Three Common Myths of Cannabis in Pediatrics

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By: Casey Beecher

For parents of children affected by epilepsy, autism and various forms of pediatric cancer, medical cannabis is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to pharmaceuticals known to cause a range of adverse side-effects. Still, medical cannabis use in pediatrics is still a relatively new concept and a highly debated topic due to the stigma surrounding cannabis culture. Here at TheHerbCures, we’ve delved through the research to address three of the most common myths involving cannabis treatment in pediatrics. We hope this article will help you decide if medical cannabis is the right option to integrate into your child’s wellness plan.

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MYTH #1:

Medical Cannabis Will Get My Child High

One of the biggest misconceptions in regards to medical cannabis products, is that pediatric patients will feel the psychoactive effects commonly associated with marijuana use. Parents may be hesitant to commit to treatment because they fear their children will become “high”. This myth stems from a misunderstanding of cannabinoids, the active chemicals in cannabis. Estimates of the number of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant range from 66 to more than 100, the most common being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the cannabinoid responsible for psychoactive and euphoric effects (commonly  associated with recreational cannabis use). While THC does offer medicinal properties (increased appetite, nausea suppressant, anti-pain, anti-inflammatory, muscle stabilizer, etc.), high concentrations of CBD (non-psychoactive) are used to treat seizures, lessen aggressive behaviors for kids with autism and inhibit cancer cell growth. Pediatric patients are treated with products containing a high-CBD to low-THC ratio, thereby increasing the medicinal effects and reducing the possibility of any unwanted psychoactive side-effects.

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MYTH #2:

All Cannabis Treatments Have The Same Effect

Another common myth of medical cannabis in pediatrics is the idea that there is no difference from one cannabis-based medication to the next. As mentioned before, dozens of cannabinoids are found in the cannabis plant, each of which affects the body in different ways. For instance, CBD has anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties (making it effective to treat epileptic seizures) while the lesser-known cannabichromene (CBC) has been linked to anti-fungal properties. Even from one patient to the next the efficacy of cannabis treatments varies depending on the individual’s age, metabolism, tolerance level, and a variety of other conditions. Each batch of CBD oil (and any other medical cannabis product) is tested rigorously to ensure the strain and CBD/THC ratio stays consistent and that there are no contaminants in the medication (as determined by state law, which permitted cannabis manufacturers are subject to).

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MYTH #3:

Cannabis Eases Symptoms But Will Not Treat My Child’s Condition

Our final myth of medical cannabis in pediatrics is the notion that cannabis treatments only mask symptoms but don’t help treat the disease they are prescribed for. While research on medical cannabis in pediatrics is still scratching the surface, there have been significant cases that refute this claim. Take the case of Charlotte Figg, a young girl diagnosed at 3-months-old with an aggressive case of Dravet syndrome. Her parents turned to medical cannabis after multiple failed attempts to treat her condition with conventional epilepsy medication. The result? Charlotte’s seizure frequency was reduced by more than 90% after only three months of treatment. In another story of success, 2-year-old Landon Riddle was able to stop chemotherapy to treat his acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) thanks to cannabis oil in just six months. Though there is some controversy surrounding the use of CBD oil to treat autism, there have been numerous families that report improvement in aggressive behaviors.

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Though physicians and researchers still have much to learn about how medical cannabis affects pediatric patients, the results of past studies and cases of success show great potential. That being said, studies on child patients are difficult to administer due to parents’ fear of being ostracized, state and federal laws, and questions of ethics. As the use of medical cannabis gains traction as an effective treatment for pediatric conditions we hope to see more success stories.While we do not claim that medical cannabis is in fact a treatment for aforementioned pediatric ailments due to FDA restrictions, we hope that this information is educational.

Have you treated your child with medical cannabis? Tell us your story in the comments section!

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