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Thursday, December 10, 2009

California Medical Marijuana Is Doping Our Youth

Marijuana is being used to help treat Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with children in California, has medical marijuana gone too far? This is one of those things that is a question of ethics and certainly needs to be addressed before there is a catastrophe. In 1999 California voters passed a law which allowed doctors to recommend cannabis for medical use, including minors. A seventeen year old with leukemia is a far cry from a twelve year old with ADHD. In California Marijuana can be recommended "for any ... illness for which marijuana provides relief". It has been known for a long time that marijuana inhibits focusing and motivation, how marijuana could be considered useful for ADHD is beyond me; the Washington Times reports, "ADHD is described as a neurological disorder that prevents children from focusing on a specific task. In essence, people with ADHD have difficulty with self-regulation and self-motivation, owing to problems with distractibility, organization and prioritization".

In the United States we are guilty of over-medicating our children and as a result our children suffer. With 14 million Adderall prescriptions last year it is obvious that we are too quick to medicate. Now we are drifting into the world of alternative medications like marijuana to fix our problems with out doing all the research. There needs to be a certain level of digression by doctors when recommending marijuana, otherwise we will be fueling addiction throughout our youth. "What they don't realize is that marijuana use during childhood and the early-teen years produces significantly different effects than marijuana use later in life. The behaviors exhibited by introducing tetrahydrocannabinol -- the active ingredient in marijuana -- to the brain are similar to those demonstrated by alcohol consumption", reports the Washington Times.

We need to start getting real with ourselves regarding the benefits of medical marijuana. Its uses are limited and do not apply to everyone, it has side-effects that have no place in a child's life. If marijuana is going to be legal it needs to be treated like every other prescription drug and be held up to the same scrutiny. We wouldn't give Oxycontin to a child for a hang nail!

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