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  Transcript: Dr. Claudia Jensen - Cannabis for ADD
Posted by CN Staff on April 23, 2004 at 13:34:28 PT
Countdown with Keith Olbermann 
Source: MSNBC  

medical COUNTDOWN is in the home stretch now. Your preview of our No. 1 story, the war on drugs meets the war to get your kids‘ attention. Just say no to ADD and give your kid pot? A doctor explains next.


OLBERMANN: They are a diagnoses at near epidemic proportions for kids in this country, ADD and ADHD, attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Fair or not, they are so common as to become part of the vernacular referring to our collective short attention span and inability to focus. Don‘t mind him, he‘s got ADD.

According to a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, when our nation‘s doctors encounter a patient with one of these disorders, they go to right to one drug, methylphenidate. You may know it better as Ritalin. But there is a lesser known treatment, one that may in fact be more effective with fewer side effects, cannabis. You may know that better as weed, reefer, Mary Jane, marijuana.

Dr. Claudia Jensen is a clinical instructor at the University of Southern California and a practicing pediatrician who advocates the use of medicinal marijuana for the treatment of ADD and ADHD.

Dr. Jensen, good evening.


OLBERMANN: This is something you feel strongly about. You even testified before Congress a few weeks ago an the use of medical marijuana. What led you to the conclusion that this is a viable treatment for this disorder?

JENSEN: Well, that is what patients reported to me, so I listened to them. And I started paying attention and asking more questions when I did patient interviews. It seems to be rather consistent. They keep saying it over and over again.

OLBERMANN: There are parents who are no doubt thinking, as they watch this, without any kind of analysis or any kind of medical explanation or the expert testimony of a doctor who has listened to patients, that this is that it makes no senses to them, the idea that they are fighting on one front the influence, the pernicious influence of marijuana in a teenager‘s life, a kid‘s life, and yet you are here saying that this can be of enormous value in treating this rampant and life-constricting disease.

How do you respond to people who have the knee-jerk reaction, how could this possibly be any good?

JENSEN: Well, first of all, you‘re right. This is a potentially life-debilitating condition for a lot of children and adolescents. They become very angry.

And I think the answer to that question is that it needs to be evaluated by a physician before it‘s recommended to a child or an adolescent. And the truth is that one of the reasons that adolescents have an increasing use of cannabis, marijuana, in this country is because they‘ve been lied to. They‘ve been told that this is a very dangerous drug and that it has no benefit. And, unfortunately, that‘s not what they experience in the streets.

And I think it‘s more appropriate to bring it up out of the streets and into the doctor‘s offices, so that children and adolescents and parents can learn the truth, get some of the data, and look at this drug not with a reefer madness perspective, but more with a scientific and factual perspective.

OLBERMANN: How would you administer this to children, at what age? And I‘m presuming that the means of dispensing would be primarily those other than smoking it, am I correct?

JENSEN: That‘s what I primarily recommend, particularly with ADD and ADHD, because smoking marijuana has such a short duration. It only lasts an hour and a half to two hours. Plus, there‘s the stigma of the child smoking anything. But smoking pot is a difficult social issue to deal with.

When they ingest those cannabinoids or cannabis compounds, for example, marijuana, it lasts a lot longer. They can get all the way through the day with a single cannabis cookie or piece of toast with cannabis peanut butter in the morning before school. They don‘t have to get stoned. It‘s dose-related. But they do get the benefit of being able to focus and pay attention, not be impulsive, not be angry, be peaceful and relaxed and pay attention in school, which helps them get better grades, which is the important issue.

OLBERMANN: Anything would work.

Dr. Claudia Jensen from USC, many thanks for your time tonight.

JENSEN: Thank you. Thank you for your time.

OLBERMANN: Certainly.

Source: MSNBC (US Web)
Show: Countdown with Keith Olbermann
Program Date: Thursday, April 22, 2004
Copyright: 2004 MSNBC

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Comment #7 posted by John Tyler on April 26, 2004 at 19:39:44 PT
Thanks charmed quark that link was very informative. I will pass it along to my friend.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #6 posted by charmed quark on April 25, 2004 at 16:15:59 PT
Max F.-have you tied ...
One thing that many IBS sufferers find useful is enteric peppermint. It's peppermint oil in a capsule that breaks down in your intestine so that the peppermint isn't destroyed by your stomach acids. I find it really good at relieving pain and bloating. One brand commonly avalable is "Pepper Plus" by Enzymatic Therapy - often available in health food stores, or you can order from them online.

For mild attacks, stuff like pepprmint Altoids can help.

Regarding Mr. Tyler's question on anxiety and depression - Pot can increase anxiety in some people. I've heard good and bad about depression. Check for info on this.


[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by John Tyler on April 25, 2004 at 06:42:53 PT
Valid treatment
I have a friend that has to take loads of meds for anxiety and depression. Would cannabis therapy help out in a situation like that? Just wondering.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #4 posted by charmed quark on April 24, 2004 at 18:26:25 PT
Thank Mr. Flowers
Very interesting. Oh - IBS-C and IBS-D refer to whether the IBS symptoms are primarily constipation or diarhea. Yum. For both types, pain and cramping are common.


[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by Max Flowers on April 23, 2004 at 19:20:02 PT
charmed quark
Well I find that a key aspect of my IBS is a triggering of colon activity (peristalsis I guess) often by just thinking about certain things, or when suddenly presented with an unexpected challenge, no matter how small. It's really annoying to feel like you have to eliminate just because you thought about a deadline or something. So my IBS is a hard-wired genetic type thing I believe. I believe there are many, many types and causes of IBS, I do not think it is a simple syndrome that is the same in everyone. Case in point, yours was caused by a med, mine is endogenous.

Cannabis helps by (and I'm theorizing here) calming my central nervous system a little, thereby reducing the sensitivity of that aforementioned "trigger". Light-dose valium would probably do the same thing, but I don't want to take valium, or any pharmaceutical drug.

I didn't even know they had designated A B and C etc types of IBS! I'll have to look into that. Anyway I use it basically by staying medicated all day and night long, maintaining levels I guess you could say.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by charmed quark on April 23, 2004 at 16:47:15 PT
Max F - How do you treat IBS?
I use Marinol to treat my migraines, but I haven't noticed any real effect on my IBS (triggered by another migraine med!). I don't have IBS-C or D,just the type with bloating and pain.

It helps a little. It certainly helps me eat when I'm feelig nauseous from the IBS, and it reduces the pain when I'm bloating/cramping, but it doesn't seem to actually abort an IBS episode the way it does my migraines.

How does it help you,an when do you use it?



[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by Max Flowers on April 23, 2004 at 14:24:02 PT
I think this is a perfectly fine application for cannabis, it makes sense on an intuitive level and works medically too. If it makes a kid engaged and amused who would have been disengaged and antisocial, how can anyone in good conscience oppose it?

In addition to helping me with both pain and IBS, I find cannabis works exceedingly well for me as an anxiolytic and mood regulator. Without it, I am much more prone to spontaneous outlets of irrational anger, in other words I am much more irritable without cannabinoids in my bloodstream (this was true before the pain and IBS arrived as well).

[ Post Comment ]

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