For a new study in the January 2018 issue of Pediatrics, researchers compiled survey responses of 288 pediatric oncology doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, including those eligible and not eligible to recommend medical marijuana, to determine their views on the potential role of medical marijuana to treat cancer and its symptoms in children.
The study, “Provider Perspectives on Use of Medical Marijuana in Children with Cancer,” published online Dec. 12, found that most pediatric oncology health care professionals are willing to consider medical marijuana use in children with cancer, particularly for those with advanced illness. However, health care professionals who were eligible to recommend medical marijuana demonstrated less favorable attitudes overall toward medical marijuana use in children.
Researchers found the lack of standards in marijuana products and dosing was a barrier to health care providers when recommending medical marijuana use. Of the 288 health care professionals in the study, 30 percent received requests for medical marijuana in the prior month, however, only 5 percent knew state-specific regulations on access, cultivation and possession.
The researchers call for rigorously designed clinical trials investigating the use of medical marijuana in children with cancer to address the concerns of health care professionals and to provide evidence of safety and efficacy.