The recent statement highlighted a lack of research, provides recommendations, and called for unbiased education for clinicians.
On October 19th, 2023, the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) released a position statement on medical cannabis and children under 18 years of age, noting the lack of studies about the dosing, safety, and efficacy used in clinical practice (1). According to its website, the mission of the CPS is to promote the health of youth through its education, advocacy, and research (2). As indicated in the Abstract of the recently released “Medical cannabis for children: Evidence and recommendations,” the statement is intended to provide recommendations for pediatric medical cannabis, based on reviews of current evidence (1).
In Canada, medical cannabis can be available to pediatric patients through authorization from physicians and nurse practitioners (1). “Given the widespread use of medical cannabis in Canada, paediatricians should be prepared to engage in open, ongoing discussions with families about its potential benefits and risks, and develop individualized plans that monitor efficacy, reduce harms, and mitigate drug−drug interactions,” stated the authors in the Abstract (1).
The CPS statement provided information—including dosages used—on several trials and studies that tested the effectiveness of medical cannabis in epilepsy, autism, other neurological conditions, and cancer and palliative care, while also explaining gaps in evidence, the most prominent one being that clinical trials with medical cannabis and cannabinoids do not include children (1).
The statement covered recommendations for safety and family and caregiver considerations, including side effects and cost (1). Also included are several considerations for clinicians when authorizing medical cannabis for children (1). The statement recommended that counselling should (1):
As the last in the list of five recommendations, the CPS noted that, “given the already widespread use of medical cannabis, unbiased education for clinicians wanting to learn more about how THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids work, along with potential risks and benefits for children and youth, should be developed (1).”