today,” she said. She went on to say children are dosed by weight – which means they are not consuming enough cannabis to induce psychotic behavior. Most of the children Anderson treats have run out of other options. The benefits of medical cannabis have been profound for many, including those with epilepsy such as her own son.
Although the benefits of prescribing medical cannabis are endless, Williams pointed out that it is still necessary to check in with patients about misuse.
“At the end of the day, it’s how it fits into your life. Is it disrupting your life? Or is it helping? When I ask that question – if the patient pauses for too long, if they’re unsure, then I pull back and start looking at how they’re using it, and whether or not they should incorporate tolerance breaks,” said Williams, who avoids triggering patients with the subject of addiction when checking in about their prescribed dose.
Because misuse and overuse are potential side effects of medical cannabis, the question of whether or not a patient has developed a cannabis use disorder is always at play. Williams acknowledged cannabis use looks different for everyone. She avoids holding her patients to a narrow definition of the term and instead focuses on their productivity levels.
“If you’re using it to the point where it’s disrupting your life, that’s really the key point here. Where you’re missing work, you’re running late, or your family and friends are concerned about your activity. That instead of using it in a way that will decrease your anxiety and getting more involved with life, but you find you’re withdrawing from life instead – that’s really what cannabis use disorder is,” she said.
An option when other medical treatments fail
As the hour progressed, Anderson spoke about what it looks like when patients run out of all other options for treatment. This was the case for her son, who suffered an epileptic crisis prior to finding cannabis as an effective form of treatment.
“I hit a roadblock where the medical community couldn’t help,” she said. Anderson tried many anti-seizure drugs for her son’s epilepsy but found no success. He continuously ended up in the ICU with little hope of finding a treatment to keep his seizures under control.