Pediatricians can prescribe cannabis to kids, but half of them don’t even know it

Canadian pediatricians who are licensed to prescribe medical cannabis can do that for kids as well, and (not) shockingly half of them doesn’t even know about this option.

The Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program conducted a survey among 835 pediatricians across the provinces and found that 50% (419 of them) at one point had a patient that used legal or illegal cannabis to relieve pain or treat similar issues.

12-year-old Billy Caldwell, who has epilepsy, has been the theme of the news for what seems to be months now, as his case against the courts in the UK drags on, as cannabis oil is still very much illegal over there.

Across the pond, politicians in Canada are doing their very best to keep recreational cannabis (which is about to start selling in retail stores soon) out of hands of kids and all those underage, depending on the province in question.

So, why are there so many misconceptions and half-stories being told in regards to cannabis?

Ignorance is detrimental

Well, to answer the previous question we must first understand why people know so little about cannabis to start with. It is because of this lack of understanding and ignorance that the fear of cannabis grows and turns people against it.

In order to reduce those two major factors and turn the fight around, we must first educate people.

The federal government is currently in the process of updating five-year-old information about cannabis which should significantly add to the education process.

In the survey conducted by the Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program findings tell us that nearly 75% of all pediatricians reported little to no knowledge about what cannabis can be used and its correct dosing.

Nearly 40% of all pediatricians surveyed had no idea they were allowed to prescribe cannabis medication to those younger than 18 years of age, and 50% thought kids weren’t allowed cannabis at all.

In the other half of the pediatricians surveyed, a vast majority said that they saw five or fewer patients who used cannabis.

Clearly, the federal government and doctors on the ground doing work with actual people are not on the same page, or at least the information is not being passed around and implemented on a level that is expected.

However, the survey response rate was just 31% which “may under or over-represent the knowledge and/or experiences of Canadian pediatricians,” said the study.

This means that the survey was conducted with more than 2000 pediatricians and other pediatric subspecialists.

“From a pediatric perspective there’s seldom reason to authorize cannabis and maybe seizure is one of them but still, there’s no clear, no big evidence regarding that,” said Dr. Belanger who helped conduct the survey.

Belanger is also a pediatrician and researcher in Quebec, and he says that “pediatricians are treating complex diseases in children with sometimes fewer treatment possibilities than for adults.”

He also claims that it is their responsibility to keep producing knowledge around that and to inform pediatricians and health professionals working with kids of the possibilities that are offered.

The survey goes on to say that there is a clear majority of respondents who had no knowledge, or minimal knowledge, in regards to when and why cannabis might be prescribed.

“Paradoxically, they have a fairly positive view regarding cannabis use for medical purposes for certain conditions, despite the lack of solid scientific evidence regarding its safety and efficacy,” said the survey.

Even though 419 doctors said that they’ve encountered patients that tried treating themselves with cannabis, only 34 said they personally prescribed cannabis use in the prior year.

Cannabis is still considered as a “last resort solution” by many, and not just only doctors.

Belanger says that not very many studies have been performed because of the unnecessary exposure of kids to cannabis could be a problem.

“I won’t counsel anyone from entering a study exposing someone to cannabis if they don’t have severe conditions.”

He also pointed out that the data from this survey was published before the results of a very important cannabis study were published.

If the results were published sometime earlier, Belanger says that the results of their survey might have been skewed more a bit in favor of cannabis as the cannabis study in question was one speaking in favor of treating epilepsy among children with CBD.

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