EducationFAQs

Is Medical Cannabis Legal for Children?

By June 27, 2019 July 29th, 2019 No Comments

Cannabis use for medical purposes is gaining popularity in Canada as it can be used to treat a wide range of physical ailments and symptoms. Medical cannabis use extends to children and has been shown to help treat or manage symptoms of seizures, epilepsy, ADD, ADHD, autism and childhood cancers. As children are not just “tiny adults” all medical cannabis use in children should be supervised by a licensed medical professional.

Under the Cannabis Act, medical cannabis use does not have an age restriction as with recreational cannabis use. Children are eligible to receive a medical cannabis recommendation that is managed by a licensed medical professional.

Apollo Cannabis employs pediatric doctors and patient educators who are familiar with pediatric patients and how to treat each child effectively. If you are interested in finding out more about how cannabis may help your child, contact Apollo Cannabis at apollocannabis.ca.

Cannabis is a Drug

When used for medical purposes, cannabis is a drug just like its pharmaceutical counterparts and there is a poor understanding of the clinical application of cannabis in a pediatric population. Dr. Michael Rieder is a physician from London, Ontario who wrote the Canadian Pediatric Society’s position statement on cannabis use and is often referred to pediatric patients whose family physicians are uncomfortable prescribing a cannabis-based treatment. He stated, “the families usually come in with a certain set of ideas but cannabis is not a side-effect free, cure all”. Unfortunately, there is no product monograph available for cannabis although a spokeswoman for Health Canada said that one is forthcoming.

Many pediatric physicians were unaware that they could recommend medical cannabis to their patients, according to a recent study released by the Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program (CPSP). More than 75% of survey respondents reported that they had little to no knowledge about the applications for medical cannabis or correct dosing.

Research is Promising

A recently published study from researchers at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) demonstrated safe dosing and tolerability of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) which was administered to reduce seizures and improve the quality of life for children with Dravet syndrome. Dravet syndrome is defined as a rare and catastrophic form of epilepsy that begins in the first year of life and is often resistant to traditional pharmaceutical therapies.

The study demonstrated significant reductions in motor seizures and an increase in certain aspects of adaptive functioning and quality of life measures for the patients. This was the first study of its kind to include a preparation which included both THC and CBD and shows excellent promise for clinical applications.

Charlotte Figi’s Story

One of the most famous cases of pediatric cannabis use is that of Charlotte Figi. Charlotte Figi developed Dravet’s syndrome at the age of three months and as she got older her condition worsened. She was experiencing daily seizures which lasted up to four hours and by the age of three, Charlotte was bound to a wheelchair, became non-verbal and wouldn’t eat.

After doctors told Charlotte’s parents that all clinical treatment options had been exhausted, the family turned to medical cannabis as a last resort. The results were almost immediate, with Charlotte going from 300 grand mal seizures a week to no seizures in the first week using medical cannabis. Charlotte’s story spread like wildfire and more parents began seeking access to medical cannabis for their children.

In the United States, there are many states that allow access to cannabis for medical purposes to a pediatric population, although some states do not yet have laws in place for medical cannabis use. This poses a unique situation for parents who live in non-medical states and wish to use cannabis to treat their children. Many families are forced to relocate to states with medical laws to get adequate treatment for their children, which has created a wave of “medical cannabis refugees”. Due to strict U.S. laws, many Americans have also looked to relocate north of the border in order to gain access to medical cannabis for their children.

Canada has the Advantage

In the last fifteen years, Canada has become a refuge for patients seeking access to medical cannabis, including pediatric patients. Previous laws dictating access to medical cannabis fell under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes (ACMPR), but with the creation of The Cannabis Act, all medical laws now fall under the umbrella of The Cannabis Act legislation.

There are no age restrictions with medical cannabis and its use is available to the pediatric population. It is important that pediatric patients who use medical cannabis be supervised by a Licensed Medical Professional to ensure that the medication is used safely and to maximum efficacy.

How can Apollo Cannabis Clinics Help?

Apollo Cannabis Clinic treats a wide range of pediatric patients and understands the sensitive nature of the pediatric population. We are one of the few clinics in Canada who work with pediatric patients and consider ourselves a family clinic.

Apollo Cannabis Clinic is an evidenced-based clinic who has been conducting observational research on medical cannabis and conditions since 2014. We staff over 10 prescribing health care professionals, including pediatric doctors, as well as patient educators to assist patients on an ongoing basis.

Apollo Cannabis Clinic provides each patient with a personalized treatment plan and offers a support line that is open 7 days a week, should a patient require assistance or have questions about their medication.

Apollo Cannabis Clinic is a free service and does not charge their patients for appointments, education sessions or ongoing care. Patient’s do not require a referral to utilize our services regardless of where they are located.

Apollo Cannabis services patients all over Canada through our unique Digital Patient Network (DPN). Patients meet with a doctor via secure video conference and have access to a patient educator once the prescription has been written.

Contact us today to talk about pediatric cannabis and how this may be an option for your child facing debilitating diseases or illness.