A Colorado teenager with a rare neurological disease that causes him to have seizures was prescribed marijuana lozenges to control them. His condition is known as diaphragmatic and axial myoclonus. Colorado is one of 15 states that allows medical marijuana use for health purposes.
The student’s school district, however, has prohibited him from attending school if he takes the lozenge, citing a Colorado law that prohibits use of medical marijuana on school grounds. The student’s father stated that the THC from cannabis controls the spasms that the disease produces, which can last as long as 24 hours. The National Institutes of Health describes myclonus as a disease that causes jerks or muscle contractions and often occurs in people with Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, or Creutzfeld-Jakob disease. The spasms or jerks are also commonly found in people with epilepsy.
Medical marijuana advocates have promoted the use of cannabis to treat the symptoms of a number of disabling conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, glaucoma, AIDS, cancer, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis. A number of peer-reviewed studies support and corroborate these arguments. There is no issue that the drug effectively controls the Colorado student’s spasms.
Since Colorado’s medical marijuana law clearly prohibits the use of medical marijuana on school grounds, the school district is merely adhering to state law by banning the student’s use of it while at school. It is unclear if the student could take the lozenges before setting foot on school grounds or if he could be transported off campus if his condition requires immediate ingestion of the drug.
The Colorado legislature apparently failed to take a situation like the student’s into account when it banned the use of medical marijuana on school grounds, presumably not realizing that persons legally prescribed the drug might have emergency needs for it wherever they happen to be. Medical marijuana does not have to smoked, nor does it have to attract any attention when the user ingests the drug in a baked good or lozenge. Until the legislature amends Colorado HB 1284 to take this into consideration, any student using medical marijuana will be unable to legally ingest the drug while on school grounds, regardless of any emergency.
Source: LA Times “Rare Disease or Not, Colorado Teen Can’t Have Medical Pot at School, Not Even a Lozenge,” Mary Forgione, 2/10/2011