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Pot for Tots: The medical debate

Created: 03/14/2014 7:39 AM
By: Tracie Potts, NBC News

(NBC News) -- Legalizing marijuana has been a hot topic since Colorado joined Washington state allowing recreational use.  Many other states allow marijuana use, but only for medical purposes.

Just this week, efforts to legalize medical marijuana moved forward in Alabama and Kentucky.  

There's evidence it can help people with arthritis, Alzheimer's, asthma...even glaucoma and epilepsy.

3-year-old twins Nicholas and Byron Deliyannis have a rare genetic disorder.

They can't walk. They can't talk. They're fed through tubes.  They have dozens of seizures every day. Medicine doesn't help.

Most children with this condition don't live past 2-years-old. Their doctor told mom it's time to make some decisions.

Some studies show marijuana can help control seizures, but medical marijuana is illegal in their home state of Maryland.  Now their mother is fighting to change that.

"If medical marijuana is saving the lives of children in places where it's legal, I'm going to do my best to make sure it's legal here," Shannon Moore says.

Medical marijuana is legal in 20 states and Washington, d.C.

Maryland and 15 other states are considering it.

Still, the federal government, including the FDA, object, arguing it's addictive, unproven and a gateway to more dangerous drugs.

Research is split, and so is the medical community.

Even where medical marijuana is legal, it's complicated.

"How much marijuana could a person grow exactly? What about if a person is arrested?" asks Kamy Akhaven of ProCon.org.  "What about the risk of driving under the influence? A lot of states haven't quite nailed down how to deal with that."
 
Read more: NBC News

Photo: NBC News

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