Cannabis is becoming mainstream. A drug once thought to be among the most dangerous is now widely accepted not only as a relatively safe recreational substance, akin to alcohol, but also as a critical cure for various health conditions. In fact, medical applications for cannabis are on the rise, especially as researchers better understand what the drug is doing within the human body and identify useful effects.
Cannabis as a medical treatment isn’t only for adults. Though the use of medical marijuana is less common amongst minors, many health care professionals are finding success in using cannabis to treat various childhood ailments, from epilepsy to cancer. If you or your child’s health care provider believe that cannabis could be useful in managing your child’s health condition, here’s what you should do:
Understand Your Child’s Health Condition and How Cannabis Treatment Could Affect It
The first step to using cannabis to treat the medical condition of a minor is to learn as much as you can about the medical condition — and how cannabis will affect it. Unfortunately, because cannabis has been prohibited for so long, research into its health effects is only in the beginning stages. Though there have been plenty of promising indications that cannabis can have benefits, it is critical that you do your own research on applications of cannabis treatments to your child’s specific condition.
If your child’s physician is in favor of using cannabis treatment in your child’s case, they will likely be able to provide you with research demonstrating how cannabis can help. If you are the driving force behind cannabis treatment for your child, you should be sure that the sources you find are reliable and peer-reviewed. You might start by scouring the National Institutes of Health website and other sources of scholarly information.
Your goal in this research is to uncover evidence that cannabis treatment will have a noticeable positive effect on your child’s health and wellbeing. Even if cannabis does not directly impact the condition itself — e.g., it alleviates nausea associated with chemotherapy cancer treatment but doesn’t address the cancer — it might be worth adding cannabis to your child’s treatment plan.
Look Into the Medical Marijuana Laws in Your State
Once you are convinced that cannabis treatment is a good idea for your child, you need to understand how you can lawfully provide cannabis to improve your child’s health. If you live in a state like Michigan, marijuana is legal for recreational use — but that doesn’t mean you can buy weed from a retail shop and give it to your kid. In fact, in most states, providing cannabis to a minor remains a criminal offense.
Instead, you likely need to apply for a medical marijuana card for your child. The process for this will vary from state to state, but you will almost certainly need some kind of certification from your child’s doctor or another health care provider. You will also need to agree to be your child’s cannabis caregiver, which means you will be responsible for purchasing cannabis from a medical dispensary and administering treatment as appropriate. Using your child’s medical card to obtain weed for yourself is illegal, so you shouldn’t try to pilfer from your child’s stash.
Talk to Your Child About How Cannabis Treatment Could Impact Them
It is important that your child understands that they are using cannabis products to manage their health — and if they are old enough to understand the concept, it is important that your child consents to this kind of treatment. Plenty of kids don’t want anything to do with drugs that have the potential to be addictive or harmful, and some children might not like the stigma of using a drug like weed. Thus, you need to have a serious conversation with your child about what it means to be using cannabis as a treatment and the pros and cons associated with using the drug.
It might be useful to have a similar conversation with any friends and family members who could be responsible for your child’s care. Because cannabis treatment remains controversial, it is imperative that your loved ones understand that you have made this decision about treatment for the sake of your child, and that your loved ones need to respect that decision and abide by it if they want to continue contact with you. Setting this boundary could be hard, but your child’s wellbeing is at stake.
It isn’t only adults who benefit from medical marijuana. Many childhood health conditions have been shown to be more manageable thanks to cannabis treatments. Still, you shouldn’t merely assume that weed is right for your little one. With the right research and plenty of communication, you might be able to use cannabis to make your child’s life better.