Hudson Valley Parent

HVP March 2017

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Page 14 of 39 n Hudson Valley Parent 15 6SHFLDOL]LQJLQFKLOGUHQ IURPLQIDQF\WRWHHQV &KLOGUHQZLWKVSHFLDO QHHGVZHOFRPH 6HGDWLRQ'HQWLVWU\ DYDLODEOH &KLOGIULHQGO\ HQYLURQPHQWZLWKYLGHR JDPHV1HWIOL[79DQG SOD\KRXVH 0RVWLQVXUDQFHV DFFHSWHGDVIXOORU SDUWLDOSD\PHQW ® For children with cancer, medical cannabis can help with nausea and pain and stimulate their appetites while they are being treated with chemotherapy and radiation. For children with intractable ep- ilepsy, parents report less frequent, less severe, and briefer seizures. But there can be side effects. "Although these cannabinoids are extremely safe and they reduce sei- zures, each of them has the capacity to increase seizures or the intensity of seizures in certain patients as well," Dr. Chin says. It could also in- teract with other drugs the patient is taking. To prevent negative effects, Dr. Chin monitors her patients very closely and works holistically with the child's other doctors. Dr. Chin also cautions that can- nabis can affect children and teens' developing brains. "Adding cannabis to the function- ing endocannibinoid system may actually interfere with developing brains," she says. Medical cannabis can be a game changer for kids who do not respond to traditional medications. "The children who come into my office are special cases," Dr. Chin says. "These are children who cannot find solutions with conventional treatments." Ever since New York legalized medical cannabis last year, families from across the United States have contacted Dr. Chin. "There are very few physicians who specialize in cannabis medicine that are willing to treat children and work closely with the parents to monitor the child closely every step of the way," she says. "I feel that we have enough scien- tific evidence to support reform of existing laws that would bring about broad and reasonable access to med- ical cannabis for any patient that could benefit," Dr. Piperato says. Elora Tocci is a freelance writer in Newburgh. She is the public affairs associate at Citizens' Committee for Children of New York.

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