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Dad angry at 7-year-old’s dagga use

Should a child be allowed to use marijuana for medical reasons?

Image: via Shutterstock

A father in the US threatened his ex with court action after he discovered that his 7-year-old daughter was using marijuana to manage painful side effects associated with her leukaemia and chemotherapy treatment, according to Jezebel.com. The question is, though, is marijuana any more dangerous for the girl than, for example, prescribed drugs or chemotherapy?

According to the father, he is concerned that his daughter is acting oddly, including being listless and only wanting to play TV games. The girl is battling an aggressive form of leukaemia and has undergone chemotherapy, which makes her incredibly ill and keeps her awake. Her mom administers twice-daily capsules of marijuana and the occasional treat such as a marijuana-laced brownie. The girl reportedly says that this helps restore her appetite as well as helping her to sleep.

Points key to this medical marijuana debate are:

  • The girl is not smoking the drug, which would create health problems associated with smoking.
  • The girl’s mom and step-dad admit to smoking it- the step-dad grows it himself.
  • Doctors are not monitoring how much the child is ingesting.
  • There is no “recommended daily allowance” for marijuana usage of this nature.
  • The effects of marijuana on the developing brain are fiercely contested.
  • The drugs associated with pain and treatment management in leukaemia may also have ill effects on the patient.
While the US has recently relaxed legislation in certain states regarding the medical use of marijuana, in SA the use of medical marijuana is still prohibited by law, despite its advocates, who insist that it’s a good way of managing certain kinds of medical conditions, such as the pain associated with chemotherapy, for example.

Research is currently underway to create strains of the cannabis (marijuana) plant which could be mass-produced that would have the elements which induce psychosis genetically removed.

All over the world, countries have wrestled with the difficulties of legalising marijuana for medical use. Few countries allow it, and those that do generally place other restrictions on the growing, possession, sale and transportation of marijuana plants.

Would you allow your chronically ill child to use marijuana for medical reasons?

By: Scott Dunlop

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