Can Medical Marijuana help decrease seizures and treat chemotherapy side effects?
A new study by the Massachusetts General Hospital has found that medical marijuana is an effective treatment for children who suffer from seizures or going through cancer related chemotherapy. The study was published Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics Journal.
The researchers conducted 11 studies of medical marijuana on epilepsy and 6 on chemotherapy. The findings showed that cannabidiol (CBD) from the cannabis plant decreased seizures in young patients. Dr. Shane Shucheng Wong and Dr. Timothy Wilens, both psychiatrists at Massachusetts General Hospital, concluded that medical marijuana has two therapeutic uses for pediatrics; seizure reduction and nausea relief from chemotherapy, according to the Science Daily. The doctors also found that medical marijuana worked better on chemotherapy patients than anti-nausea drugs.
Dr. Wong says that "Medical cannabis is now legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia, and in those areas with active programs, children and adolescents can legally access medical cannabis with certification from their doctor and consent from a parent or guardian. This means that doctors and families need to understand what we know and what we don't yet know about medical cannabis in order to make the best decision for the health of the individual child."
They also deduced that medical marijuana was not an effective treatment for children suffering from PTSD, neuropathic pain or Tourette Syndrome at this time. They added that while the findings are encouraging, dangers exist with adolescents who are exposed to marijuana over a long-time period. “Studies of children and adolescents who use recreational cannabis, particularly frequent use of high potency cannabis over longer periods of time, suggest negative effects on learning, memory, attention, and problem-solving ability.” He added that it’s vital that children are given the appropriate dose to avoid those issues and that more research is needed on medical marijuana for adolescents.
Niko Mann is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles.