Despite What Fox & Friends Reports, The Kids Are Alright: No One Has Died
Interesting Fact: the endocannabinoid system doesn’t mature until after 10 years old, therefore kids actually tolerate higher doses of THC than adults. Fox & Friends needs to hire a scientist.
If we only ever paid attention to the mainstream news, we’d think kids were dying left and right from accidentally eating cannabis edibles. Last week, Florida sheriff Grady Judd appeared on Fox & Friends and said that cannabis was “ruining families and killing people every day across the United States.”
Fox & Friends is a morning program where logic goes to die. It’s President Trump’s favorite show to call in and admit he’s obstructing justice, and where Canadian pseudoscientist Jordan Peterson recently discussed nonsense concepts like gays causing “cultural collapse.”
But back to the weed. What’s this about people dying from cannabis, according to Sheriff Judd?
Judd was referring to an incident at a Florida middle school where a student passed around THC-infused gummies to other kids. Florida’s voters recently approved medical cannabis, which was quite a victory for the movement given the state’s strongly conservative leanings.
It’s Part of the Anti-Cannabis Propaganda
Although Sheriff Judd provided absolutely zero evidence for his claim that cannabis (1) destroyed families or (2) killed people, his idiocy reflects our society’s collective ignorance when it comes to kids and cannabis.
Children are, and always have been, our most vulnerable demographic. We protect them because it’s not only common sense, it’s encoded in our genes, too.
But this impulse to protect children can be easily exploited, particularly by politicians and parents’ groups that rely on fear to exert control over society. Harry Anslinger scared Americans in the 1930s when he told them cannabis use would lead to their white daughters being raped by black and Xicano men. Presidents Nixon and Reagan pushed the gateway myth through the U.S. public education system to scare kids – and their parents – away from cannabis. Today, the “for the kids” tactic has evolved into amplifying anxieties around cannabis edibles, which opponents claim are designed to get kids hooked on ‘the ganja’.
What’s really going on, however, is prohibitionists are trying to scare Americans away from cannabis-based medicines. And what better way to do it than by holding children hostage?
Science Tells Us to Calm Down: Children Are More Tolerant of THC Than Adults
Dr. Ethan Russo is one of the most prominent cannabis scientists in the world. A neurologist and psychopharmacologist, he’s written several books about cannabis as a medicine, and he currently serves as the chair of the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines.
In one of his books, The Pharmacological History of Cannabis, Russo discusses the effects of THC on young children’s brains. He traces the use of cannabis medicines for children going back centuries, where cannabis has traditionally been mixed with sweets or candies to make it more palatable for youngsters. Historically, cannabis (when administered correctly) appears to have had minimal to no side effects on children.
Additionally, Russo cited Raphael Mechoulam’s 1995 delta-8-THC study, where kids were given a whopping 0.64 mg/kg/dose to treat nausea caused by chemotherapy. The treatment “was virtually totally effective and free of side effects,” he wrote.
To give you some idea of this dose, assume a child weighs 80 pounds or 36 kilograms. Each dose, then would be about 23 mg delta-8-THC. The recommended “recreational” serving for a full-grown adult is 10 mg THC.
Russo continues with a 2005 German study that looked at Marinol administration on children with severe neurological conditions like epilepsy and hypoxic encephalopathy. He wrote, “Marked benefit was noted with no serious side effects aside from one self-limited case of tenfold accidental overdose, and no withdrawal effects were seen even after abrupt withdrawal following months of therapy.”
Russo’s historical analysis finds the same trend in children given cannabis medications, regardless of ailment. Whether it was ADHD, spasticity, chronic pain, migraines, coughing fits, or parasites, cannabis was not only effective, but appeared to be relatively safe, too.
Both Russo and another cannabis-supporting doctor, Bonni Goldstein, have stated that children are especially tolerant of THC, more so than adults. For instance, children being treated with high-dose cannabis oil can usually consume more than, say, their parents. This is likely due to the immaturity of the endocannabinoid receptor network, particularly in children under 10 years of age.
But, Tolerance Does Not Equal Immunity
Cannabis, like any medicine, can be incorrectly administered. Even if children can tolerate higher doses of THC, that doesn’t mean they’re entirely immune to its effects. Although kids overdosing on cannabis edibles is rare, the incidences of children going to the ER after accidentally eating too much cannabis edibles has increased over the years. Of course, none of these kids have died, but the experience was likely scary for both the child and their parents, nonetheless.
As for studies that claim cannabis lowers IQ or causes brain damage in children – know that these claims have never, ever showed causation. They’ve only shown correlation, and given that intellectual heavyweights such as Carl Sagan, Barack Obama, Francis Crick, and even William Shakespeare all consumed cannabis, it seems rather ridiculous that some people – like Sheriff Judd – still hold on to these old, long-disproven myths about cannabis.