A group of teens, one holding a vaping device, with an alert icon

Health Alert

Health officials have reported a steep rise in hospitalized and fatal cases of a serious vaping-related lung disease called EVALI. Although EVALI cases have decreased, the risk of acute lung illness and injury from vapes and e-cigs remains high.

Experts now recommend no exposure to any vaping products by youths, young adults, or women who are pregnant.

What is medical marijuana?

Medical marijuana is an alternative treatment for qualifying health conditions using doses of CBD and THC, which are cannabinoids found in marijuana. In California, medicinal cannabis is regulated by the state and requires a physician’s recommendation or a Medical Marijuana ID Card. Patients under the age of 18 also require a parent’s or guardian’s consent.na use to adulthood can prevent long-term damage to neurons and ensure optimal brain health and functioning.

You can learn more about California’s Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program at: www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CHSI/Pages/MMICP.aspx

Studies on the long-term health and safety of medical marijuana for children are still ongoing. Proven health benefits of THC and CBD medications are emerging but require further research, especially for children and teens. Parents should seek medical advice and consider possible risks to their child's brain development.

A graphic of a prescription bottle with a cannabis leaf
A young teen

Should youth have access to medical cannabis?

There is anecdotal evidence of cannabis as an effective treatment in certain pediatric illnesses, for example seizure disorders. However, there is limited, high-quality research about safety, effectiveness and side effects. Even doctors who are supportive of medical marijuana may not be able to offer a safe treatment plan for young patients. Any decision to prescribe should take into consideration possible negative effects on brain development or school performance.

The FDA has approved oral Epidiolex® for the prescribed treatment of severe pediatric seizures of epilepsy. It is considered safe and reliable and is reported to have only mild side effects. The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) said, “The approval of Epidiolex is a major milestone in bringing safe, effective, cannabinoid-based medications to patients.”

Is medical marijuana useful for treating ADHD?

There are anecdotal reports from parents and some doctors that cannabis can be an effective therapy for ADHD. However, the relationship between ADHD and cannabis is varied and highly personalized, and reports include concerns about ADHD patients being prone to cannabis misuse. Studies seem to show a lack of significant findings when ADHD and cannabis users are compared, but also cite concern about negative effects on the developing brain. Marijuana may interfere with ADHD prescription medication and should only be added with a doctor’s approval.

If you have a child with ADHD and are considering cannabis as a possible treatment, discuss it with your physician. ADHD is not traditionally a listed condition for cannabis therapy, so it is important to find an experienced doctor.

A teenager

What is Scromiting?

A small number of frequent marijuana users may develop Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS), sometimes referred to as scromiting (screaming + vomiting). Patients may experience acute stomach pain, nausea, and severe vomiting. Hot showers often provide relief and medical care is advised for severe symptoms.

Emergency Department cases of CHS have increased with the availability of legal marijuana. Research is continuing on young patients, but parents should watch for extreme stomach upset and compulsive showering and bathing.