Parenting


November 24, 2009 – I’ve written about medical marijuana so often in the last couple years my mother must think I’m sitting around stoned out of my gourd half the time. The fact is, I don’t even like the stuff. Then again, I don’t much like the smell of Tiger Balm on my own skin but the benefits are well worth the odor when arthritis hits.

I’m a firm believer in old wives’ tales and various schools of holistic medicine. I believe that too many of our children are over medicated with synthetic drugs in order to keep them tractable or comforted. I’m also not one bit shocked that a family in Southern California is having great success with their troubled and autistic child due to the use of medical marijuana.

Recently, their autistic child was on 13 types of medication. He was acting out violently and literally starving himself to death due to a complete lack of appetite. Today, the child is on 3 types of medication, one to be used only as needed, and another that he’s being weaned off of. He’s beginning to show signs of actual verbal communication. The little boy is calm and sociable. He’s also put on a few pounds and is eating like a healthy child again. How is this possible? Through the consumption of a single pot brownie approximately the size of a quarter, administered once every three or four days. The child’s parents are surprised and thrilled.

A large portion of the medical community is not exactly standing behind the family or the family’s doctor who prescribed the medical marijuana. The arguments against it are primarily that there are concerns about giving marijuana to a child and that it hasn’t been tested for results regarding autism. Rather than ask why this mother is feeding her kid a fraction of a pot brownie instead of 13 ineffective pills a day, they ought to look at the results in the case and ask themselves why the heck they aren’t out there testing this today.

The parents have had to listen to comments such as, “Oh, you’re just getting your kid stoned so you don’t have to put up with him.” Right. A quarter-sized brownie wouldn’t keep a chipmunk stoned for three days. This is the reaction of a childless nitwit. When your own child goes through an ordeal and faces a very real possibility of death, you’ll do anything to help your child. Petty criticism doesn’t make a dent in a mom’s determination to save her baby, no matter how old that baby may be. A dad will knock down a gauntlet of pooh-poohers if they stand in the way of his child’s salvation. If my kid was dying and the only option I hadn’t yet pursued was a big old opium pipe, I’d light one up for him. When parents are afraid for their children, they will grasp at any straw. What a blessing when one of the straws actually works.

The Mayo Clinic has done research on the beneficial effects of medical marijuana on chemo patients. The results were overwhelmingly positive. Prior to the research, it was “privately tested.” The results were so good that it caught the attention of credible research groups. Here we have a case that merits exploration, and the torch bearers and pitchfork wavers are ready to camp on some poor mother’s doorstep rather than say, “Wow, this could help a lot of kids!” By Lily Robertson. Source.

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November 17, 2009 – ‘Sam’ is a 10 year-old California boy who lives with his Dad, Mom, and sister Lucy. Sam has autism. From age two until eight, Sam’s disorder made him violent and aggressive. His parents Steve and Angela were truly living a nightmare, every day.

“He got to the point where he was hurting other children, when he was in school, or in public places,” Angela explains to KTLA News. “We’d be in line at the store, and he’d just bolt and hit another child in the face without any warning at all.”

Sam’s Dad remembers all the tough days. “One time he pulled down a TV, he knocked over furniture. I had to put him in a hold for a whole hour. His body was just spasming, so I lay there just crying, and holding him.”

Sam’s parents worked with expert doctors, who recommended a succession of conventional prescription medications — like Risperdal and a host of others. But Sam just gained 20 pounds, and he became even more dangerous.

“His behavior was getting worse,” Angela recalls. “And we were scared. He was getting bigger, stronger, now that he was 20 pounds heavier from the Risperdal.”

“It was the saddest thing,” Steve says. “The child we’d grown to love was gone. When you talked to him, looked at him, he’d just disappeared.”

Finally, at their wit’s end, and faced with the very real prospect of needing to institutionalize their son, Sam’s parents decided to try something unconventional…and controversial. Last year they began treating Sam with medical marijuana.

“If you think about it, it’s the perfect drug for that kind of behavior, very calming,” Angela says.

Steve and Angela got a recommendation from a medical cannabis doctor. They told Sam’s pediatrician about their plan. And Steve grew Sam’s new medicine in their back yard. From the marijuana flowers Steve grew, he could make a concentrated form, what people refer to as ‘hash.’

Steve showed us a ball of hash, roughly ¾ inch in diameter, representing roughly four months of doses for Sam. Steve softens the cannabis with heat, then takes what appears to be just a speck of pot — Sam’s ‘dose’ for the day.

And from the very start, the cannabis was a godsend for Sam’s family. “The first time we did it, we wanted to see if it would work at all,” Steve recalls. “It was an amazing experience, I’ll never forget it, as we watched what happened, it was like ‘He’s back!’ It was like all this anguish, pent-up rage and aggressiveness went away — it just calmed him down.”

While KTLA visited the family, we watched Steve put Sam’s daily dose in a piece of melon and take it to him. Within roughly 20 minutes, the effects were clear. Where earlier Sam had been animated and antsy, after eating his speck of hash Sam became calm, relaxed, and social.

Could Sam’s story help others? Respected Los Angeles-area pediatrician Chris Tolcher says we don’t know enough about cannabis for kids.

“I think for all the parents out there whose children may have autism,” Tolcher says, “I think the message here is that this is intriguing information that needs more research before we can confidently say that marijuana is a safe and effective treatment for autism complications.”

But for one California family, medical marijuana has literally been an answer to their prayers and a homecoming for their son. “It was a medication with the result we’d been hoping for, for so long,” Steve says.

Angela agrees. “He was happy again, smiling, laughing. There was the boy we’d lost for so long, who we wondered if we’d ever see again.

“It just feels like I have more control to help my son,” Steve says. “We don’t depend on doctors, who may have the best intentions, but they don’t know what Sam needs.. I want do what’s best for my son. And I’ll do whatever I can for him.” Source.

November 7, 2009 – Imagine, if you will, a dream-universe where every moment is idle, floaty, warm and comforting. And smells kind of like hippies. Someday, that fantasy-world could be more 217411-main_Full-1than just the average day in a stoner’s basement: fetuses might be tripping in a THC womb, if researchers at the University of Victoria have their way.

In a study done in 2006, but republished this November in the Journal of Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, a research team set out to determine whether medical cannabis could help expectant moms with symptoms of morning sickness. They polled a group of 84 women who used medicinal cannabis, of whom 79 had already been pregnant. In fact, of those 79, 65 percent had used cannabis for pain relief during the pregnancy (but let’s not kid ourselves – the study was done in B.C.). A whopping 97 percent of the pregnant THC-lovers said the drug was “extremely effective” at treating nausea and vomiting.

This is excellent news for me, and thousands of other young women who are very reluctant to consider carrying a baby if it’s accompanied by nine months illness or discomfort. And hell, if I’m going to gain pregnancy pounds, I might as well do it with Doritos and cereal by the boxful.

Of course, as I mentioned earlier, this study was done in British Columbia. Which, growing up in Canada, I can attest to as the North American marijuana mecca. So if you want to ride out your pregnancy in style and comfort, ladies, venture north: we’ve got fields of anti-nausea medication selling at competitive, Canadian rates. By Katie Drummond. Source.

November 7, 2009 – Even if you used to toke, you still need to confront your kid – especially if it’s posing problems at school.

Dear Dr. Wolf,

My teen smokes pot, plain and simple. He’ll never admit it, but I’ve found rolling papers and empty Ziploc bags in his room, and sometimes he smells like it when he comes home. He just started Grade 11, which is a big year.

My biggest issue is his moodiness and lack of ambition at school. I want to speak to him about the pros and cons, but I can’t lecture him because I did the same at his age. I got an education and a good job and stopped after university, but I had a lot of high-school friends who veered down the wrong path. How do I start this conversation with my son?
– -Pothead’s Pop

Dear Pothead’s Pop,

Many parents today feel conflicted about their children and marijuana use – especially if they themselves were marijuana users ( and perhaps still are ), and don’t feel that marijuana was ever a significant problem in their lives.

They may even think of it fondly. “What can I say? Had a really good time. I liked that part of my life.”

Even so, whether they smoked pot or not, most parents also know of at least one cautionary tale.

“Yeah, Jack Redburn. Good guy. But when he got heavily into pot in high school, he just kind of drifted. Even up to today, he’s always had just kind of dead-end jobs.”

And most parents are just not comfortable with the idea of their kid smoking pot, especially on a regular basis.

The problem, of course, is that there is a double standard. The risks that we were willing to take when we were teenagers is some. The degree of risk that we are comfortable with for our teens is none. “Yeah, let him sit home and play video games.”

“You don’t mind it if your kid has a totally boring, not really happy adolescence?”

“No, as long as he’s safe.”

Here’s the bottom line: If you feel your kid has a problem with marijuana – maybe you’re right, maybe you’re wrong – and you aren’t comfortable with it, then you need to act.

Do not ignore it. Do not suffer it. This is one of those tough teenage issues that has no absolute, guaranteed-to-work answers. But that does not mean that there aren’t things that you can and should do. Number one, you should confront them. Repeatedly. Regardless of your reception.

No, you probably won’t get this: “Oh, here for the marijuana talk again. I’m all ears.”

More like this: “Omigod, not this again. I don’t smoke marijuana. I don’t have a problem with marijuana. I would appreciate if you would just leave. I’m not going to listen anyway.”

Do not be deterred. Your point is to place your words in their head. And to keep placing them there. They would like to ignore them. But they can’t. Your words do create a negative awareness.

“Everything Dad says is totally stupid. I don’t care what he says, I’m going to do what I’m doing.”

But the unpleasant – for them – thoughts are in there. You are not going along with their total denial, and that’s what’s important.

Clinical psychologist Anthony E. Wolf is the author of six parenting books, including Get out of my life, but first could you drive me and Cheryl to the mall?: A Parent’s Guide to the New Teenager.

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How to have a conversation with a possibly pothead teen

Go to them and start right in. Your point is not to try to convince them and to convey to them what you think. What you say should be short and simple. Here’s a sample.

1 ) “I’m concerned. I think you smoke and I think it’s a problem.”

“This is so crazy, Dad. I don’t smoke and I don’t have a problem.”

Do not argue with them. You are simply stating what you think.

2 ) “You may think you have control over your marijuana smoking. But with many pot smokers the way that it works is that you think that it is you who is choosing to smoke or not, but it isn’t. I worry that it is this way with you.”

“You so much don’t know what you are talking about.”

Again, do not touch it.

3 ) “I feel that your marijuana smoking is having a bad effect on you. I see your effort slipping in school. I see you having less ambition. And I see you more moody and more negative when you are home.”

“Marijuana has nothing to do with it. School is really stupid.”

4 ) “I worry that if you continue the way you’re going, you could end up not doing as much with your life as you should. Selling yourself short.”

And now you want to end. Your words are in their head.

And what do you say if you have been a marijuana smoker, especially if they ask. Be honest. Also, if you liked it and don’t feel that it was a big problem for you, but worry about the real risks for them, say that. You can say you feel you were fortunate, but that you believe marijuana smoking does have very real risks, and tell them what you think they are.

If you continue to be concerned, find out about resources in your area for teens with drug issues. Local hospitals and family doctors are usually good sources to find out what exists in your area. Source.