A group of leading U.S. pediatricians stated that marijuana should be decriminalized and it should be reclassified out of its current Schedule I label. These actions would lead to increased medical research and it would teach us about the medical benefits associated with cannabis.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recognized that marijuana may be a treatment option for kids “with life-limiting or severely debilitating conditions for whom current therapies are inadequate.”
Around 200 families have packed up their belongings and moved to Colorado where marijuana is legal for adults. These families have done so in an effort to save their children. Many of these families moved to Colorado so they could access a strain of marijuana called Charlotte’s Web, which has been shown to control seizures in some kids.
Charlotte’s Web, contains low levels of THC, which causes people to feel high, but high levels of cannabidiol, or CBD, which does not have psychoactive effects. The benefits of CBD are not well known yet and more testing is required. CBD research has been limited because the Schedule I label prevents medical research. In one medical trial, CBD was shown to be possibly effective in treating people who suffer from Parkinson’s disease. Scientists have stated that more research is required.
“We don’t want to marginalize families who feel like this is the only option for their child because of crisis,” said Dr. Sharon Levy, chair of AAP’s committee on substance abuse and assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She was one of the statement’s co-authors.
Still Against Marijuana Use by Adolescents
The American Academy of Pediatrics remains firm against the use of marijuana by people under the age of 21, and they have been one of the most vocal groups against marijuana legalization. The group, however, believes that marijuana should be changed from a Schedule I illegal substance to a Schedule II controlled substance.
“There’s never been a study of cannabinoids in any form that has included children. With that in mind, the AAP cannot endorse use of cannabinoid medication with children,” Levy said. “We do note, though, there have been anecdotal cases that look promising. And that suggests there’s a need for study.
In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics said it now “strongly supports” the decriminalization of marijuana use and they are encouraging pediatricians “to advocate for laws that prevent harsh criminal penalties for possession or use of marijuana.”