A mother has pulled her son out of classes after officials at his New Mexico school refused to let him use medical cannabis pills on campus – even though the drug is legal under state laws.
For years, 10-year-old Anthony Brick has battled undifferentiated schizophrenia, PTSD and ADHD, which has left him in and out of hospitals with delusions, hallucinations, jumbled speech, disorganized thought and – at times – in a catatonic state.
His mother, Tisha, says things began to change after doctors prescribed him new medication, a pill with medical cannabis oil.
But staff at Estancia Elementary School have refused to let him use the medication in classes despite New Mexico being one of 30 states where medical marijuana is legal, insisting state laws allow campuses to ban the substance.
‘He couldn’t do his schoolwork. He really didn’t talk to very many people – medical cannabis has changed it to where he is more sociable,’ Tisha told KOB 4.
‘He can actually learn a little bit better and he can be around people and function like a normal person.’
Early research has shown that one of marijuana’s main compounds, cannabis-derived chemical cannabidiol (CBD), may be a type of treatment therapy for schizophrenia.
In the landmark 2017 study from the University of Wollongong in Australia, CBD was shown to act as an anti-psychotic and reduce hallucinations and delusions, common symptoms of the disorder.
Wollongong PhD candidate Ashleigh Osborne said at the time that CBD helped restore recognition and working memory ‘as well as social behavior, to normal levels’ and that research showed that CBD may help treat symptoms of schizophrenia that seem resistant to existing medications.
Additionally, the plant’s main psychoactive ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, affixes to brain cell receptors that help regulate mood, sleep patterns and pain perception.
Scientists also believe that THC reacts with the brain’s limbic system, which controls emotion, and helps reduce anxiety, which would curb PTSD symptoms.
Despite the medication’s benefits, school staff told Tisha that she would not be able to administer it on campus.
The superintendent wrote in a letter to the family that, despite Anthony carrying a patient ID card saying he is a member of the medical cannabis program, marijuana is not allowed on school property according to a state law.
The Lynn And Erin Compassionate Use Act states that participation in the state’s marijuana program does not prohibit schools from banning it on school grounds or property.
Tisha pulled Anthony out of school in November, which has left him unable to keep up with his studies or interact with other children.
‘It’s very frustrating,’ she told KOB 4. ‘He’s been out of school for the whole school year. It’s impacted our lives in ways you can’t even imagine.’
Tisha says she wants state legislators to help change local laws so that marijuana will be allowed on school grounds.
It currently remains unclear whether or not Anthony will continue to be home-schooled.
Currently, more than 50,000 patients are participating in New Mexico’s medical marijuana program with about half listing post-traumatic stress disorder as a qualifying condition – one of Anthony’s own diagnosed conditions.
Patients must meet at least one of 21 conditions for a medical marijuana card. The other most common qualifying conditions include severe chronic pain and cancer.
Medical marijuana is legal in 30 states with Utah and Oklahoma both believed to be legalizing the drug by this November.
A 2017 poll from the Pew Research Center found that 61 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana, nearly double the number from two decades ago in 2000.
Opinions of legalization differ by political party, with 70 percent of Democrats supporting it compared with 65 percent of Independents and just 43 percent of Republicans.
However, 90 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana for medical use.