Article by Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press
About half of pediatric doctors surveyed about cannabis say they’ve encountered a young patient who had used marijuana for a medical reason.
The questionnaire for the Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program found 419 of 835 respondents had a patient who had used either authorized or unauthorized cannabis for some sort of medical relief.
The one-time study did not detail how many cases involved unauthorized use, the nature of the condition being treated nor the ages of the patients. But principal investigator Richard Belanger says he’s surprised by the number of young cannabis users and says it points to the need for more information for doctors, parents and patients.
The Quebec City pediatrician, also a professor at Laval University, notes that more than a third of respondents — or 316 doctors — said they had been asked by a parent or adolescent patient to prescribe cannabis.
Only 34 doctors said they had done so, with many expressing reservations about efficacy, impacts to developing young brains, and concerns about abuse and dependence.
The one-time survey was conducted in the spring of 2017 as part of the surveillance program’s larger look at a host of hot-button issues including Lyme disease, Zika virus and eating disorders.
Belanger says researchers were surprised by how many kids and adolescents appeared to be turning to medical marijuana: “We thought it was less than that.”
“We really want to make clear that cannabis is not only an adult issue, either for recreational but (also) medical purposes,” Belanger said of the findings.