Following media reports of children with epilepsy allegedly benefiting from medical marijuana (or cannabis-based medicines) used abroad, the UK government allowed clinicians to prescribe these products.
A review published in Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology explores the science behind cannabis-based medicines in pediatric epilepsy and highlights areas that require additional research.
The authors also examined the prescribing environment surrounding these products. They found that a lack of qualitative evidence for efficacy and safety is the biggest obstacle to prescribing.
They emphasize that unlicensed cannabis-based medicines should not bypass usual legal requirements before being prescribed. And they worry that children with epilepsy are at risk of being used as a “Trojan horse” for the cannabis industry, with widespread adoption of medicinal cannabis, accelerating the wider legalization of marijuana and opening up a very lucrative commercial market.
Kirkpatrick, M & O’ Callaghan, F., (2021) Epilepsy and cannabis: so close, yet so far. Developmental medicine and pediatric neurology. doi.org/10.1111/dmcn.15032.