Perhaps my cover photo is a bit over the top, but sometimes it's difficult to get my voice heard over all the stigma, misconceptions, and misbeliefs that surround this amazing herb, cannabis. As you can imagine, all the chatter can get pretty loud and it's easy for a voice to get drowned out. But, if you could please do me a favor and humor me for just five minutes of your time. That is all I want, just five minutes of your time.

Your child and your family have been through the ringer. You have spent months, maybe even years, in and out of the pediatrician’s office. You spend more time on the phone with the receptionist than the time you get to spend in the shower. You practically have a parking spot with your name on it! Oh my, is the receptionist screening your phone calls now?! She’s answering with, “Good morning Susie…what’s going on with Matt today?” Rather than, “Good morning, Highland Pediatrics, how may I help you?” Sarcastically saying to yourself, “fan-frickin’-tastic! We're THAT family.”

It’s been one prescription after the next. Another suggested therapy or program. The medications either never work, or if one does, it has side effects that you need to treat with another medication, OR, the prescription quells the symptom(s), but now your child’s a zombie. Your heart breaks because you don’t even recognize your child as they stare off into space. Strike one!

Therapy and programs? Of course, if it will help! But, what if your child suffers from high anxiety, has violent meltdowns, OCD, Tourette’s, or any other condition or symptom that impedes them from focusing? How effective and beneficial can therapy or a program be at that point? It can’t be! Yep, here you and your child are again, in the usual chase…you know, the one after your tail?! You just never seem to catch it. You’re always a centimeter or two too far. Strike two!

The prescribed medications aren’t working, which ultimately means your child isn’t able to function to benefit from their therapies, programs, or schooling. Your child’s pediatrician suggests using off-label medications, but these are heavy duty with extreme side effects. "No friggin' thank you," you think to yourself. You’re desperate to help your child, but at what risk and cost?

You’re feeling defeated, hopeless and literally at your wit’s end. You just want to help your child, see them happy, and live the best version of themselves. It should be that simple, right?Is that so much to ask for? But, in your child’s and family’s case, it seems to be this insurmountable feat. Strike three!

You say no to the off-label medications, take matters into your own hands and start researching alternative modalities for your child’s condition. You ask for opinions from parents in your online support groups, you read up on everything out there and watch what feels like a million hours worth of YouTube videos, but you are left with more overwhelm and confusion than before. Where do you turn? What is the answer? What is the right answer?!

You keep hearing about hemp derived cannabis (CBD) and the positive outcomes children and their families are experiencing. You’re intrigued. But, it sounds frightening and you’re afraid of what others will think of you if they ever found out that you give your child hemp derived medical cannabis (CBD).

“You’re such a bad parent!” “Marijuana! Are you crazy?!” “Don’t believe it! It’s snake oil.” “Did you hear what Susie is giving her child?!” (gasp, hand to mouth, with wide, “OMG” eyes!) The thoughts and visions of what others’ reactions will be are swirling around your head!

Before we continue…do me a favor and take a deep breath and rest assured. I got your child and family. That’s a promise! You are NOT down and out here, especially after what feels like strike three, maybe even strike one million for some. What I’m about to tell you next is with true confidence and is FACT! Why is that? Simple! Because it’s S-C-I-E-N-C-E!

Hemp derived cannabis (CBD) is truly a very safe, effective and viable alternative modality in treating a variety of conditions, including in children. Science has PROVEN that cannabis is one of the safest substances around. And, well, the numbers don’t lie either! Here, I’ll show you!

The Centers for Disease Control, also known as the CDC, compiles yearly mortality data showing deaths from alcohol, tobacco, and much more. There are more than 95,000 alcohol-induced deaths per year, 480,000 deaths per year related to smoking, and a whopping ZERO deaths due to cannabis. That’s right! ZERO deaths due to cannabis. (Let’s put this in perspective and think back to the 60’s and 70’s when cannabis use skyrocketed. Guess what?! No deaths during this time period. Not then, not hundreds of years ago, not now, not ever, because it’s actually NOT even possible!) The CDC no longer has a category for cannabis deaths since none have ever been reported. So, YES, hemp derived cannabis (CBD) is safe for your child!

While the safety profile for cannabis is unsurpassed, there is of course, always the possibility that some children may experience some side effects. Now, please don’t start to feel all, “I knew this was too good to be true. Laurie from my support group said this would happen. I hate when she’s right. She’s always right!” Like anything in life, we always assume some kind of risk, whether miniscule or significant.

While uncommon, but possible, some children who consume hemp derived cannabis (CBD) in the form of a Full Spectrum Hemp oil, can sometimes experience diarrhea, dry mouth, drowsiness and a decrease in appetite. Again, uncommon, but always possible and to keep in mind if you were to use it for your child’s condition.

Now, compare these possible side effects to the possible side effects of the pharmaceutical drug, Risperidone, a second-generation antipsychotic, that is approved to treat excessive irritability or aggression in Autism Spectrum Disorder. These side effects include, but aren’t limited to: stomach pain, anxiety, agitation, restlessness, significant weight gain, involuntary movements, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, vision problems, muscle pain, joint pain, difficulty urinating, dizziness, unsteady gait, among several others.

Wait, agitation, restlessness, and anxiety? Didn't I just say that Risperidone helped with irritability? Well, it can for some children, but it often has the opposite effect, such as making the situation worse. Many parents will describe these experiences as “rages.” Sounds exactly like the resolution an exhausted, frustrated, and at their wit’s end kind of parent needs.

So, is there really a comparison here? Of course there is! You need to see this all laid out in the same space so you can truly understand what it’s all about, and feel confident that whatever path you choose for your child, is not only the right one for your child, but also one that you are confident with. But, in order to do this, you need the right and most accurate information to decide whether or not hemp derived cannabis (CBD) is truly the right option for your child and family.

At the end of the day, this is your child we’re talking about here! And, this is why I am here today, writing this blog to provide you with the RIGHT and MOST ACCURATE information based on the studies!

Hemp derived medical cannabis (CBD) is safe! VERY safe! Not because I say it is. But rather, because the studies show that it is and its safety profile is unsurpassed. As reflected by the ZERO recorded deaths and overdoses.

Hemp derived medical cannabis (CBD) ISN’T for every child and family. Hemp derived medical cannabis is NOT a miracle. But, what hemp derived medical cannabis is, is a safe, viable, and effective alternative OPTION for children and families who have experienced failed conventional treatment after failed conventional treatment and are now exploring safe, alternative modalities for their child and their condition.

Families and children deserve to understand ALL options that are available to them. But, this cannot happen if healthcare professionals don’t stay abreast on the research, or choose to look away from the science because it’s contrary to their opinion. (The latter is much more common than I care to admit regarding my healthcare colleagues). In doing so, we do a disservice to our patients and their families. This is why I am screaming this from the rooftops!!!!

If you are willing to understand the science and give hemp derived medical cannabis a chance, it truly can be the key to unlocking your child within, and providing the quality of life you only thought was imaginable.

Hope you enjoyed today’s blog!

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