Updated on December 19, 2018.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
While hydrocephalus often develops in older individuals, it can also occur as a congenital condition. In fact, for every 1000 births, one to two infants will have hydrocephalus. Due to its benefits, medical cannabis has become a growing treatment option for pediatric care, including for adolescent hydrocephalus.
Traditional Treatments for Adolescent Hydrocephalus
Hydrocephalus requires immediate surgery, as the condition allows fluid to gather in the brain. While surgery often reduces the life-threatening risks of hydrocephalus, the disease does require lifelong management of the following symptoms:
- Pain: Many adolescents with hydrocephalus experience chronic pain throughout their life, especially as they undergo multiple surgeries to replace the shunt that redirects fluid. While pain medications are often prescribed, they can cause constipation, tolerance and other discomforting effects.
- Sleep Apnea: While most children sleep through the night, those with hydrocephalus are at risk for sleep apnea and insomnia, which result from chronic headaches that make falling asleep difficult. Doctor could recommend for children to use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.
- Seizures: Because adolescents are always growing, their shunts must be replaced every two to three years. During this time, it’s easy for the shunt to become ineffective and allow fluid to build-up, though it’s rare for it to cause seizures. Many children with hydrocephalus, however, develop epilepsy.
What Hydrocephalus-Related Symptoms Cannabis Treats
Studies demonstrate medical cannabis can treat several symptoms that hydrocephalus causes, including:
- Chronic pain
- Sleep apnea
The benefit of medical marijuana for adolescents is that a single strain can often treat multiple symptoms. This is helpful for parents with children who don’t like taking various medications in a single day. The fact that medical weed’s side effects are minimal is another benefit for parents and their kids.
How Caregivers Administer Medical Cannabis to Adolescents
Many states throughout the U.S., as well as some other countries where medical weed is legal, require that a minor’s caregiver, such as a parent or guardian, oversee the administration of medical marijuana to the child. In some cases, legislation may also limit how you may deliver your child’s medical cannabis.
Ways you can administer medical marijuana to patients under 18 include:
- Edibles: This method is often popular with children, as edibles can be baked goods, such as brownies, as well as candies, like gummies. It’s also possible to make a healthier edible for your child, too. It’s essential to note that edibles are slow-acting and long-lasting.
- Vaping: For younger children, vaping is a less conventional administration method. Teens, however, may prefer this option since its fast-acting, though the effects don’t last as long as edibles. Another benefit of vaping is that it’s not as harmful as smoking.
- Oils: While some adolescents may not be keen on cannabis oils, they’re often convenient for parents because you can measure the dose with ease. Patients will feel the effects of tinctures soon after they’re administered, which is useful when your child is experiencing hydrocephalus-induced nausea.
- Topicals: For headaches, topicals offer fast-acting relief and localized healing. Rub a lotion or ointment on your child’s forehead, and they should begin to feel their headache ease. An advantage of topicals is they’re easy to carry with you while on the go with your kids.
Learn More About Treating Adolescent Hydrocephalus With Medical Cannabis
For families, medical cannabis offers a compassionate, convenient way to alleviate the pain adolescents with hydrocephalus experience daily. If you’re considering medical marijuana for your child, it’s essential to meet with the right physician. At MarijuanaDoctors.com, we can help you connect with a trusting practitioner.
Find a medical marijuana doctor near you to learn more about treating your child’s hydrocephalus.
Information About Medical Marijuana & Hydrocephalus