Disorder
IBD can afflict anyone despite their age – even children and adolescents. The most common types of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Using CBD to treat such conditions has been an effective treatment due to the anti-inflammatory property of the compound(4). CBD also triggers receptors in the body responsible for digestion and bowel movement.
Cancer affects everyone, including children. However, the symptoms associated with chemotherapy are far more severe in children. Medical cannabis may be of great help to these young patients in many different ways(5):
- It may help alleviate pain, which is due to chemotherapeutic drugs.
- Stimulate appetite to help counteract the effects of the treatment, which takes a toll on the body.
- It may help reduce nausea and vomiting common after a round of chemotherapy.
Medical cannabis can be an excellent alternative in treating chronic pain for many patients(6). In children, cannabis may be a more beneficial medication compared to opioid drugs, which can have very dangerous side effects, not to mention exposes patients to the risk of drug dependence.
7. Eating Disorder
Anorexia and bulimia are eating disorders that often affect pre-teens and teens. There are many causes of why these conditions develop, but the treatment involved is complex and multi-faceted. Medical cannabis can be used in conjunction with other treatment programs to increase their appetite and prevent instances of purging.
Medical Cannabis remains debatable for its role and the perceived “inappropriateness” that comes with its administration to children suffering from specific medical conditions. In places where it is allowed, children and teens have been prescribed liquid extracts of CBD to aid in their treatments. Apollo’s team of healthcare professionals has been treating pediatric patients for years, who present with one or many conditions. Patients and their families have claimed to find medical cannabis helpful in their treatment. Although there is not enough evidence-based research at this time, the patient’s feedback and results have been positive.
Do you or someone you know have a child who may benefit from medical cannabis? Call us toll-free at 1(877) 560-9195 or fill out a form here to speak with our dedicated doctors today and find out more about how Apollo can help.