Children Are the New Demographic for Medical Cannabis and its Benefits
With talk of the positive effects of cannabis, we welcome in a new demographic of parents who are willing to test the benefits of cannabis to heal their ailing children. Recent studies have found that one in five children, age 3-17, suffer from some form of mental disorder. And according to the Pediatrics Academic Societies, the percentage of children with chronic health conditions is on the rise.
Cannabis And its Cure For ADHD
One of the most common mental health disorders is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). According to the National Institute of Health, ADHD is a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development. ADHD is most commonly treated with psychostimulants such as Adderall, Ritalin, and Concerta. One of the main irregularities of ADHD is the brain’s shortage of dopamine. And whereas the current medications treat ADHD by giving the brain a surplus of dopamine, they can leave harmful side effects. However, by supplying dopamine, cannabis can be as effective and more in treating hyperactivity, without the negative side effects. Cannabis researcher, Dr. David Bearman writes:
“Cannabis appears to treat ADD and ADHD by increasing the availability of dopamine. This then has the same effect but is a different mechanism of action than stimulants like Ritalin (methylphenidate) and dexedrine amphetamine, which act by binding to the dopamine and interfering with the metabolic breakdown of dopamine.”
Dr. Bearman has observed the effectiveness of cannabis in treating ADHD, and some children have already begun to experience its healing properties. Leafly spoke with Antonio Rodriguez, who, at age six, was diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and immediately prescribed a common stimulant medication. “I remember having headaches all the time to the point where I wasn’t able to sleep,” Antonio said. As a side effect, Antonio’s appetite diminished until adding cannabis to his medical routine. That’s when Antonio found that the cannabis was not only treating the medication’s side effects, but it was also improving his ADD/ADHD symptoms. “For the first time ever, I was in the state where I could really get my mind together.”
Cannabis Is Beneficial In Treating the Symptoms of Autism
Another leading mental disorder affecting the health of children is autism. Serving as one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders in the U.S., autism is a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication.
According to the National Health Information Survey (NHIS), autism rates for children in 2016 were 1 in 36, the highest ever recorded and an increase from the reported rate of 1 in 45 in the 2014 NHIS survey. Only two medications have been approved by the FDA to treat the symptoms of autism but are not always effective and carry serious side effects. As an alternative, Dr. Giovanni Martinez reports that cannabis oil has already shown to have positive effects in relieving the symptoms of autism. Dr. Martinez researches the therapeutic possibilities of treating children who have autism with CBD oil and recounts a case in which Kalel Santiago, a mute child with severe autism, began to speak his first words after receiving an oral double-daily dose of hemp oil spray. Dr. Martinez states:
“He started using the product three weeks ago. He was a full non-verbal patient. He only made sounds. The only change in his treatments was the use of CBD. Initially, the child would become so frustrated with his inability to communicate, he would act out and injure himself. But, now that he can express himself, he laughs and enjoys life.”
Kalel Santiago is living proof that cannabis is beneficial. Cannabis oil has not only been used to treat autism and ADHD, but a variety of diseases and conditions, such as anxiety, strokes, cancer, glaucoma, and easing the severity/number of seizures in those with epilepsy.So how do we harness cannabis in order to cure? For starters, James Henry SF’s Day-Time Focus line was inspired by Adderall and offers the benefits of the drug in addressing ADHD without its negative side effects. But in terms of long-term benefit, and as adolescent mental health issues have shown to cost to society as high as $247 billion annually, it is beneficial that we continue to explore, legalize and decriminalize the use of cannabis to treat even more diseases.