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Medical Ethicist: Marijuana For Kids Is ‘Absolutely Right’

By on August 21, 2013
NBC's Dr. Arthur Caplan believes that giving medical marijuana to kids is no different from giving them often dangerous pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Arthur Caplan of NYU believes the risks of giving medical marijuana to children are no greater than commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals

TruthOnPot.com – What makes marijuana less safe for kids than pharmaceutical drugs with well known side effects? Nothing, according to medical ethics expert Arthur Caplan, Ph.D.

The ethicist outlined his opinion on the hotly debated issue – which was recently addressed by New Jersey’s governor – in a column for NBC.

“The N.J. bill, which allows prescriptions of edible medical marijuana for kids, is the absolutely right thing to do.”

Dr. Caplan, who heads the Division of Bioethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, acknowledges that many kids “are getting relief” from medical marijuana and says that marijuana should be evaluated according to the same criteria as other treatment options.

“Taking the active ingredient of marijuana and giving it to a child is no different from giving the child any other potent and risky pill that is helpful… the bottom-line issue is: does it work, can it be monitored under medical supervision and is it made in a way that guarantees a uniform dose and quality?”

But the controversy stemming from marijuana is rarely about whether it works or not. Scientists, policymakers and patients have all testified to the fact that marijuana is indeed an effective medicine.

Rather, some seem hesitant about giving children the same drug that many teens and adults smoke to get high.

As Caplan explains, marijuana doesn’t need to be smoked to work.

“Before you get an image in your head of some little kid sitting on a corner smoking a joint, keep in mind the medicine is basically syrup containing the active ingredient[s] found in marijuana.”

It doesn’t need to get you high either, since numerous chemicals in marijuana (besides THC) have been found to possess medical properties.

And although many in the medical community, including the American Academy of Pediatricians, argue that clinical trials have yet to be conducted – suggesting that there isn’t enough proof of its safety – Caplan asserts that “despite the possible risks, it ought to be available for doctors to prescribe to children.”

“Many still sneer at the idea of ‘pot for tots.’ They are wrong. Carefully regulated it ought to be available to children for whom nothing else seems to work.”

[NBC]

  • Db

    I think doctors give kids opiate pain medication? Right? Sometimes teens chop those up and use those to get high. So isn’t giving kids opiates giving kids the real wrong message rather than using a plant with an impeccable safety record…

  • Amnesia

    I am a very intelligent adolescent that uses cannabis frequently and I have been for roughly 4 years, and I am proof that cannabis is good for the human body, as I am asthmatic, and when I use cannabis, it acts as a better bronchodilator than a regular salbutamol reliever inhaler. Therefore I am proof of cannabis’ effect on the human body.