As the science and research around cannabis evolves, there are still many questions about the effects of chronic long term use. Although there are no epidemiological findings to suggest the harmful effects of cannabis, the use starting at a young age needs to be closely examined. Until there is proper scientific data available, the use in children should be very limited.
The search for alternative therapies and treatments have become more prevalent, especially with the limitations of pharmaceuticals. In specific cases of epilepsy we have found that the use of high CBD concentrations has decreased the frequency of seizures. There have also been a number of successful applications of cannabis for some developmental as well as psychiatric disorders. Only after careful consideration of all the benefits and risks can it be determined if cannabis is applicable.
Through clinical practice, cannabis has been used in children for a variety of medical conditions and symptoms. We have had success in the use of medical cannabis for epilepsy, cancer, neuromuscular disorders, autism, cerebral palsy, and ADHD among others. In the severe cases we are able to provide relief of symptoms and behavior that limit social interaction and developmental learning. In some cases of aggressive behavior, cannabis has helped to calm and relax the patient. Careful review of the condition, risks, and benefits by a medical professional is necessary in each case.
The main concern of cannabis use at an early age relates to research that shows that cannabis could cause other cognitive and psychiatric disorders. There are studies that show these relationships, but the exact method or process of how it occurs still leaves many questions. There is also some data which suggests that the IQ of those that use cannabis prior to the age of 18 is lower than those that started using it after the age of 18. Again, there are a lot of factors and variables that need to be evaluated further. Nonetheless, the information cannot be left ignored and must be considered in every case where cannabis is used in children and young adults. There are many cases where the benefits of cannabis significantly outweigh the risks and can still play a role in the treatment of children and young adults.