Child Abuse Charges for Mom who Gave Kids Cannabis for ADHD, Emotional Issues

The side effects of the most commonly prescribed stimulant medications (like Adderall or Ritalin) for ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) are honestly frightening: A rise in blood pressure, not having an appetite, weight loss, upset stomach/pain, nausea/vomiting, dizzy spells, headache, diarrhea, dry mouth, fever and nervousness. Those are considered normal; severe side effects include numbness or pain at high thresholds, dangerously prolonged erections in male patients, and not being able to control your teeth grinding, irregular heartbeat and seizures. This is a big list of serious side effects, and it would be enough to have any parent contemplating their options.

Amy Renee Cunningham is a 31-year-old mother of two boys who lives in Meswick, Michigan, and she allegedly decided to try to medicate her sons with marijuana verses using pharmaceutical drugs they were being prescribed. She allegedly gave her 12-year-old son permission to smoke marijuana in lieu of his prescribed medications for ADHD. It has been documented that her 10-year-old was also using marijuana with her permission to deal with emotional stress related issues. Both the children and the mother had words with Child Protective Services about their use of marijuana as an alternative medicine, and the predictable fallout occured.

At this moment, Cunningham faces not only delivery/manufacture of marijuana charges but third-degree child abuse charges as well. While parents should not be making severe medical decisions without proper knowledge from a physician or other healthcare professional, it hardly seems legitimate to call her decision to unitize a medication with fewer dangerous side effects abuse. At worst, it was a misguided attempt to help her children.

While Michigan is a medical marijuana state and children are allowed to endure in the state’s medical marijuana program, neither of Cunningham’s sons had a doctor recommendation or a state-issued medical marijuana ID card. She has made claims that she is making efforts to obtain a physician’s recommendation for her children, but it is unlikely she will succeed. Michigan has a very specific list of qualifying medical conditions, and ADHD does not make it on that list. Depending on the state of the emotional issues her younger son suffers, it is possible he could qualify for a medical marijuana card if his issues stem from PTSD, which is a qualifying condition.

For now, however, her charges stand. Now, in addition to struggling with ADHD and emotional related issues, her children have to deal with the stress of having their mother prosecuted in a small community. Unless new facts comes to light, or there is a severe shift in Michigan’s policy toward medical marijuana, it is likely this family will have to struggle through a protracted trial process and the inescapable involvement of family court and mandatory counseling and educational services.


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