Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Dr. Chun Wong
The debate has been going on for years now: Should we or should we not legalize the use of Medical Cannabis (or marijuana)? Everyone has their own opinion on whether or not the legalization should occur. Some argue that legalizing the drug will only make it more easily obtained for recreational use. On the flip side, others say that the benefits outweigh the risks. How many benefits are there to this sometimes considered “miracle herb”? Are there even more diseases and conditions that can be treated by marijuana that haven’t been proven yet?
It has been documented that administering cannabis has been beneficial in eliminating nausea and vomiting, inducing appetite in AIDS and Chemotherapy patients, reducing eye pressure in those with Glaucoma, as well as in general pain reliving. Some individual studies have also shown medical cannabis to be beneficial in Multiple Sclerosis and depression cases. The legality of this treatment varies by country. The issue often shows up in state elections throughout the United States. One could spend the entire day weighing the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana. What it boils down to is who and how does administering marijuana help.
I discussed AIDS, Glaucoma, Cancer and Chronic Pain patients, but how about children? Or more specifically, Autistic children.
There was a letter published (via) from a mother in Florida who shared the story of her very large, autistic child who went from loving and caring son to angry and aggressive. She says in her letter that she often had to lock herself in the bathroom or else her son would attack her. They tried many different medications but nothing seemed to help. A friend of the family suggested something that the mother had never thought of; a brownie laced with marijuana. She weighed her options and decided to give it a try. As a result of giving her son marijuana, his symptoms subsided and the gentle, loving son that once was, was back again. The boy is now being given 1 marijuana brownie as well as several doses of Marinol, which contains the active ingredient in marijuana everyday. The boy’s mother says “He shows no signs of being under the influence of a drug…This has clearly saved my child’s life and my family’s life.”
Typically when such aggressive and assaultive behavior arises, medication is sought to calm the person down. Medications such as Risperdal are administered, but do have high levels of toxic effects including but not limited to rapid heart beat, muscle spasms, and severe anxiety. Granted, marijuana has its own associated side effects, but are seemingly not as severe as those of Risperdal and like medications.
Depending on where you live in the world, this may or may not be a possible route for you to explore. Because of the widely range of illegality, it’s not suggested that you try to obtain marijuana on your own and attempt to treat your child’s (or even your own) condition. It’s absolutely worth speaking to a doctor about - though since the studies and research are not nearly complete, chances are, he/she will not prescribe it. Yet.