Medical Marijuana For ADHD
The Peace in Medicine Healing Center in Sebastopol has a variety of marijuana products, including dried marijuana, Voodoo Dad and Train Wreck brands, and medicinal cookies, all displayed below a sign that says, “Keep out of reach of your mother.”
In recent interviews, several Bay Area doctors who recommended medical marijuana to their patients stated that the client base has expanded to include adolescents with psychiatric conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Valerie Corral, founder of the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana in Santa Cruz, said, “It’s certainly not everyone’s medicine but it can make an enormous difference for some.” She also noted that two dozen minors are registered clients to her patients’ collective.
California doesn’t require doctors to report medical marijuana cases. Therefore, there is no reliable data on how many minors were authorized to use it. Dr. Jean Talleyrand founded MediCann in Oakland, which has 20 clinics that allow patients to use the drug. He said that his staff had treated up to 50 patients aged 14-18 with A.D.H.D. Bay Area doctors have been at forefront of the debate over medical marijuana. They have won tolerance for patients with serious illnesses such as AIDS and terminal cancer. However, as doctors are more open to their discretion, it may prove harder to get support, especially for marijuana use to treat A.D.H.D. adolescents.
“How many ways could one say “one of the most terrible ideas ever?” Stephen Hinshaw, who is the head of the University of California’s psychology department, asked the question. He cited studies showing that tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, disrupts attention, memory and concentration – functions already compromised in people with the attention-deficit buy weed online disorder.
Advocates are equally passionate, but they are a small minority. Dr. Talleyrand stated that it is safer than aspirin. Other marijuana advocates agree that it is safer than methylphenidate, the prescription stimulant most commonly used to treat A.D.H.D. Side effects include insomnia, depression, facial tics, and stunted growing.
California became the first state to legalize medical cannabis in 1996 when voters approved a ballot initiative. Twelve other states followed California’s lead and legalized cannabis for a variety of serious conditions, including cancer and AIDS. However, California is the only state to add the catch-all phrase “for any other disease for which marijuana provides relief.”
These doctors are now able to recommend cannabis, but in the Alice-in–Wonderland world that is medical marijuana, they can’t legally prescribe it. Some use this leeway to an extreme degree. Keith Stroup, the founder of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said that “you can get it for an backache.”
However, even doctors who have authorized medical marijuana for their use, it is still controversial to expand its use among young people.
Gene Schoenfeld is a Sausalito doctor who said that he wouldn’t recommend it to anyone younger than 21 unless the patient has a life-threatening condition such as cancer or AIDS.
Dr. Schoenfeld said, “It’s harmful to adolescents who chronically consume it, and if it is being used medically that implies that it’s being consumed chronically.”
Nora D. Volkow is the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. She expressed concern about dependency, a risk she stated was already high in adolescents and those with attention deficit disorder.
Despite it being counterintuitive, doctors and patients have reported that marijuana can help alleviate some symptoms, especially the anger and anxiety that often accompany A.D.H.D. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the disorder has been identified in over 4.5 million American children.
Research has shown that marijuana use by adolescents is linked to an increased risk of schizophrenia and psychosis in people who are genetically predisposed. A 2008 study in Schizophrenia Research found that marijuana-using adolescents had a lower incidence of mental disorders than nonusers.
According to Dr. Edward M. Hallowell (a psychiatrist who has published several books about the disorder), marijuana is “a godsend for some people with A.D.H.D.” However, Dr. Hallowell stated that he discourages patients from using marijuana because it is illegal and because it can cause a “paralysis” where the patient is not able to do anything else.
Patients who request medical marijuana before the age of 18 must be accompanied by their parents or an authorized caregiver to the doctor’s office and the dispensaries. Interviewed doctors said that they believed that parents would accompany their children to the doctor’s appointment and the dispensaries in order to prevent them from buying drugs on the streets.
Recent research from the University of Michigan found that over 40% of high school students have tried marijuana.
“I don’t have a problem, so long as we can talk about our medical issues,” Dr. Talleyrand stated, adding that doctors must see patients with medical records.
Candis Cohen, a spokeswoman for the Medical Board of California, stated that Dr. Talleyrand was investigated by the board in spring after Candis Cohen, a KGO TV report, highlighted questionable practices at MediCann Clinics. The report claimed that the clinics had made at least $10,000,000 in five years.
Dr. Talleyrand, and his staff, are not the only ones who will recommend marijuana to minors. Berkeley doctor Frank Lucido stated that he was interviewed by the medical board, but not disciplined when he approved marijuana for a 16 year-old boy with A.D.H.D. He had previously failed to use Ritalin and had accumulated a number of minor arrests.