Treating Children with Cannabis
There is a factual basis for the cannabis as a therapy for a variety of childhood related illnesses. All humans have all of their body systems: cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, immune, nervous, musculoskeletal, and reproductive; homeostatically regulated by the marijuana-like compounds that we all produce, known as endocannabinoids – cannabis from within.
In fact, anytime anyone on the planet gets hungry, it is because their brain made endocannabinoids that gives them the “munchies,” just like consuming cannabis does. These facts were created not by medical cannabis advocates, but by millions of years of evolution. All living systems (a system is a collection of molecules) are flow dependent structures that only exists with the appropriate molecular and energetic inputs (food in the air) and outputs (waste removal) continually occurring. In an ideal circumstance, the flows are balanced, homeostasis, in a fashion that promotes health.
The flows are regulated by a combination of our genetics and our life’s history. We all suffer from the typical biochemical imbalance commonly called aging. However, depending on subtle variations among individuals in our genetics, we are all more or less susceptible to a variety of disease states as we age.
Because the Endocannabinoid System (eCS) regulates everything in our bodies, typically in a fashion that promotes health, manipulating the eCS offers unique opportunities to shift homeostasis in a multidimensional, holistic manner to improve health. Historically, meaning since cannabis prohibition began in 1937, the primary concern regarding the development of cannabis-based pharmaceuticals has been its psychological effects. These concerns, while applied to all, have been primarily focused on children. Regardless of age, cannabis consumption has very different biochemical effects depending on the quantity consumed. For most people, low doses are euphoric. In contrast, high doses are dysphoric for most people.
For many conditions, all that is required are low doses that provide therapeutic benefits, beyond making someone feel good. In contrast to the absurd position taken by our government, euphoria is good. Our Endocannabinoid System is the mind-body connection and has been shown to be involved in the placebo effect. Therefore, manipulating the Endocannabinoid System can enhance our health through our consciousness as well as directly affecting our body’s biochemistry.
With these facts in mind, it’s the criminal absurdity that parents are put in the position of having to decide whether or not to break the law to see whether cannabis medicines might help a child suffering from terminal or intractable conditions such as cancer or seizures. There are many hundreds of peer-reviewed papers that demonstrate both cancer-killing properties of cannabinoids as well as their anti-seizure properties. The science supports the numerous anecdotal reports from parents whose children’s lives have been saved or greatly enhanced as a result of treating terminal cancers with cannabis extracts (Rick Simpson Oil- RSO). Additionally, numerous lives that have been restored by ending hundreds of seizures that some children suffer on a daily basis, for example, those suffering from Dravet’s syndrome.
Unfortunately, cannabis is still not allowed in most Hospitals, Nursing Homes or Assisted Living Facilities, so these patients are limited on what they can use for symptom management and are predominately limited to pharmaceuticals with side effects for managing their symptoms.
What are the psychological effects of medicinal cannabis use, and how might they differ in adults versus children? Again, we must distinguish between high and low doses of cannabis medicines. For an adult, we know that low doses can be quite pleasant since relaxation, hunger, sensuality, introspection, and sleep are promoted. In contrast, high doses of cannabis results in significant loss of one’s normal mental control of emotions and intellect, often accompanied by intense visual hallucinations, fear, and paranoia. As adults, can we understand the consciousness of young children, and how cannabis might impact it?
This question becomes all the more pertinent when one considers a child that is suffering from hundreds of seizures a day, or one suffering from the consequences of debilitating radiation and chemotherapy. I think it is inappropriate to extrapolate the psychic effects of cannabis in adults to what may be occurring in children. In recent years, cannabis has been used to treat children suffering from seizures as well as those undergoing treatment for cancer. The children seem to adapt to the treatment more comfortable than adults do. This observation implies something different is going on in their brains from what is occurring in adults. Nevertheless, various approaches have been developed to minimize the well-known psychic effects that cannabis produces in the adult brain.
For all but the diehard prohibitionists, there is a relatively simple solution for children suffering from seizures. High CBD extracts, produced from legal, certified, low THC hemp plants are very effective for children suffering from seizure disorders. The benefits of this treatment were recently dramatically demonstrated in the Sanjay Gupta special in which he apologized to the public for previously not having improperly researched the benefits of medical marijuana. This change was the result of him seeing for himself how profound cannabis therapy can be for seizures in children.
For many adults, smoking cannabis has been very beneficial for controlling their seizures, especially when one can recognize that a seizure is about to occur. A seizure can often be prevented do to the rapid onset of effects that result from using the pulmonary route (smoking or vaporizing). One should keep in mind that there is a long-term history of use of cannabis for seizure treatment, as well as many modern scientific articles that provide an understanding as to why cannabis has such beneficial effects on seizure disorders. In summary, depending on the child, reasonable doses of non-psychoactive, high CBD medicine appears to be an effective treatments option for seizure disorders and has scientific, anecdotal, and historical support.
Unfortunately, while there is significant scientific evidence from in vitro studies that high CBD extracts have cancer-killing properties, the anecdotal data is not as encouraging as is seen with high doses of the extract containing THC. Nevertheless, too many children run out of options for conventional cancer treatment due to the failure of these treatments to control cancer. More and more desperate parents are turning to high-dose, high THC containing cannabis extracts as a result of a few well-publicized examples that showed a prolongation and dramatic improvement of the quality of life for children suffering from terminal cancers such as glioma.
Thankfully, Dr. Janet Sweeney from the Phoenix Tears Foundation made the profound discovery that the use of citicoline (cytosine diphosphate choline), an over the counter nutraceutical, in conjunction with THC containing cannabis dramatically reduces the psychoactivity that would otherwise occur. The concurrent use of citicoline with THC containing extracts makes cannabis-based cancer treatments dramatically more tolerable. Patients can reach the high doses necessary for cancer treatment more rapidly, and with dramatically reduced negative consequences.
For those of us who have participated in the underground ambulance, we have no doubts that cannabis can be an effective treatment for numerous cancers in both children and adults. Like any other treatment, it does not work all the time, especially when a patient cannot tolerate high THC doses, or has been brought to the edge of death with conventional treatments. Personally, I have trouble understanding why anyone would be so concerned about the psychological effects of cannabis treatment when dealing with a terminal illness, be they, children or adults.
It’s incredible to me that our government would deny a parent the right to choose cannabis therapy for an otherwise dying child. We see more and more parents moving to Colorado where they can legally get cannabis extracts rather than to exclude this treatment option as they fight for the life of their child. The federal government has spent millions of dollars of our tax money on both cancer and cannabis research. The results are ignored because of the incompetence of our legislators to properly investigate this controversial topic, and the fanatical obstructionism imposed by the DEA.
Will we ever hear an apology from our legislators for the lives lost due to their incompetence as we did from an honorable person like Sanjay Gupta?
How much should a novice cancer patient start out taking?
You can take up to four (4) – 250mg capsules at a time (1 g/day) PRN (as needed) and up to twelve (12) a day. I usually start a person at one capsule (250mg) and go up as needed.
For example: For an adult cancer patient, they can go up to
12/day X 250mg a day = 3g/day
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