Following media reports of children with epilepsies reportedly deriving benefits from medical marijuana (or cannabis-based medicinal products) accessed abroad, the UK government allowed clinicians to prescribe these products.
A review published in Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology explores the science behind cannabis-based medicinal products in pediatric epilepsies and highlights areas that warrant additional research.
The authors also examined the prescribing environment surrounding these products. They found that a lack of quality evidence for efficacy and safety is the major obstacle to prescribing.
They stress that unlicensed cannabis-based medicinal products should not circumvent usual regulatory 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 acceptance of medicinal cannabis accelerating the wider legalization of marijuana and opening up a highly lucrative commercial market.
Kirkpatrick, M & O’ Callaghan, F., (2021) Epilepsy and cannabis: so near, yet so far. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology. doi.org/10.1111/dmcn.15032.