While doctors in some parts of the world may still be resistant to it, it appears oncology providers in the USA are generally quite open to the prospect of medical cannabis for children with cancer.
A survey of hundreds of pediatric oncology providers has revealed 92% reported willingness to help children with cancer access medical marijuana.
An interesting aspect was support was lower among providers classified as legally eligible to certify (ETC) for cannabis medicines.
In a related article on SFGate regarding this aspect, study co-author Kelly Michelson, MD explained this odd result:
“It is not surprising that providers who are eligible to certify for medical marijuana were more cautious about recommending it, given that their licensure could be jeopardized due to federal prohibition.”
As for the greatest barrier to recommending medical marijuana, forty-six percent of all providers cited the absence of standards concerning formulations, potency, or dosing. Dr. Michelson said another area of significant concern was a lack of high quality scientific data to confirm medical marijuana benefits outweigh possible harm.
However, ScienceDirect coverage of the study states just 2 percent of providers felt medical marijuana was never appropriate for a child with cancer. There was also little concern among the majority of providers with regard to the potential for overdosing.
Results from the study, “Provider Perspectives on Use of Medical Marijuana in Children With Cancer,” have been published in the journal Pediatrics.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 14 in the USA.
According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 10, 270 children in the United States under the age of 15 will have been diagnosed with cancer over the course of this year. While survival rates are much higher than they used to be – 80% of children with cancer now survive 5 years or more – treatments such as chemotherapy can be harsh on children and medical marijuana may be able to provide relief from some of the side effects.
The Society notes that relying on marijuana alone as treatment and foregoing or delaying conventional medical treatment for cancer may have serious health consequences.