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Physicians Endorse Cannabis-Based Treatments For Young Cerebral Palsy Patients

nurse doctor hospital stethoscope

Arguably the most sensitive area of cannabis research and policy pertains to young people, for a multitude of reasons. The history of cannabis propaganda and targeting young people is complicated, to say the least.

However, in limited and controlled instances, emerging research is demonstrating that cannabis use for medical purposes can be effective in treatment strategies for younger patients. Young patients with severe epilepsy and medical cannabis are a particularly promising area of research.

A recent survey in Switzerland found that a growing number of physicians are endorsing cannabis-based treatments for young patients with cerebral palsy. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

Bern, Switzerland: Physicians are recommending cannabis-based treatments for children suffering from cerebral palsy (CP), according to survey data published in the journal Children.

Swiss researchers surveyed 70 physicians with experience treating children with cerebral palsy. Physicians participating in the survey resided in Europe, North America, and Australia.

Forty-seven percent of respondents reported having authorized cannabis-based therapies (e.g., Dronabinol, Epidiolex, whole-plant cannabis extracts, or CBD) to their pediatric patients, typically as an adjunctive therapy. Doctors were most likely to recommend cannabinoids for treating seizures, spasticity, and pain. Sixty-nine percent of respondents reported that cannabis-based treatments provided either “strong” or “moderate” effects on CP symptoms.

The study’s authors concluded: “This international online survey assessed the prescribing practices of cannabinoids in children with CP by their treating physicians. The participating physicians acquired their knowledge about cannabinoids mainly outside their medical training. The physicians frequently prescribed differing formulas of cannabinoids for various indications in children with CP. The most common indications were epilepsy, spasticity, and pain, and treatment was initiated as co-medication or second-line treatment. Overall, physicians perceived a moderate efficacy of cannabinoids and no long-term side effects.”

Survey data published last year in the journal Orthopedics reported that 17 percent of US pediatric patients with CP are using CBD supplements to mitigate disease symptoms.

Full text of the study, “Prescription practices of cannabinoids in children with cerebral palsy worldwide – A survey of the Swiss cerebral palsy registry,” appears in Children.