The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Medical marijuana eases suffering for sick children

3 min read
The medicinal use of cannabis, or marijuana, has been used for many years, and is recently become a growing force in the United States.


The medicinal use of cannabis, or marijuana, has been used for many years, and is recently become a growing force in the United States.

Using cannabis for medical purposes is still a controversial topic because of the little amount of research associated with it, but the short-term proof is evident.

Cannabis, consumed in forms other than smoking, can benefit those who suffer from physical pain.

Several types of cannabinoid medicines are available including dronabinol, nabilone and nabiximols, all cannabis-derived pharmaceuticals that are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Similarly, the American Academy of Pediatrics opposes treating children with medical marijuana.medipot

Many are wary of the idea of medical marijuana because of the stigma attached to recreational usage that is currently still against the law in most states.

However, there are many examples showing the positive effects of cannabis use. These instances conclude that it would be beneficial if acceptance was practiced in cases regarding physical pain.

One specific example comes from a young girl in Oregon whose only relief stemmed from cannabis oil. As reported by ABC News, a seven-year-old named Mykayla Comstock was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia in July 2012. Her mother, Erin Purchase, filed for the Oregon medical marijuana program so Mykayla could take capsules filled with cannabis oil.

Purchase came to this decision when Mykayla did not respond well to chemotherapy treatment, and was in possible need of a bone marrow transplant.

After starting her cannabis oil treatment, Mykayla was in remission by August and the transplant was no longer needed.

Purchase said that she knew she made the right decision the day that Mykayla missed a dose of her cannabis oil pills. When Mykayla’s younger sister walked into the room holding cheese, the smell made Mykayla so sick that she immediately threw up.

“She doesn’t use pain pills or nausea pills. She has not even lost a single pound since her diagnosis” said Purchase in the ABC news story.

Mykayla is one of 51 other children at the Oregon Public Health Division who participate in the medical marijuana program.

Severe pain, nausea, muscle spasms and seizures are among the conditions cited to apply for medical marijuana usage.

To treat these symptoms, medical marijuana proves to be a better option for pain relief than its competitors.

Opioid drugs such as, morphine and Oxycontin, are considered to be an acceptable method to treat young children’s cancer pain. However, opioid drugs pose many more problems than cannabis does.

Opioid drugs are extremely addictive, where marijuana is not. Opioid drugs can cause an overdose in the patient, where cannabis is practically impossible to overdose with. Opioid drugs often cause nausea and vomiting, which is something that cancer patients already struggle with as side effect of radiation and chemotherapy. Also, withdrawl from opioid drugs is associated with severe physical pain, and this is not the case with cannabis.

The use of botanical cannabis can relieve a large range of health-related medical symptoms while also improving the quality of life.

In general, we need to move past the old stereotypes and stigmas associated with marijuana and recognize the beneficial qualities that it presents, especially for children with cancer.