No Medical Marijuana for Chronic Pain Among Teens, Says Researchers

While two states have legalized marijuana for recreational use, approximately 20 states have legalized the drug for medicinal purposes. Lawmakers are scrambling to address the issues raised by lobbyists on both sides, and one of the biggest issues is the effect that legalization of the substance will have on teens.

One of the big issues is marketing and ensuring that those who sell marijuana are not attempting to attract the interest of kids. Another is whether or not the drug is appropriate for use by teens for medicinal reasons. Research has explored the latter topic and found that under no circumstances is it appropriate for teens to be prescribed marijuana.

Study Findings

The researchers at the Mayo Clinic performed an extensive study upon the short- and long-term effects of medicinal marijuana use in teens and found that issues like eventual chemical imbalances and academic de-motivation were problematic.

Lead researchers recognize that chronic pain is an issue with which many teens struggle, one that many adults receive a medical marijuana prescription to treat. However, they warn against teen use of the drug for the treatment of chronic pain and say, instead, that if marijuana abuse is identified in a teen even with the presence of a chronic pain issue, then intervention is warranted. “Even short-term marijuana use may be associated with health and cognitive concerns that may prevent adolescents from achieving their full academic and vocational potential. Optimizing function, despite ongoing pain, should be emphasized as the ultimate goal of chronic pain management, and participation in a functional restoration program may be instrumental in facilitating this transition.”

Holistic Pain Management and Avoiding Addiction

Holistic pain management exists as a possible solution for many children and teens suffering from pain who may otherwise turn to prescription medications or marijuana use. Holistic pain management would address the child as a whole and provide treatment that addresses:

  • Emotional coping skills
  • Proper diet and nutrition
  • Exercise regimen
  • Social skill building

This approach equips teens with the skills necessary to manage symptoms throughout their life, minimizing the need for the use of painkillers—whether marijuana or pills—and helping them to improve their overall quality of life.

If your son is using marijuana or prescription drugs for any reason, we can help you to assist him in learning how to stop. Contact us at Muir Wood today for more information about our integrative programs.