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7-year-old cancer patient being given medical cannabis

SEATTLE — Seven-year-old Mykayla Comstock was diagnosed with leukemia and deals with several side-effects from chemotherapy treatments.

“It (chemotherapy) makes you not eat very good and it makes you feel kind of pukey,” Comstock said.

Mykayla’s mother told The Oregonian that as soon as she found out her child had cancer and would be receiving chemo, she knew she was going to treat her with medical marijuana.

“I felt like I was going to lose my child at that point. I knew I would do whatever it took to save her life,” said Erin Purchase, Mykayla’s mother.

Purchase said with the medical marijuana treatments, such as cannabis oil, she has her daughter back.

In Oregon, there is no age limit for medical marijuana treatments. The same rule applies in Washington.

The Washington Department of Health has no way of monitoring who is using medical marijuana or how old they are.

In Washington, Dr. Greg Carter, said he would be willing to recommend marijuana to children under certain circumstances.

“Normally I don`t authorize children to use cannabis or medical marijuana; however, I think in certain circumstances it would be appropriate. I think in the setting of cancer, such as leukemia, I think it could be appropriate.”

Not all experts agree.

Dr. Leslie Walker, an adolescent medicine specialist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, said, “There are many studies that look at 15 year olds to 18 year olds who use marijuana during that time and they lost IQ points. They had brain damage that was not recovered when they stopped using.”

Walker said she would never recommend medical marijuana under any circumstances.

“I can’t find a treatment I would give medical marijuana for, especially not somebody that has such a young developing brain,” she said.

To read the full article in The Oregonian, click here.

22 comments

  • Jason

    wow "Dr". Leslie Walker has a medical degree and still spewing that nonsense? what a joke that incredibly un-educated people like that somehow acquiredegrees.

  • Jen

    Why are we privy to what a 7-year-old, or any minor, is taking or not taking? Have you people never heard of HIPPA? Why did this article even get printed? I hope Mykayla turns 18 and sues everybody here-including her own mother, who apparently let this privacy violation happen.

    • krismoa

      Have you read HIPAA? a "covered entity" are the people/instituitions who provide care and otherwise handle your medical records, and contractors they may use (insurance companies and people they may have process paperwork, medical transcriptionists, etc). It does not cover your friends, parents, neighbors, nor anyone else. If you let someone know something on a personal basis, if they over hear you on the bus or somethingn there is NO PRIVACY right to medical information in general, and a 7 year old does not have rights beyond their parent, even in this case. So the mother can disclose whatever she wants about her child.

  • Leah

    To Jen: It is HIPAA. And patients have the right to disclose their medical information to whomever they choose, be it another doctor or the whole world. Please educate yourself before you judge others.

    • bigness1970

      I agree with you, not only is she partially knowledgable on HIPPA, but when the child turns 18, statute of limitations would be beyond any civil actions. I do feel the article to be one sided, and not very good journalism

  • Doug

    "Dr. Leslie Walker, an adolescent medicine specialist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, said, “There are many studies that look at 15 year olds to 18 year olds who use marijuana during that time and they lost IQ points. They had brain damage that was not recovered when they stopped using.”

    What a crock, I've been smoking recreationally for 20+ years and the past 3 years medically for chronic knee pain. I've actually gained IQ points throughout my adult life so it's not marijuana that's making these kids dumb, it's the lack of teaching that is going on in our schools now days!

  • bigness1970

    In regards to doctors linking IQ loss to pot use, I would really like to see the clinical studies. I smoked pot between the ages of 14 and 32, and have had two IQ tests done by psychiatrists. At the age of 16, i had tested at 132. And, at the age of 24, i had tested at 139. Pot had helped calm my mind down, allowing me to concentrate. Prozac and Aderal weren’t around back then, and ADHD was considered ‘just a myth’. The day I took the ASVAB for the army, i was stoned and scored a 310. The first day at boot camp, i was taken to a seperate building for military intelligence. So, no….i do not believe your hypothesis of “smoking pot gives you a lower IQ, and it is reversible.”

  • kboursaw

    any one that is dying from cancer should be entitled to and use any drug that would help and if the child feels better so be it who cares about possible brain damage.
    legal drugs have worse side affects then pot and can injure other vital organs.
    also if she were to die she won't need her brain. mind your own bussiness

  • Johannes VK Jr

    why is the news media still deliberately ambiguous these days and why do the American people still accept slanted coverage? most people have already made up their minds about the subject of MM but to those people who are still diligently seeking the appropriate solutions and real data associated with this issue it seems unfair to notice things in Q13 news coverage like the "study" of marijuana "users" over the course of many years dropping IQ points which were never regained versus the young cancer patient using marijuana OIL to ease her suffering. Earlier the news article eluded to marijuana SMOKERS. were the "studies" performed on marijuana smokers and if so how can that be compared to ingestion? It COULD be that the studies and comparisons that follow are both extrapolated from the same form of introduction into the body but i usually find out that when i delve into the "studies" information-they have compared APPLES to ORANGES. that type of common misleading journalism has become all too common and maddening beyond belief. I IMPLORE our news agencies to do a more thorough job in mediating their biases and hope daily for a new media company to come into our lives and really report from a completely NEUTRAL perspective so that Americans can make truly informed decisions about their personal lives. Until that (probably never) happens we need to constantly question EVERY SINGLE piece of news and watch EVERY SINGLE story on EVERY SINGLE network in hopes that from EVERY SINGLE point of view we MIGHT get enough truth to eek out a just and true decision-ESPECIALLY when it involves intruding in other peoples lives and effectively removing THEIR decision making processes!

  • Sam

    Who gives a rats behind if this 7 year old is smoking pot. If it is helping her leave things alone. Besides it her right and privacy what she does in her own home. SO GET OFF HER ASS AND LEAVE HER AND HER FAMILY THE HELL ALONE.

  • calapete

    Yeah, I have to say I was shocked to hear the statement by Dr. Leslie Walker. The kid has Leukemia for gawd sakes! Why shouldn't this child get some relief? How many Narcotics has Dr Walker prescribed? What are the long term effects of that? silliness.

  • june

    Research is very clear that giving children with serious medical issues like cancer or severe disabilities that render them unable to eat, is a safe and therapeutic intervention. It's time we quit being so paranoid, no pun intended, about medical cannabis and realize that it is indeed a medical intervention that does help some people, including children, in special circumstances, in which their lives are in danger. To think there are still people who oppose this in special circumstances, shows these people have never had a child who is near death. Get a frigging life you judgmental freaks. I'm so sick of your condemnation and irrational self-righteous, self -important drivel. How dare you judge families who are trying to save their children's lives. You have no clue. You have no right to get in the way of parents trying to save their children's lives with a medicine that is shown in numerous studies to give hope and healing. Does medical cannabis harm people? Yes, sometimes it does, only when the people using it aren't using it for medical purposes and only to get high. But the same goes for alcohol, conventional drugs and food. Anything used to abuse is wrong, but when something is used to help, and is backed by scientific evidence that it can help a cancer victim eat food to maintain health or an autistic person stop slamming their head into a wall, or a down syndrome child stop screaming all day and pulling their hair out, after numerous conventional meds have failed, then you better open your eyes and hearts to the realities of other people's suffering and get a frigglin clue.

  • iansmom24

    So it is ok to give a child toxic chemicals manufactured by Big Pharma that probably haven't even been tested on children? But a naturally growing herb is controversial? Have you ever seen the side effects of chemotherapy and antiseizure drugs?
    And why would we NOT explore every possible use for this gift from nature?
    Again, because Big Pharma cannot figure out how to dominated the plant and keep it from us.

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