Pediatricians Offer Limited Support for Treating Children with Medical Marijuana

By Paul Gaita 02/10/15

The AAP also reaffirmed its opposition to legalization outside the bounds of the FDA.

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In a series of statements and reports released in January, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) put forward its official policy regarding the legalization of marijuana, as well as medical marijuana and its possible use for children with debilitating or life-threatening diseases.

The AAP, a professional medical organization comprised of 62,000 primary care pediatricians, as well as surgical and medical sub-specialists, reaffirmed its opposition to the legalization of marijuana and medical marijuana outside of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory process.

The organization also presented recommendations for regulating the marketing and advertising of marijuana in states where the drug is now legal, including implementing childproof packaging to prevent accidental consumption by children and limiting sales to individuals over the age of 21.

However, the AAP also used the January 26 statements to reverse their 2004 policy in regard to the use of medical marijuana for children with serious illnesses. In their statements, the organization states that more rigorous research must be conducted in order to verify claims that cannabis has proven effective in treating conditions like Dravet Syndrome, a rare and debilitating form of epilepsy that has reportedly show a positive response to treatment with a low-grade strain of marijuana called Charlotte’s Web.

But the AAP also acknowledged that use of the drug could be considered for “children with life-limiting or severely debilitating conditions, and for whom current therapies are inadequate.” To that end, the AAP recommends that the Drug Enforcement Agency reclassify marijuana as a Schedule 2 substance in order to facilitate more substantive research.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.