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Friday, May 31, 2013

SAVE THE CHILDREN




If there is one thing that almost every citizen can agree on is that they don’t want children using marijuana. It would be safe to assume that most people also wouldn’t want children using alcohol or prescription drugs. As far as hard drugs like cocaine, heroin, meth, etc, we can assume the public would frown upon offering them to children as well. It would also be hard to argue that marijuana is the most dangerous of the aforementioned drugs.  So why is it that anti marijuana ads have been increasingly taking over the airwaves? Here are a few headlines for the NEW REEFER MADNESS.


Research warns that the effects of marijuana on child development are unknown.
 The same is true for other medications used to fight pain and nausea that are currently given to children with cancer, as well as for powerful antipsychotic drugs that are used in long term treatment of childhood mental illnesses. Opioid drugs like morphine and Oxycontin, which are sometimes used to treat the severe pain that accompanies life-threatening cancer and other diseases, for example, can cause overdoses. When it comes to alcohol consumption among youth the negative effects are clear. An American Medical Society report shows adolescent drinkers scored worse than non-users on vocabulary, visual-spatial and memory tests and were more likely to perform poorly in school, fall behind and experience social problems, depression, suicidal thoughts and violence.

Laxer Marijuana Laws Linked to Increase in Kids’ Accidental Poisonings
Nearly 1,400 pediatric patients under 12 were evaluated at the Colo. emergency room for unintentional ingestion for this study. Prior to Sept. 30, 2009, zero of 790 accidental poisoning cases were for marijuana. After Oct. 1, 2009, the number spiked to 14 of 588 cases, with seven of them caused by eating medical marijuana products. Kids who ate the edible pot products showed symptoms like extreme sleepiness, respiratory distress and difficulty walking. Yet even though children feel the effects of pot more strongly, the treatment is the same for them as it is for the adults. According to Dr. George Wang, a clinical instructor in pediatrics at Children's Hospital Colorado and the University Of Colorado School Of Medicine, the only thing doctors can do for a child who has ingested their parents’ pot prescription is to simply wait until it wears off. “They don’t need more than a day or two of hospitalization,” he said. “There were no deaths or lasting side effects.”
 Researchers from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati analyzed national poison control center data on 544,133 children who had visited an emergency department after an accidental medication poisoning. Prescription drugs accounted for 55 percent of the drug-poisoning visits to the emergency room, but represented nearly three quarters of serious injuries. In fact, 43 percent of the children admitted to the hospital after accidentally ingesting a prescription drug ended up in intensive care. The biggest culprits were opioid drugs for pain relief, like oxycodone and codeine; sedatives, like muscle relaxers and sleep aids; and prescription heart drugs. The truth is that your child is 98% more likely to accidentally ingest prescription medication than marijuana.

Marijuana Has no Medicinal Benefits
Although numerous states have adapted medical marijuana laws, anti-marijuana groups insist that there is no medicinal value to marijuana. These activists refer to Federal drug laws that still classify marijuana as a schedule 1 drug to support their view. We all know that marijuana offers relief for many adults, but new studies now show that cannabis can help children in some circumstances as well. Rather than smoke the drug, children who are prescribed medical marijuana take a form of the herb that hardly resembles the mixture of dried leaves, stems and seeds typically smoked by marijuana users.  Instead, the drug is infused into butters or breads, or concentrated in liquid form, called a "tincture," that can be placed under the tongue for more rapid effect. "I can't guarantee it's going to do anything," said Dr. Lester Grinspoon, a retired physician and professor at Harvard Medical School. “But I can tell you it isn't going to do harm. [Marijuana] is remarkably non-toxic."   An owner of a clinic in California, that authorizes patients to use the drug, said staff members have treated as many as 50 patients age 14 to 18 that had A.D.H.D.  Their doctors maintain that it is also safer than methylphenidate (Ritalin), the stimulant prescription drug most often used to treat A.D.H.D. That drug has documented potential side effects including insomnia, depression, facial tics and stunted growth. Children suffering from seizures have experienced amazing results when using cannabis. Dr. Seth Ammerman, a pediatrician and specialist in adolescent substance addiction, acknowledges anecdotal reports that show remarkable turnarounds. But, like many scared doctors around the country, he warns that a parent is "flying by the seat of his or her pants" when it comes to treating children with marijuana. We don't know if these treatments are going to work for every given child, or every given adolescent. "I do think there's potential for these cannabinoids to be medically relevant, but at this time we don't know the risks," says Ammerman.   Among the medical marijuana states that release age related data, Colorado has 45 registered users under age 18, Oregon reports 56 child users and Montana has 55.

Marijuana is an Addictive Gateway Drug
Whether marijuana is a “gateway drug” is a source of some contention even among anti-marijuana groups.  One study by Columbia University’s Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, found that “children who use marijuana are 85 times more likely to use cocaine than non-marijuana users.”  But Dr. Alan J. Budney, a professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Vermont, sees the “gateway” concept as confusing.  He says that “99 percent of cocaine or heroin users have smoked pot.  So in some ways it is a precursor. The other side of that is that 85 percent of people who smoke pot only smoke pot.”  Yet if 85 percent don’t graduate to harder drugs that means that 15 percent (or one out of seven) do.  Adversaries claim that experimenting with marijuana won’t necessarily lead to harder drugs, but it’s an experiment with an unacceptably high degree of risk. It can also be known that over 99% of hard drug users have drunk water and used an over the counter medication prior to their succession to real drugs.  Whether teenagers who smoked pot will use other illicit drugs as young adults has more to do with life factors such as employment status and stress, according to the new research. In fact, the strongest predictor of whether someone will use other illicit drugs is their race/ethnicity, not whether they ever used marijuana. As far as being addictive, most users will never experience any withdraw symptoms when quitting marijuana. In rare instances, heavy users have noticed physiological withdraws similar to breaking a habit. Whether marijuana has become more addictive or not, the 

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