California doctor could lose license after prescribing marijuana cookies to a toddler
A doctor out in California is battling to keep his license as a registered doctor after prescribing cookies laced with cannabis to a toddler.
Dr William Eidelman, a natural medicine physician whose practice is on Cahuenga Boulevard in Los Angeles, prescribed a four-year-old boy cookies with low doses of marijuana in them, believing it would help to manage the boy's temper tantrums.
The Medical Board in California has ruled to revoke Dr Eidelman's license - stating that although cannabis is legal in California, he was "negligent in his care and treatment". But the doctor has launched an appeal, saying that he intends to continue practising and that his lawyers had secured a suspension on the revocation of his license.
The ruling refers to an incident that occurred back in 2012, as the boy's father came to Dr Eidelman as his son was misbehaving in school, visiting the physician for a 30-minute session.
It was only after the school nurse assessed the child that it was discovered that Dr Eidelman misdiagnosed the child as having bipolar disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and prescribed the child marijuana to combat this. Although the drug had had the desired effect initially, the child soon returned to his previous state as the drug wore off in the afternoon.
The boy's father may have had an influence on the doctor's decision making, having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and ADD as a child himself. He said that he was placed on a wide range of drugs as a child that made him feel like a "human guinea pig".
The boy's father turned to marijuana later in life, saying it helped to "calm him" and even changed his behaviour toward his wife, towards whom he said he had previously "exhibited anger". Prescribing the drug for his older son who exhibited similar symptoms, the boy's father said the marijuana had had a "positive effect" on both of his children.
However, in prescribing marijuana (medicinal marijuana has been legal in California since 1996), Dr Eidelman failed to inform either a practising psychiatrist or talk to the boy's school, and it's for these reasons that the board moved to revoke his license.
On his website, Dr Eidelman is vocal in his support of medicinal marijuana, and described the drug as an effective pain relief medication that did no damage to the liver, kidneys or stomach.
"Daily opiates, acetaminophen, or NSAIDs, with their risks and side effects, may not be a better, safer option. Medical cannabis may relieve your pain and reduce your anxiety better than regular medicines.
If you have problems tolerating prescription or non-prescription pain relievers, or they don’t relieve your pain, or both, medical cannabis may be a safe, effective alternative. Or cannabis might enable you to reduce the doses."
According to an interview with Dr Eidelman that was included in medical board documents, the boy had seemed nervous and agitated, but Eidelman did not describe the boy as "abnormal".