Thoughts about MMJ for children w/severe behaviors

Cherish - posted on 08/07/2012 ( 24 moms have responded )

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I am curios how most people feel about MMJ(medical marijuana) for children with serious behavior issues
And by serious behavior issues I mean children that have developmental disabilities that have significant aggression,like head banging on windows,walls,cement.And biting,pinching,scratching...etc themselves and others.

The thing is Dr's will prescribe dangerous medications with potentially serious side effects,but it seems like such medications are acceptable to most people but MMJ is not,I do not understand this.

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No drug is ever completely safe to give, but having undergone studies does make it safer. Knowing the side effects means that doctors and caregivers know what to look for, they can spot problems before they become serious. Not only does testing show us the side effects of the drug, but these tests also prove or disprove the effectiveness of specific drugs in specific situations. Until we do these studies, we don't know whether a drug will help an illness or make it worse.

Dr's can only prescribe what is legal, and they don't really have that much say in what is approved and not approved by the FDA. They prescribe the medications they do because that is what is available--while not completely safe, they are believed to be the safest options available. If marijuana is tested for a wider variety of illnesses and approved by the FDA for those illnesses, I think a lot of doctors would be on board with prescribing it, but right now, that is just not the case. It would be unethical for a doctor to prescribe it without knowing whether it will help, or make the situation worse--if it did worsen a person's illness, the doctor would likely be sued and loose his/her license.

For example, MMJ is known to reduce nausea in chemo recipients, but it is known to worsen symptoms of schizophrenia which is related to a wide range of self injurious behaviors, thus, it has been approved in some states for treatment of nausea, however, more research is needed to determine whether it can be used for mental illness. Research is currently underway to explore the effectiveness of MMJ on autistic children, so it will be interesting to see how that turns out.

The article is very interesting, but I don't see how it pertains to this post. The inhaler in the article is being used to treat MS (Multiple Sclerosis), which is not associated with any of the behaviors you asked about in the OP.

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I totally agree with that too, Meme--in fact, it is a concern for many of the drugs used to treat behavioral problems. No matter what we use--weather it is a controversial drug, or one widely accepted as a safe treatment--we must monitor our children VERY closely.

[deleted account]

Sorry, Cherish, the original post was not that specific. There are hundreds of developmental disabilities that can cause the behaviors described in the OP, many of which could benefit from MMJ, and many that can be worsened by the use of MMJ. That is why it is important to identify the root cause of the behavior before embarking on ANY treatment.

I am not sure what you mean my "MR" it is often an abbreviation for "Mental Retardation" in the medical field. That is a broad term identifying a wide range of conditions. Again, the root cause of the retardation/behavioral issues would need to be identified before exploring treatment options because, while it may be helpful in some situations, it can worsen many others.

[deleted account]

I think it would depend on the root cause of the aggressive behaviors.

Gregory E. Simon, MD, MPH, Senior Scientific Investigator in the Center for Health Studies at the Group Health Cooperative, states the following in response to questions about MMJ use curbing mental illness.

"Using marijuana can certainly contribute to or worsen depression. Low motivation, fatigue, and withdrawal from positive activities are central features of depression and marijuana can worsen each of those problems. Some people do say that marijuana dulls anxiety or negative feelings. But it also dulls energy and motivation. And we know that activation and engagement are key parts of recovery from depression.
Marijuana can be even more troublesome for people—especially younger people—who live with bipolar disorder. In addition to worsening depression, marijuana can increase the likelihood of experiencing symptoms of psychosis—like hallucinations or paranoid ideas. In younger people who are at higher risk for bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, using marijuana increases the chances of developing a severe or disabling mental illness."


That said, according to the Autism Research Institute (a non profit organization dating back to the 1960's) marijuana has been helpful in calming unmanageable aggression in autistic children.

Jenni - posted on 08/07/2012

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I think the problem is that there hasn't been near enough testing on the effects of marijuana on children.

There has been studies to suggest that smoking in the teen years (during neural pruning) can add to the risk factors of psychosis or other mental health issues (particularly schizophrenia) in individuals with a predisposition for mental illness.

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Momma (MeMe) - posted on 08/28/2012

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Sherri---Nope fine with all of those. You can't even compare them to cocaine. The effects of cocaine are mind altering and cause your body needing more and more and more is highly addictive and damaging.



Actually Concerta IS a form of Methamphetamine (Methylphenidate), so it is like Meth. It is nothing like Coke, just to straighten that out.



Many people that abuse it, that's right, there are many average people, that do not or do have ADD or ADHD that abuse this prescribed drug and ARE addicted to it. The thing is a person with ADD/ADHD need the stimulation the drug gives them. Therefore, they react different to the drug. However, if they overuse or take more than they should (or the doctor gets the amount wrong), they can become dependent.



It has actually be proven, that people with this disability, that are not medicated via prescribed stimulant will seek street stimulants (not always of course, their environment has a lot to do with it, too). Why? Because their body needs it, in order to feel proper. So comparing Concerta to Meth is real, it is just NOT real for the individual with a true underlying disability, unless they are abusing it. It has also been claimed that Concerta (ritalin) can cause addiction issues later in life.



http://www.concerta.net/



My daughter was on Concerta for 8 years. I have researched the hell out of it. Now, I would not give her meth instead of Concerta, simply because as a medicine it is closely monitored in its preparation, where street meth, is not. As well as, she was closely monitored by the doctors. She had to be seen every 3 months or they would not give her more. So, yes, there is a big difference. However, I will not give her Concerta anymore, either. Now that I have completed 8 years of research, I have decided the unknown risks outweigh the good. At the time, though, it did help and it did allow me to be able to guide her toward learning how her mind works and how to use it to her benefit.



Anyhow, back to the MMJ. MMJ is not a street drug. It is a medicine prescribed by doctors, just like Concerta and other forms of ritalin (or other behind the counter drugs). You purchase it in legalized places, even though, they are not typically a pharmacy, you still need a medical card to show your allowance of the purchase. It is often not as strong as its sister street drug MJ and it is watched more closely for additives.



I am not sure I would give my kid(s) MMJ for behavioural issues but if they had cancer or something alike and could not eat or were in constant pain, I would look at that avenue. I would first need to be in the situation of severe behavioural issues and assess at that time.



A recent study has just been completed. I heard it on the radio this morning. It has been determined that children under the age of 18, that smoke pot are very likely to lose tons of their IQ. Since their developing brain is affected, greatly. Now, I don't know about this, really. I smoked a LOT of pot during my teens and I am still quite intelligent but maybe I would be some mad scientist, if I hadn't. LOL

Denikka - posted on 08/28/2012

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To smoke? No, absolutely not. I will never encourage or okay my child to smoke anything at any time.

I can't stand the smell of pot. Not to even mention what inhaling smoke will do to your lungs or the fact that you're affecting everyone who comes in contact with you due to second or third hand smoke..



In pill form, I would be okay with it. If it was tested, proven safe, and helped my child? Sure. If that was the best thing to help my child, and especially the one with the least side effects, I wouldn't think twice.



But no way in HELL is my child, my UNDERAGE child especially, going to start smoking on my property for any reason except perhaps that was the ONLY way to ingest a LIFE SAVING drug.





I'm not actually against marijuana itself as a treatment option. One of my friends in elementary school had some major problems. He was a VERY angry person and the smallest thing could set him off. He'd been through MANY different treatments, from counselling to drug therapy and nothing helped him in a positive way. Sure, there were a couple of drugs that calmed him down, but all the way into a zombie-like state where he was pretty much non functional. Or they'd calm him down, but he would lose chunks of time when the drug was in his system.

During highschool, he started self medicating with pot. And it worked. He would smoke before he went into school in the morning, and again at lunch. And he was calm as could be. And functional. More than functional really. He went from failing everything, to practically straight A's. He went from a hostile individual that no one wanted to be around, to a bright, happy person that everyone loved.

He didn't exhibit a lot of the typical *spacey-ness* that most people associate with pot heads. He was able to act in a completely normal manner. Pot allowed him to be able to function, and excel, in his life. He just recently became a father actually, and is doing quite well for himself. We've lost touch, but have some common friends, and what I hear is that he's still doing fantastically. I don't know whether or not he still smokes, but last I heard, he did and it was still working for him.



What I AM against, when it comes to pot being used as a medical treatment, is the method in which it's ingested. I am completely against smoking. All smoking. But as for pill or spray form, I don't see why not if it truly helps the patient and is the best option for them, as decided by themselves and their doctor.

Sherri - posted on 08/28/2012

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Nope fine with all of those. You can't even compare them to cocaine. The effects of cocaine are mind altering and cause your body needing more and more and more is highly addictive and damaging.

Cherish - posted on 08/28/2012

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Then I assume you would NEVER give your child tylenol or cough syrup with codine if it was prescribed(if he was sick,or if he had surgery)

http://www.livestrong.com/article/69026-...



And I would assume you would not medicate with stimulants since the effect they have is MUCH like cocaine:



Amphetamines and dextroamphetamine are stimulant drugs whose effects are similar to cocaine.2

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant drug that is part of a larger family of amphetamines.3

http://www.theantidrug.com/drug-informat...

Sherri - posted on 08/28/2012

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It is still marijuana which is a street drug and I will NEVER be okaying my child to do drugs.

Sherri - posted on 08/26/2012

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Anti psychotic medications I will NEVER and I mean NEVER give my child street drugs. Prescription medication is a whole different ball game.

Cherish - posted on 08/26/2012

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Sherri-

Why are you ok w/prescription medication,but feel so strongly about MMJ?

You said "NEVER, EVER, EVER anyone that would give it to a child in my opinion should be arrested put in jail and seriously injured!".....

Concerta is a amphetamine..not a anti psychotic

When I gave my son a stimulant the Dr prescribed it caused seizures,and he did not eat all day(and he has always had eating/growth issues),so obviously I did not give it to him again.



You can not say what you would or would not give your child,until you have been in that situation.

Does your son have SERIOUS behaviors?....If he did and you had to pick between anti psychotic medications or MMJ which one would you choose?

I do not understand why people are ok w/anti psychotics,but not MMJ..Anti psychotics can have VERY serious side effects.

Sherri - posted on 08/22/2012

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@ Cherish I know this was meant for someone else but I felt I wanted to give my opinion on this too. @-stiflers mom-You said there is no way in hell you would give it to your kids...would you be ok w/giving your child a antiphyschotic or a stimulant medication?



Yes and I would be perfectly okay with a prescription drug. I actually have my son on concerta for ADD and my other son on Albuterol and Singulair for asthma. If they were allowed to have marijuana because it suddenly made things better my answer would still be HELL NO!!

Sherri - posted on 08/22/2012

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NEVER, EVER, EVER anyone that would give it to a child in my opinion should be arrested put in jail and seriously injured!!

Cherish - posted on 08/08/2012

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I just posted that b/c it talked about the spray.
I live in Colorado,and here you can get a MMJ card for everything it seems...And I KNOW people greatly abuse the "right" to a MMJ card...but now I am rambling.
There are 4 children in Colorado that are under the age of 18 with a MMJ card.So in my state,I could in theory get a card for a child.It is legal for them to approve the "need" for a card,but not to "prescribe" it(which makes no sense to me at all)
Any medication can cause or exacerbate symptoms that they are prescribed to treat.
Do you know if they are studying the use of MMJ in children w/MR and SIB in the US?

Michelle - posted on 08/08/2012

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I dont know much about it medically but marijuana ever is a no no because it can cause mental issues

Cherish - posted on 08/08/2012

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Kelly,I meant mental retardation,when I said MR.
I know there are many people with developmental disabilities(not just autism) that also have aggression and SIB(self injurious behaviors).
The thing that annoys me is that Dr's will prescribe all kinds of medications,and most of the medications can have very serious side effects.
There are 7 countries that have a MMJ based spray,but it is not yet available in the US.
In institutions they give VERY strong medications or use physical restraints for people that are having dangerous behaviors.
I just do not understand why the medical community is so quick to medicate w/IMO are dangerous drugs,but not with MMJ
They seem to think that b/c a drug has been studied and they know the side effects,that it is safe to give.
http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2012/01/26/m...

MeMe - posted on 08/08/2012

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I agree with Kelly. That it would depend on the disorder.



With that said, this part of her comment



Using marijuana can certainly contribute to or worsen depression. Low motivation, fatigue, and withdrawal from positive activities are central features of depression and marijuana can worsen each of those problems.



Is also a concern for children on ritalin. You have to monitor them closely to ensure they are not disengaging and showing depressive symptoms.

Cherish - posted on 08/08/2012

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@-stiflers mom-You said there is no way in hell you would give it to your kids...would you be ok w/giving your child a antiphyschotic or a stimulant medication?
@-Kelly-I am talking about kids w/severe autism and MR that have,at times very dangerous behaviors.

MeMe - posted on 08/08/2012

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Ah but remember we are talking about children with severe behaviour problems. If it were to "slow" them down a bit, it may not be a bad thing. Someone that does not have any mental problems, would not get the same use from it. Yes, it makes a person extremely "lost", if they are cronic... ;)

Stifler's - posted on 08/07/2012

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My sister is a pot head. She got a lift with us for a 6 hour trip. Both of us wanted to throw her out of the moving car. She's soooo fkn slow and has the stupidest attitude. Yeah I'm going to retire at 30.. blahh blahhh I don't plan to work much. No way in hell I'd feed it to my kids. It's not so much occasional smokers but people who smoke it every day seem to be like this.

MeMe - posted on 08/07/2012

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Yes, I do agree. However, there hasn't been a heck of a lot of testing on the other parmaceuticals, either. Perhaps, this is something they should start looking into. I think the main issue is, people feel any form of pot is "bad" because it is typically illegal and has been forced into peoples brains as being a "no-no". However, something like a pill, is OK to them because it is regulated and prescribed by doctors. Even thoug, they are often very strong. I think it will be sometime before a lot of people jump on the medicinal marijuana, band wagon. Meh.

MeMe - posted on 08/07/2012

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If MMJ proved to help the child significantly, I would be all for it. It definitely has less chemicals in it then any other pharmaceutical, so I see no issue with it. As long as the childs' behaviour was extreme and MMJ truly helped them, not hindered them. Since, I know all about pot (smoked it for 23 years - quit 10 months ago) and it most definitely creates a "lazy" attitude. ;)

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