by Tab Moura
This is a question I have been asked more in my time as a cannabis advocate than any other question combined. Why would a child need cannabis? I admit, this question excites me, because it’s such an open ended question. Why wouldn’t a child need cannabis?
For a moment, let’s think less about their ages and more about their status as mammals. We know that all mammals have Endocannabinoid systems (ECS); it is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter system within their bodies that produces endogenous (internal) cannabinoids, like anandamide and 2-AG. This system is completely safe, and in a healthy body this system low-key maintains itself. You can stimulate the Endocannabinoid receptors with exercise, sex, some foods (including chocolate and breast milk), and perhaps most notably, cannabis.
Research suggests that cannabis is safe for children under careful observation and management. While we know that cannabis is a powerful substance that can influence the brain’s development, we also must consider the impact that alternative options may have on development as well.
I can tell you from personal experience, Cannabis starts to feel less scary when you are watching a child have a seizure that is already having unknown effects on their development. Cannabis feels like a life raft when your home transforms from a meltdown war zone, to an autism safe haven. Cannabis becomes a microphone when your child who was unable to speak, has now graduated from speech therapy.
We have tons of research about the lasting impacts of trauma on children’s brains, but what is trauma? Put simply, trauma is caused by an excessive blend of neurotransmitters in the body, brought on by some kind of stress or injury. Any health condition can cause lasting stress markers in the body, because neurotransmitters run the show; it’s a delicate balance to find homeostasis, which is a lifelong moving target as our health ebbs and flows with time. Adults use cannabis daily to support their ECS and treat health conditions that children around the world alsoexperience. I could go on to things like cancer, scoliosis, eczema, migraines, anxiety and more… there is so much research on what it can help with, we just have to adjust our thinking to make room for children’s health and wellness in this discussion.
Cannabis is a valid therapeutic option, and there are so many specialists ready and willing to help families do so with confidence, and with great success. I fully support a parent’s right to choose, even if their research takes them to traditional medicine. The child’s wellness comes first. As for those of us that have found relief with cannabis, we will never go back.
I look forward to sharing more in this column about my life with and around mini cannabis patients, and I hope it gives our readers some insight into the intricate and beautiful world of pediatric cannabis therapy.