A few years ago, I began to see children in my practice who seemingly responded to marijuana-derived extracts. And as a result, I grew cautiously optimistic that these extracts might be good treatments for the condition.
As a devout believer in evidence-based medicine, I still needed experimental data that could distinguish bona fide effectiveness from a deceptive impression of benefit — a placebo effect.
But my desire to study marijuana ran headlong into a seemingly immovable obstacle: the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The agency’s illogical and stubborn stance makes it all but impossible for scientists to study cannabidiol. I persevered and eventually succeeded in launching a study, but no doubt many others give up, robbing us of valuable insight into marijuana’s potential benefits.
I began as a skeptic. In August 2013, I was treating a 10-month-old boy with infantile spasms. The boy’s father told me he wanted to use a marijuana extract known as cannabidiol rather than the drug I had recommended. He had read online about this ‘natural’ remedy and felt more comfortable with it than with a lab-manufactured medicine.
I politely reminded him that marijuana, too, is a drug, and that plenty of nature’s creations are far from safe. I held firm and we tried six more medications — all without benefit. Without much else to offer, I agreed to using the cannabidiol. But it also failed, and the little boy’s condition continued to deteriorate. [Read More @ Spectrum]