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The Doctor Who Dosed a Preschooler



The Medical Board of California has revoked a Hollywood doctor's medical license after he prescribed a 4-year-old boy cannabis cookies to treat "episodes of uncontrollable behavior and temper tantrums." Perhaps unsurprisingly, the board also found that Eidelman is just a really bad doctor.

That second part shouldn't have come as a surprise to anyone who has happened across Eidelman's website, which boasts of his more than 30 years "in the natural healing field" and his use of "herbs, nutrition, bioelectromagnetism and meditation" to yield "amazing, paradigm-shifting, life-saving, health-giving, feel-better results!" Sounds good, right? Well, Eidelman also espouses the power of "energy medicine," noting that the body is "a liquid crystal," and refers to medical cannabis as "the gateway herb to natural medicine."

In Eidelman's eyes, one is apparently never too young to walk through the gateway.

Eidelman's trouble apparently began back in 2012, when one of his patients brought his 4-year-old son, identified by the medical board only as T.T., to see the good doctor, noting the "uncontrollable behavior" and "tantrums." Eidelman visited with the boy for 20 to 30 minutes, after which he diagnosed him with a "probable combination" of attention deficit hyperactivity and bipolar disorder and signed a letter suggesting he "try cannabis in small amounts in cookies." (We'll come back to this, but it bears noting here that Eidelman is neither a pediatrician nor a psychiatrist.)

According to the medical board, Eidelman left dosage at the discretion of the boy's father.

The father reported that he started giving T.T. cookies laced with "small amounts" of pot every morning. When that wasn't working, he increased the daily dosage by adding the cookies to the boy's lunch. That reportedly caught the attention of a nurse at the boy's pre-school, who alerted both the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office and child protective services, who later filed a complaint with the medical board.

But when Eidelman was informed of this — and the subsequent investigations — at a follow-up appointment on Sept. 13, 2013, he was reportedly unphased. According to the medical board, Eidelman noted that he "accepted" authorities' probes into T.T.'s cannabis use but urged the family to stay the course with the treatment plan.

It's unclear if the boy continued following the plan but he was later diagnosed with disruptive mood dysregulation disorder after being hospitalized on New Year's Eve in 2016, more than four years after his first visit with Eidelman.

When revoking Eidelman's license earlier this month, the medical board made clear that the decision was based not just on the fact that he prescribed cannabis cookies to a 4-year-old without a specific dosage — though that is, in fact, frowned upon — but also that he made a diagnosis without consulting the boy's medical records, or referring him to a specialist or pediatrician. Further, the board notes, during a subsequent interview with an investigator, Eidelman was unable to "describe the diagnostic criteria" for the very disorders he'd incorrectly diagnosed the boy as having. He later defended his decision, saying "there's pretty much no risk" in prescribing cannabis edibles without a dosage to a 4 year old, as he'd done with T.T.

Obviously, this story raises a host of questions, chief among them: Who trusts a doctor who refers to the human body as a "living crystal" and how did it take the medical board let this quack practice medicine for more than five years — five years! — after receiving the initial complaint about T.T.?

But there are also some clear takeaways. In the interest of brevity, we'll just hit on the two most important ones here: If you think there's something wrong with your kid, the first stop should be a pediatrician's office; and giving your 4 year old pot cookies is probably a terrible idea, despite any claims of "amazing, paradigm-shifting, life-saving, health-giving, feel-better results!"

Thadeus Greenson is the Journal's news editor. Reach him at 442-1400, extension 321, or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @thadeusgreenson.

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