Should Kids Be Allowed to Use Medical Marijuana?

According to a first-of-its-kind poll, the majority of Americans think kids shouldn’t be allowed to use medical marijuana, and most people have even greater objections to adults using medical marijuana in front of kids. Those are some of the findings from a new poll from C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital’s National Poll on Children’s Health that surveyed roughly 2,000 U.S. adults.

“Although there have been many surveys done about medical marijuana, we were not aware of any that had addressed whether the public sees medical marijuana for children the same as, or different from, medical marijuana for adults,” explains Matthew M. Davis, MD, MAPP, director of the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health. Here are some more findings:

  • 63% of adults surveyed agreed that their state should allow adults to use medical marijuana.
  • 36% agreed that their state should allow children to use medical marijuana.
  • 80% agreed that adults should not be allowed to use medical marijuana in the presence of children.

The Pros and Cons for Children

Currently, medical marijuana is legal in 23 states, and parents and medical marijuana advocates alike have touted the compounds found in pot, known as cannabinoids, for treating kids with epilepsy as well as autism, attention deficit disorder, muscular dystrophy and the pain and nausea of cancer.

Still, say opponents, the risks may outweigh the benefits; there’s little science to say for sure how safe medical marijuana is for kids. Research has, however, found that cannabinoids can damage developing brains and trigger mental health issues like schizophrenia – and the younger kids are when they try marijuana, the more likely they are to become addicted, according to

The new C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital’s National Poll on Children’s Health poll comes shortly after a push from Congress for the federal government to reclassify marijuana as a controlled substance that can be dispensed legally. It’s currently classified as a Schedule 1 drug – along with heroin and LSD – “with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

No matter your views on medical marijuana, the survey results make clear that protecting kids is (and should be) top of mind: “In the U.S., adults generally say that there should be more caution for children than for adults when it comes to medication use,” says Davis. “We found that this sentiment may be coming through in attitudes about state laws for medical marijuana as well.” 

What do you think: Should kids be allowed to use medical marijuana?

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