Canadian doctors are seeing a growing demand by parents for medical cannabis for their children, and for a growing list of conditions, according to an article posted this week in the online academic journal, The Conversation.
Toronto pediatrician Daniel Flanders says he’s asked about medicinal cannabis at least two to three times a week for a variety of things such as chronic pain, mental health issues, arthritis, ADHD and sleep problems.
The difficulty he and other doctors are facing is that the science hasn’t caught up with the demand.
Evan Lewis, a pediatric neurologist in Toronto, says the evidence is strong in a few areas. For example, it’s known that CBD successfully treats some seizure conditions in children, and tuberous sclerosis, a brain tumor induced seizure found in children and adults.
For other conditions there is evidence, just not enough randomized controlled trials, the so-called gold standard of medical research. But enough other evidence for Dr. Lewis to authorize medicinal cannabis in select cases for a range of ailments such as migraines, concussions, sleep problems, autism, tics, movement disorders and behavioural problems in children with neurological conditions.
And across the country physicians are using it for symptom relief in pediatric and adult palliative care, chronic pain disorders, spasticity, incurable malignancies and ADHD.
The good news is that because Canada legalized cannabis for medicinal and recreational use in 2018, research has begun in earnest. One example is the national research consortium, Canadian Childhood Cannabinoid Clinical Trials, whose work is “showing promise” according to its director, Lauren Kelly.
That promise is what one mother of a child with a life-threatening illness is hoping for. As she tells us in the video below:
[I]t’s not only encouraging but very exciting to me to see both industry and the medical community researchers piecing together steps … so that we may come up with a better solution for a multitude of conditions – and that outcome could be life-changing.