Children's Palliative Care & Medical Cannabis: Australian Researchers Conduct Pilot Study


A new study is underway to investigate how medical cannabis can help reduce symptoms in children and adolescents with non-cancerous conditions, reported EurekAlert.

Palliative Care: Essential for those with serious illnesses. 

The pilot study conducted at Australia’s Murdoch Children’s Research Institute was granted $75,000 from the State Government’s Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund (VMRAF). Medicinal marijuana company Cannatrek is supporting the cause as well.

The research, led by Associate Professor Daryl Efron of Murdoch Children’s, will include 10 participants from the Victorian Paediatric Palliative Care Program aged six months to 21 years. Recruitment is expected to launch by year-end.

“The trial will evaluate the study design spanning recruitment strategy, medication tolerability, duration and outcomes to determine acceptability and feasibility for participating families and our research team,” Efron said. “The data collected will then be used to design a full-scale multi-center trial.”

Medical Cannabis: New Hope For Patients

Efron praised cannabis as anew therapy with great hope” for those experiencing a range of symptoms such as pain, irritability, gastrointestinal symptoms, seizures, spasticity and dystonia. Despite its evident benefits, doctors are not prescribing medical marijuana to children with these symptoms.

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“In our experience, parents are interested in obtaining medicinal cannabis for their child’s symptoms, but physicians are reluctant to prescribe it because of the lack of quality research,” Efron continued. “There is an urgent need for clinical trials to properly evaluate the role of medicinal cannabis for use in these highly vulnerable patients.”

Meanwhile, cannabinoids for various conditions in children have been approved by FDA since 2018.

Dr. Ann-Marie Wong, a medical marijuana pediatric specialist, said that in her experience working with children she’s seen “amazing results for those suffering with epilepsy and autism.”

Photo: Courtesy of Caleb Woods on Unsplash


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