Doctor Loses License After Prescribing Pot Cookies To 4-Year-Old

By Kelly Burch 02/01/19

The case was brought to light when the boy’s father asked a school nurse to give his son a marijuana edible.

4-year-old boy being examined by doctor

A California doctor lost his medical license after recommending cannabis cookies for a four-year-old boy who the doctor diagnosed with ADHD and bipolar disorder after a half-hour meeting.

However, the doctor continues to practice while awaiting an appeal. 

William Eidelman, a natural medicine physician, met with the boy and his father in 2012, according to The Los Angeles Times. Eidelman, who estimates he had recommended more than 10,000 people for the medical marijuana program, had previously recommended that the father use cannabis to treat his son's bipolar and ADHD.

The father brought his son in when the child was having trouble behaving at school. After a brief meeting, Eidelman made a similar diagnosis and recommendation for the preschooler. 

In the decision to repeal Eidelman’s medical license, the California Medical Board said that his actions were “grossly negligent.” 

“Tantrums alone… do not support either diagnosis,” the board members wrote in a decision. “‘Being agitated’ and ‘having trouble sitting still’ hint at ADHD, but could simply hint at a preschooler not happy to have driven many miles to a doctor’s appointment.”

The case came to light when the boy’s father asked a school nurse to give his son a marijuana edible. The nurse alerted child protective services, which ultimately led to an investigation into the doctor. The board found that he had acted irresponsibly.

“Although he did not outright suggest a diagnosis… he all but made one up out of whole cloth,” the board wrote. “Labeling a child with a significant mental condition can be harmful… if those labels are incorrect, pernicious results may follow.”

If the diagnoses were properly made, the recommendation of cannabis would have been acceptable, the board wrote, but because Eidelman did not consult with a psychiatrist the diagnosis was improper. 

"It has not been established, by clear and convincing evidence, that the recommendation of medical marijuana to [the boy], with his father's consent, violated the standard of care," the board wrote.

The board suspended Eidelman’s license in early January, but he is appealing that ruling, and says that he is practicing medicine currently while he waits for the March court date for the appeal. 

“The judge ruled that the revocation is stayed, so yes, I’m still practicing,” he said. 

However, the board insists that Eidelman should not be practicing, according to spokeswoman Susan Wolbarst.

“The Medical Board of California has not received a court order, signed by a judge, indicating that the revocation was stayed. Accordingly, Eidelman’s license is currently revoked,” she said. 

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.