(MintPress)—Of the 54,600 patients in Oregon undergoing medicinal marijuana treatments, more than 50 of them have not yet reached the age of 18.
The ways medicinal marijuana is used in the state vary, but include a number of diseases and conditions that afflict children in the same way they afflict adults. Cancer, multiple sclerosis and seizure syndromes represent just a few. For children, the method of ingestion doesn’t come in the form of inhaled smoke — instead, it’s given to children in a liquid form.
While symptoms in children and adults may be the same, there’s concern over whether the same medicinal marijuana treatments should be administered to developing minors. The National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America published a study in April 2012 indicating a link between minors’ use of cannabis and neuropsychological declines.
But for some families, it’s the best option for their terminally ill children to cope, without undergoing chemotherapy, which brings about severe complications, including pain and extreme exhaustion.
The parents of Cashy Michael Hyde, a 4-year-old Montana boy who passed away on Nov. 14, 2012, due to a brain tumor, will be the first to say that the decision to approve a liquid cannabis treatment for their son was the right move.
“There are no words to describe watching chemotherapy take effect on someone you love,” the parents wrote on the Cash Hyde Foundation website, set up in honor of their son’s memory and battle with cancer. “Chemotherapy kills cancer cells very aggressively and unfortunately it kills healthy cells at the same time.”
While chemo worked the first time around, Cashy’s tumor came back. The Hydes were told that radiation treatment could provide a 30 percent chance of their son living another five years, although he would be at risk of blindness, brain damage and Leukemia.
“We had exhausted our options with chemotherapy and radiation as he had went through and received all the heavy-hitter chemo drugs and the top-notch radiation therapy offered,” the parents wrote. “We made the decision that we wouldn’t put him through any of it ever again.”
Cashy’s story is just one of many circulating throughout the country. Mykala Comstock, a 7-year-old Oregon girl, suffers from leukemia. She takes liquid cannabis in the form of a pill twice a day. It helps control Mykala’s mood and appetite, which is typically wiped out from chemotherapy, according to her mother.
“She’s like she was before,” Erin Purchase, said in an interview with Oregon Live. “She’s a normal kid.”
Aside from cancer, liquid cannabis is not only easing pain, but helping to alleviate symptoms associated with autism and seizures. Jeremy and Karen Echols chose to administer the liquid form of the medicinal drug after medication and behavioral therapy failed to help their son, Alex, an 8-year-old struggling with severe autism and seizures. They say, above all other treatments, it hasn’t cured their son — but it’s helped him control the rage he regularly experienced, according to an ABC report.
Like adults who are prescribed marijuana, children must have the permission of a physician and have valid medical reasons that warrant its use.