Becoming an MMJ Caregiver for a Child with Cancer
Parents and guardians are increasingly interested in whether medical marijuana can help their children with problems like cancer-related pain and nausea—but there’s concern about interactions with their medications and a general lack of research.
At DocMJ, we pride ourselves in having a team of dedicated and passionate Medical Marijuana Physicians who help pediatric patients and their families find relief. If you are wondering if a Medical Marijuana Card is right for your child, book a risk-free appointment to discuss your options.
Medical Marijuana and Cancer Relief
Over the past two decades, hundreds of studies have studied the antitumor properties of cannabis with promising results.
Multiple animal studies show certain cannabinoids have antiproliferative effects in various tumor cells. These include prostate, skin, neural, breast, bone, leukemia, lymphoma, and thyroid cancers. Additionally, cannabis has been shown to enhance the effects of certain chemotherapeutic agents.
While most reports are anecdotal, in one case, radiation, chemotherapy, and bone marrow transplant were unsuccessful forms of treatment for a young female, and her physicians decided no further treatment was available. But, not wanting to give up, the patient’s parents began dosing her with concentrated cannabis oil, and after two weeks of dosing their daughter with cannabis oil, her leukemia cell count went from 194,000 to 61,000. By day 30, her cell count dwindled to 300.
Researchers have recently reported using cannabis in both in vitro and in vivo animal studies of neuroblastoma (NBL). This incredibly common childhood cancer starts in the sympathetic nervous system’s early nerve cells (called neuroblasts). In vitro studies found that both CBD and THC reduced neuroblastoma cells’ viability in a dose-dependent and time-dependent manner. However, when comparing the two, CBD had a significantly better response in reducing NBL cells than THC.
Some data shows that cannabis could eventually be used as a treatment for certain cancers, but until it gets off the Scheduled Substance list, little research can be done. However, you can manage specific symptoms caused by cancer and the treatments that come with it.
Managing Your Childs’s Cancer Symptoms with Cannabis
Parents are increasingly interested in whether medical marijuana can help their children with the side effects caused by cancer and chemotherapy, like cancer-related pain and nausea—but there is some concern about interactions with their medications and a general lack of research.
Even so, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a few chemically pure drugs based on marijuana compounds approved in the US for medical use.
● Dronabinol (Marinol®/Syndros®) is a prescription medicine containing delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is approved by the FDA to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy.
● Nabilone (Cesamet®) is a synthetic cannabinoid that acts similarly to THC. It can be taken orally to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy when other options have not worked.
● Nabiximols is a cannabinoid drug still being studied in the US. It’s an oral spray consisting of a whole-plant extract with THC and CBD in almost a one-to-one ratio. It’s available in Canada and Europe to treat pain linked to cancer. It has not yet been approved in the United States, but it is being tested in clinical trials to see if it can help several conditions.
In addition to those mentioned above, CBD is known to help manage those unwanted symptoms your child might be experiencing. For example, some studies have suggested that CBD may ease neuropathic pain, nausea, inflammation, and anxiety.
Is MMJ Safe for Children?
The safety of cannabis for children is a question that is debated by many different sides. Since there has been minimal research done to show the long-term effects medical marijuana has on anyone, there is some concern about how it might affect children’s development.
Significant developmental changes occur in the brain during the ages 12-23, making marijuana use a bit risky. Since our bodies already make natural, endogenous cannabinoids, which help build connections in the brain, adding additional THC into the system can cause dysfunction, as nerve connections form erratically and imperfectly. This could lead to decreased IQ that may not improve, affected memory, and a higher risk of lifelong substance use.
Particularly for younger adolescents, allowing the brain to mature under the influence of extra external THC can lead to the brain being hardwired to function under that influence, making it difficult to stop using.
Additional side effects include:
● Difficulty maintaining attention.
● Problems with memory and learning.
● A decline in school performance.
● Difficulty thinking and problem solving
● Increased risk of mental health issues.
● Impaired coordination.
● Impaired driving.
On the other hand, CBD is an excellent option for pediatric patients because it offers many health benefits without additional risks. There is also no psychoactivity produced by CBD, allowing children to go about their daily routine with no recognizable difference. Just keep in mind that over-the-counter CBD can sometimes be mislabeled.
Since the FDA does not regulate hemp-derived CBD in a way that prevents mislabeling, it is easy to purchase a product that will not show results. DOC-CBD is lab-tested hemp-derived CBD available in many different routes of administration.
What is a Caregiver & How to Become One
A caregiver is someone who has the legal right to purchase, possess, and help administer medical marijuana for use by a qualified medical marijuana patient. They are considered to be the legal representative for the medical marijuana patient.
Becoming a Caregiver to a Medical Marijuana patient in Florida is quite simple. You can qualify as long as you’re a parent, legal guardian, a healthcare surrogate, or have power of attorney to make healthcare decisions for someone.
The patient you are a caregiver for must either be a minor, terminally ill, in hospice or an adult who presents with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities and is unable to engage fully in self-care activities or self-determination for health needs.
Qualifying to Become a Medical Marijuana Caregiver
There are several restrictions and conditions that medical marijuana caregivers must meet to qualify:
● A designated caregiver may not be a qualified physician
● Cannot be employed by or have an economic interest in a medical marijuana treatment center or marijuana testing laboratory
● A legal caregiver must be 21 years of age and a Florida resident
● They must agree, in writing, to assist with the qualified patient’s medical use of marijuana cannabis products
● All designates must complete a caregiver certification course by the Florida Department of Health
● Medical marijuana caregivers in Florida must pass a background check if not closely related to the patient.
Similar to not allowing a patient to have more than one designated registered caregiver, a caregiver cannot be registered to more than one patient unless:
● The caregiver is a parent of two or more minor children who are qualified patients.
● The applicant is the parent of an adult with disabilities, preventing qualified patients from self-care activities without supervision or assistance.
● A designated caregiver may also be an employee of a hospice program with multiple qualified patients.
Becoming a caregiver is similar to getting a regular medical marijuana card. First, the caregiver must be entered into the state’s Medical Marijuana Use Registry by their children’s MMJ Physician and apply for their caregiver ID card through the state’s Department of Health.
After paying the state fee, you will find out if you qualify. Then, with an ID card and approval from the Medical Marijuana Use Registry (MMUR), caregivers can show they can legally purchase, possess, and administer medical marijuana on behalf of a qualified patient.