Child at center of medical marijuana debate

Mykayla Comstock (photo from facebook.com/bravemykayla)

Mykayla Comstock (photo from facebook.com/bravemykayla)

A seven-year-old cancer patient is at the heart of a new debate over medical marijuana.

Mykayla Comstock was diagnosed with leukemia in July 2012.   Now she is being called “the new face of medical marijuana.”

It took her mother three days to enroll Mykayla in Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Program so the little girl could take cannabis oil capsules as part of her treatment.   

That made Mykayla one of only four children between four and nine years old to be enrolled and one of 52 minors enrolled.

Mykayla takes about a gram of cannabis oil each day to help ward off pain, nausea, muscle spasms and seizures that can be common side effects both of her illness and of the traditional treatments such as chemotherapy.

Her mother says Mykayla’s leukemia went into remission but she has two to three years of chemotherapy ahead of her before she is declared cured.  A Facebook community was started to support her fight against leukemia. 

Doctors disagree on whether the risks associated with marijuana use might, or might not, outweigh the benefits for children as young as Mykayla.  The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes using marijuana as medicine.  Some doctors also say the long-term effects of marijuana on children are, at best, unclear. 

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