Medical Marijuana For Children: 7-Year-Old Oregon Girl Opens Debate Again [VIDEO]

By IScience Times Staff Reporter on November 26, 2012 4:53 PM EST

A woman smokes marijuana during a demonstration calling for the legalisation of the drug in Guatemala City November 24, 2012.
A woman smokes marijuana during a demonstration calling for the legalisation of the drug in Guatemala City November 24, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

Medical marijuana may be legal in 18 states, but today many are questioning the choice by an Oregon medical marijuana program to give 52 young cancer patients drugs to deal with their nausea and pain.

At the heart of the argument is a 7-year-old girl named Mykayla Comstock, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia last spring. Calling herself "Brave Mykayla," the little girl is one of the youngest in Oregon to take a daily dose of cannabis oil to ward off side effects of chemotherapy. At times, she'll opt instead for a gingersnap or brownie baked with marijuana-infused butter.

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Mykayla's father Jesse Comstock - who is divorced from the 7-year-old's mom, Erin Purchase - was horrified when he found out what his daughter was doing. "She was stoned out of her mind," said Comstock. "All she wanted to do was lay on the bed and play video games."

But Mykala says the drug is helping. "It helps me eat and sleep," she told OregonLive.com. "The chemotherapy makes you feel like you want to stay up all night long."

It's hard to question the decision when a young child is suffering. But countless studies - including one that was released in August - have found that prolonged marijuana use among teens greatly affects the brain's ability to function properly. "The effect of persistent cannabis use on intellectual functioning is really confined to adolescents, (which) suggests that adolescents, in particular, are vulnerable to the effect of cannabis," Madeline H. Meier, a psychologist and postdoctoral researcher at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina and author of a study on drug use, said this summer.

The question then becomes: Do the short-term gains outweigh the long-term losses? Eighteen states and Washington, D.C. allow children to use medical marijuana with parental consent and a doctor's approval.

Watch Mykala here and tell us: Do you agree with her mom's decision?

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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