Doctors of Natural Medicine

Medical Marijuana Use for Children in Colorado: What to Know

Medical Marijuana Use for Children in Colorado: What to Know

The use of medical marijuana for children can be a difficult subject to navigate; over the past several years there has been a dramatic rise in the use of medical cannabis for adults. Marijuana has long been a popular drug, and many swear by its natural healing properties. 

Yet the FDA and the medical community is still exploring the benefits of medical marijuana, especially for use in children. Required to take an evidence-based approach to the subject, they may be progressing more slowly than some parents would like.

As of 2018, the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) felt that medical cannabis should only be used to treat children with severe, life-limiting conditions.

Then, in 2020, the Children’s Hospital Colorado introduced its Pediatric Medical Marijuana Policy. The hospital has made it clear staff will not recommend or prescribe the drug. Instead, the policy will focus on education for parents and opening a discussion around safety. Education is great, and this is why medical marijuana for use in children is prescribed in medical marijuana clinics.

The hospital believes that the program is vital for those parents who have already started their children on medical cannabis. The program may also be helpful for minors who are using marijuana to self-medicate. In both cases, interaction with other medications is a major concern.

Common Use Cases of Medical Marijuana for kids

Requirements for pediatric patients to obtain medical marijuana differ from state to state. Minors in Colorado need certification from two different doctors to be registered in the state dispensary program. This means that medical marijuana is allowed for children in Colorado. If you are seeking medical marijuana for your child, consider booking an appointment with our doctors.

As of May 2019, there were 330 minors registered on this list, with severe epilepsy listed as the most common reason for children under the age of ten. For kids aged eleven to seventeen, severe pain was the most often cited condition.

Some other common kids’ conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana include:

Child with Autism paints on screen

Medical Marijuana for Minors: Concerns

There are two primary concerns around using medical cannabis for children. First, there is little research on medicinal cannabis in this specific age group. While several studies have been carried out for specific conditions, many recommended further research to prove efficacy.

A second concern lies in the lack of standardized requirements for the drug as far as strength, purity, or ingredients. This lack of standards has given rise to concerns about safety, although that is changing.  In Colorado, the Medical Marijuana program (getting a medical marijuana card) has started to do this for patients seeking these standard.

Currently there are two drugs derived from cannabis that is approved by the FDA. Dronabinol is a synthetic cannabinoid that can be used to treat nausea and vomiting.

Epidiolex® was approved in July 2020 for two specific forms of childhood epilepsy. Dispensed in a liquid form, it provides reliable dosing. As a CBT-based drug, it does not give the patient a ‘high’.

There are also several rare yet potential side effects of cannabis-based treatments that parents should be aware of, including:

  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Sleepiness or lethargy.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Anxiety and difficulty sleeping.
  • Addiction.
  • In rare cases, Schizophrenia.

Yet despite these concerns, marijuana is believed by many to be a natural, and therefore preferable, alternative to traditional big-pharma drugs, even for children. Cannabis has been used as a medication for centuries, recorded for the first time in China in 1500 B.C., where it was used to treat nausea and insomnia.

With proper dosing and careful monitoring, medical cannabis can be a safe and effective part of any treatment process. If you feel your child may benefit from a natural treatment alternative, speak with your doctor today. 

Children smiling

Conclusion about medical marijuana for kids and minors

When it comes to deciding whether medical cannabis is right for you and your child, it’s important to have the facts.  We hope this article was helpful to all those seeking alternative ways to providing relief for their family. For more information on the benefits of medical marijuana for childrencontact our clinic today.


Author: J.P. Carrol