The drug has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to relieve symptoms of nausea and vomiting, and to help increase appetite in people with cancer and AIDS, according to the American Cancer Society. The most potent ingredient of medical marijuana is THC. The product comes in the form of an inhaler, pills and oil, which Cash was given, and it can also be smoked.
There are no other drugs that work as well as cannabis for treating the nausea and anorexia associated with cancer and its treatments, said Seger.
Even with the pain-reducing qualities of medical marijuana, Dr. Allison Dering-Anderson, clinical assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, said most states' medical marijuana laws likely would not cover a child as young as Cash.
And while Dering-Anderson said she is happy that the boy is recovering, she does not condone breaking the law in this way.
"It's not acceptable to break the law," said Dering-Anderson. "I'm sorry for this child and for this family and for all they've gone through, but….our licenses depend upon upholding the law."
Dering-Anderson said she has deep concerns about children taking medication that is not specified by a doctor and without clear oversight of their care.
"This child wasn't involved in a controlled study," she continued. "It's a good thing that this product didn't harm him. Would this have been news if the parents had used cobra venom or poison sumac? I doubt it."
Nevertheless, his parents are happy he is alive and well, and chalk it up to the marijuana as a major reason why Cash is "playing with Play-Doh," and not confined in a hospital bed, without energy to do any of the things children normally do.
"Cancer is a terrible monster," said Mike Hyde. "I was going to do anything to help my child."