Are Minors Allowed to Ingest Medicinal Cannabis?

Stephen Andrews
17 Jan 2023

Even when prescribed by a physician, giving marijuana to a child for use could be a murky legal situation. The use of medicinal marijuana among teens and children may create delicate situations with the legal justice system.

Many parents may face a situation where their child has a medical condition that doesn't respond well to conventional therapy. Sometimes, they will reach out for alternative medications such as Cannabis. Whether such a step is legal would depend on state law. 

Most states in the U.S. allow medicinal cannabis prescriptions for conditions such as epilepsy, including severe forms of the disease such as Dravet syndrome or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Epilepsy is medicated with the CBD-based pharmaceutical Epidiolex. 

There are other health conditions, like Tourette syndrome, spasticity, or ADHD, where a physician may consider recommending medical cannabis treatment for the child as well. 

One source of concern among some parents is how the child is given access to medicinal cannabis products. For example, a physician may recommend a microdosing therapy throughout the day that includes hours at school, and thus taking cannabis at school premises. If a minor brings cannabis in any form to school, this creates a delicate legal situation. 

Medicinal marijuana is legal in most of the U.S., but its legality related to young people under the legal age is not that simple. For example, a juvenile who possesses any controlled substance at school is a situation that may lead to suspension or expelling. It would require that parents obtain special permission so that their minor can bring anything containing cannabinoids to the school premises. 

Even when this situation is resolved, things can complicate if the minor gives the cannabis product to another minor. And this is easy to imagine if the product in question is a nice-looking infused candy. Once cannabis ends up in the hands of someone else who doesn't have a prescription, the issue of legal use becomes a problem. It doesn't even need to be a school situation. It could also happen outside school. 

An adult prescribed with medicinal marijuana for a particular condition can use it as needed, and the same goes for children and young adolescents who may need to take cannabis for health reasons. But it should be done with supervision. Suppose the cannabis ends up in the hands of someone else's child who does not have a prescription for medicinal cannabis. In that case, that looks like breaking the law and a situation where minors are not allowed to ingest medicinal cannabis. 

There's a greater caution for cannabis prescriptions for minors because there's a lack of research. It's one of the fields in medical research that's in the early stages. Doctors do not have sufficient data that confirms medicinal marijuana is safe for treatments for the same conditions it's safe for adults. 

To sum up, the main point here, if someone below the legal age for Cannabis use does get prescribed a cannabis-based medicine, the ingestion is recommended to be done with supervision. Importantly, parents must ensure that cannabis does not end up in the hands of someone who doesn't have a prescription and who don't need it for any treatment. 

Stephen Andrews