Petition Calls on Nova Scotia Government to Cover Cost of Cannabidiol-Based Medications for Children with Life-Threatening Diseases

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The Nova Scotia House of Assembly recently heard a petition to cover the cost of CBD-based medications for certain conditions.

On April 11, 2023, Chris Palmer, Progressive Conservative MLA in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly, read a petition calling on the Nova Scotia government to cover the cost of cannabidiol-based medications (CBM) for children who have life-threatening diseases (1). It requests that CBM be added as an Exception-Status Drug to the Pharmacare Program similar to the way Veterans Affairs Canada established a Reimbursement Policy for medical cannabis (1).

The petition received over 1300 signatures and was brought forth by Nick and Kaylee Jones on behalf of their six-year-old daughter Sophie, who was born with a rare chromosome abnormality called Malan Syndrome, which causes epilepsy, ataxia, hemiplegic migraines, and autism (1,2). Sophie’s seizures started after her third birthday–with the longest cluster lasting 45 minutes–and did not respond to three different medications (2).

“Sophie has been on CBD oil for 3 years in December,” said Sophie’s parents (2). “Her seizures don’t come in clusters, are not even a minute long now and her recovery time has improved drastically. We haven’t had to use rescue medication or call for an ambulance since March 2020. She has such a better quality of life now. She was sleeping 2 to 3 days to recover and now she is going 2 to 3 days without a nap, is trying to talk more, eats great, sleeps all night. She doesn’t need days to recover now and is so much more alert compared to before.”


The petition reads in part (1):

“WHEREAS Treatment-resistant epilepsy leads to an increase in expensive prescribed medications and frequent trips to already overburdened emergency rooms while being transported by Emergency Health Services, also an overburdened component of our Health Care system…

THEREFORE we, the undersigned, residents of Nova Scotia call upon the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly to cover the cost of cannabidiol (CBD) based medicine for children who have life-threatening diseases and specifically to remove the financial barrier to accessing CBD based medicines for children with epilepsy by adding it as an Exception Status Drug to the Pharmacare Program.”

A recording of the proceedings can be viewed here, with the Jones’ petition being heard from 19:45–22:22.

For in-depth coverage on cannabis for treating seizures, read more in this issue from Cannabis Patient Care: