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Medical Marijuana For Kids

medical marijuana

Most of us teach our kids that medicine is not candy. But at the medical marijuana dispensaries in California, sometimes it is. They sell THC-imbued candies, or “medibles”. They also sell plain old pot, in a variety of exciting flavors. The difference between a dispensary and a Dutch coffeeshop is just that in California, you need a doctor’s note to shop.

This week, the New York Times reports that some Bay Area doctors have begun giving those notes to kids as young as 14. They’re not just treating cancer or AIDS anymore, either. Some of these kids are getting the referrals for ADHD.

I like the idea of legalizing marijuana as much as the next hippy chick. But I am going to simply echo the sentiments of Stephen Hinshaw, the chairman of the psychology department at UC Berkeley, who told the NYT, “How many ways can one say, ‘one of the worst ideas of all time’?”

He was citing studies that show marijuana disrupts memory, attention and concentration in regular users; all the things kids with ADHD are already struggling with. I know anecdote is not data, but I’ll back up his science with a little personal experience. Let’s just say I tried this approach as an ADHD teen myself and the results were…not increased productivity at school, to put it mildly.

Clearly, though, it works for some people. The NYT article is riddled with stories of kids whose lives have been turned around by a little dope after Ritalin failed to help them. For the most part, these kids say it helps manage the anger and anxiety that can accompany ADHD.

Some parents are more than on board with the idea. In order to see a California doctor for medical marijuana, a minor must bring his parents with him to both the doctor’s appointment and the dispensary where he picks up his medicine.

Parents aren’t just turning to pot for ADHD, either. We reported a few weeks ago on a mom who gets her son high to manage his autism. Moms have been using it to treat their own severe morning sickness for years, with no evidence of harm to their babies.

Would you encourage your kid to use medical marijuana for ADHD? For anything? Have you ever used it to help yourself or your child with a medical issue? How young is too young? If this works for teens, is it OK for school-age kids? Will we be seeing “pot pacifiers” for fussy babies someday?

Photo: Neeta Lind

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