Last updated on: 9/15/2014 | Author:

Sharon Levy, MD, MPH Biography

Medical Director of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program at Boston Children's Hospital and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School
Con to the question "Should Marijuana Be a Medical Option?"

“Marijuana is an addictive drug…

Several recent news reports have portrayed the short term benefits of marijuana for children with complications of chemotherapy, seizures, and autism. While the anecdotal reports can be dramatic, we do not know how these children fare in the long run. Modern medicine has learned the hard way that very promising looking therapies can ultimately turn out to cause more harm than good. Let’s not let history repeat itself…

Many proponents of ‘medical marijuana’ portray marijuana use as harmless – ignoring a growing body of literature linking marijuana use in adolescence to mood, anxiety and thought disorders as well neurocognitive decline over time… Anecdotally, nearly all of the patients treated in the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program at Boston Children’s Hospital who use tobacco would like to quit because of health concerns, while few adolescents can understand why we advise them to stop using marijuana.”

“Letter to the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health,”, Feb. 19, 2013

Theoretical Expertise Ranking:
     Key Experts
Physicians [Physicians are the "key experts" in the medical marijuana debate because the issue is thought by many to be ultimately based on the medical value and risks of marijuana, and Physicians, with their training and clinical work, should (at least in theory) have the best knowledge of marijuana's medical value and risks.] [Note: Key Experts definition varies by sites that have this designation.]
Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Medical Director, Adolescent Substance Abuse Program, Boston Children’s Hospital, 2000-present
  • Physician, Boston Children’s Hospital, July 1997-present
  • Assistant Professor, Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
  • Chair, American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Substance Abuse
  • Researcher, Division of Developmental Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Member, leadership team, SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)
  • Recipient, Dyson’s Fellowship, Boston Children’s Hospital, 1997-1999
  • Residency, New York University School of Medicine, 1993-1995
  • Internship, New York University School of Medicine, 1992-1993
  • Former chief resident, pediatrics, Bellevue Hospital (New York City)
  • Education:
  • MPH, Harvard University
  • MD, New York University School of Medicine, 1992
  • BA, Neurobiology, University of Pennsylvania, 1988
  • Other:
  • Principal investigator of the SAMHSA-funded medical residency Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) project at Childrens Hospital Boston and of an NIAAA-funded study validating the youth alcohol screening tool in a population of youth with chronic medial illness.
  • Quoted in:
    1. Should Marijuana Ever Be Used to Treat Children and Adolescents?