The researchers were amazed to see that so many children and teenagers seemed to use marijuana for medical reasons.
Almost half of the pediatricians surveyed about cannabis in the framework of a survey have been found to have had to deal with a young patient who had used marijuana for medical reasons.
The study, conducted for the canadian paediatric surveillance Program (CPSP), indicates that 419 of 835 respondents have had a patient who used cannabis obtained legally or illegally, in order to remedy a health problem.
The survey, released Thursday, does not provide details on the number of cases involving marijuana obtained illegally, the nature of the problems treated and the age of patients. But the lead researcher, Richard Bélanger said he had been surprised by the number of young consumers of cannabis and has claimed that this discovery highlighted the importance of providing more information to physicians, parents and patients.
The pediatrician, who practice at the Centre mère-enfant Soleil of the CHU de Québec and is an assistant professor in the department of paediatrics, Faculty of medicine, Laval University, notes that more than a third of the pediatricians surveyed, 316 doctors, have believed to have received a request from a parent or a patient with a teenager for a prescription of cannabis.
Only 34 doctors have said have prescribed the substance, most of the other pediatricians who have expressed reservations about the efficacy of marijuana and its impact on young developing brains as well as concerns regarding risk of abuse and dependence.
The study was conducted in the spring of 2017 in the framework of a survey of a larger problem of CPSP on a range of sensitive issues, including Lyme disease, the virus Zika and eating disorders.
According to Mr. Bélanger, the researchers were amazed to see that so many children and teenagers seemed to use marijuana for medical reasons.
“We thought it was less than this, he recognized. The most important message here is that cannabis is not only an issue for adults, either for recreational use or medical. Sometimes, when we consider this treatment, we tend to forget the children and it should not be the case. “
The paediatrician and researcher, has said suspect that children are allowed by their doctor to use marijuana to suffering from various diseases, including refractory epilepsy, cerebral palsy and chronic pain, whereas adolescents were using probably cannabis that is obtained illegally to treat other problems, such as anxiety and depression.
The survey also found that the strong majority of respondents knew little or nothing about the reasons for which marijuana could be prescribed to a child or young person and the products available and the required doses.
Even though medicinal marijuana has been available since 2001, many questions remain unanswered, said Richard Bélanger.
“It is a burning issue, he argued. There is considerable room for the canadian pediatric Society or other associations or authorities to provide more information on the possible benefits and the adverse effects likely can be associated with the use of cannabis for medical reasons. “