Doctors Want Cannabis for Children With Cancer

sick kid needing cannabis
George Rudy/

A pediatric oncology survey published in Pediatrics says that at least 85 recent of certified doctors are in support of medical marijuana for children diagnosed with cancer. Professionals also said that they support research and clinical trials for medical marijuana on children. They also were more inclined to support medical marijuana for children who have advanced cancer or are near death.

The survey was completed by more than 280 medical professionals, including physicians, nurse practitioners, psychologists and social workers that care for pediatric patients. The medical professionals who were surveyed were from the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, the Dana-Farber Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, and the Seattle Children's Hospital Cancer and Blood Disorders Center.

Pediatric oncologist and hematologist at the Yale School of Medicine Prasanna Ananth says that studies conducted over the years show that doctors are wary about prescribing marijuana to patients for several reasons. One is that the lack of FDA guidelines regarding dosages. Another is the side effects experienced with cannabis use along with the lack of scientific and medical research.

However, 80 percent of those surveyed were not worried about being prosecuted for prescribing marijuana to patients, and more than 50 percent were unconcerned with kids with cancer getting medical marijuana. Instead, the number one concern for those surveyed was having no guidelines for how to administer cannabis. There is not enough data regarding potency or proper dosage. "Marijuana dosing is an art and not an exact science," says Dr. Thomas O’Brien of New York prescribes medical cannabis for his underage patients and has done so for a child as young as two.

One thing that the physicians agreed on is that clinical research is needed to study marijuana for pediatric cancer. The study also concluded that 92 percent of responders would prescribe medical marijuana to pediatric cancer patients if allowed to do so legally.

Article by: George Rudy/