A California doctor may lose his medical license after prescribing marijuana cookies to a four-year-old boy. But the unconventional treatment isn’t why the doctor has landed in trouble, according to a report in the .
The state’s medical board found Dr. William Eidelman to be “grossly negligent” in the boy’s case—for his diagnosis, not his treatment plan.
Eidelman diagnosed the boy with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and bipolar disorder after a mere 20- to 30-minute appointment. The board noted that Eidelman failed to consult a psychiatrist or collect relevant information from the boy’s school and father, such as sleeping patterns and moods.
The boy’s father brought him to Eidelman to address behavioral issues he was having at school. Though Eidelman reported that the boy was agitated and nervous during the appointment, the board said the observations didn’t justify the diagnosis.
“Tantrums alone, and primarily exhibited in one environment (school), do not support either diagnosis,” the board wrote in its decision. In fact, nothing in the Eidelman’s clinical notes fit the diagnostic criteria for either condition, the board found. And the boy’s agitation at the appointment was also not unusual. “‘Being agitated’ and ‘having trouble sitting still’ hint at ADHD, but could simply hint at a preschooler not happy to have driven many miles to a doctor’s appointment,” the board noted.
The board did not fault Eidelman for prescribing marijuana-laced cookies to the boy, though. “It has not been established, by clear and convincing evidence, that the recommendation of medical marijuana to [the boy], with his father’s consent, violated the standard of care,” the board’s decision states. Their primary concern was that the prescription aimed to treat conditions that the boy didn’t actually have, given the clinical evidence.
“Labeling a child with a significant mental condition can be harmful … if those labels are incorrect, pernicious results may follow,” the board wrote.
Eidelman’s practice largely centers around granting patients access to medical marijuana, the noted. Eidelman estimates that he has written 10,000 letters for patients to obtain the drug over the last 20 years. The boy’s father was himself a patient, whom Eidelman also prescribed cannabis to treat ADHD and bipolar disorder.
The board ruled that Eidelman’s license should be revoked, but he is appealing the decision.