Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Medical Marijuana is Entering the Classroom

Move over, Ritalin. Reefer is becoming the popular drug when it comes to treating ADHD in kids.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that marijuana is legally finding its way to the school classroom. According to the recent report, high school students are now using medical marijuana instead of Ritalin as a treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Ritalin is a stimulant prescribed to treat ADHD and, the story states, "can produce effects similar to cocaine and amphetamines."

Prescribing marijuana as a substitute for Ritalin is not without controversy. The Monitor says a study has found "the active ingredient in cannabis disrupts attention, memory and concentration – already issues for people diagnosed with attention deficit disorder." But some medical practitioners believe marijuana to be "safer than aspirin," the article quotes Dr. Jean Talleyrand as telling The New York Times.

The Monitor reports that students often use Ritalin recreationally. In fact, the story says 13 percent of 6,000 Massachusetts high school students had "abused Ritalin," according to a study by the U.S. Department of Education. The study uncovered that four percent of middle school students also have abused the prescription drug.

According to the Monitor, the use of medical marijuana as a substitute for Ritalin puts school administrators and teachers in a challenging position. Even though 14 states have now approved medical marijuana for use, many schools across the country have not yet addressed the issue in their guidelines. However, students using the prescribed cannabis "don't have to tell school authorities about it," the Monitor reports.

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