Cannabinoid-Based Medicines Being Used Extensively in Children’s Hospices

Updated on March 26, 2020.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

In the United Kingdom, the use of most cannabinoid-based medicines (CBMs) remains illegal. But that isn’t stopping parents from administering CBMs and cannabis oil (CO) to their chronically ill children living in hospices.

A report in the February 2019 Journal of Palliative Medicine shared the results of a national survey sent between May and July of 2018 to 54 children’s hospices in the United Kingdom. The survey contained 10 questions pertaining to the use of CBMs and Cos among pediatric patients. Roughly 87.5 percent of the responding hospices said they knew of families administering CO to children therapeutically, while 69 percent said they had been asked to administer CO themselves to the children in their care.

None of this is especially surprising, as children living in hospice care are typically suffering from a host of painful and debilitating symptoms. Parents of children with chronic conditions have long been turning to CO to help, whether they make it themselves or find other avenues to purchase it through.

The main concern brought up in the analyzing the survey responses was that because CBMs remain illegal, and hospitals haven’t been provided guidance on CO, hospices are not equipped to support the use of these otherwise beneficial medications for their patients. The report called for clear guidelines allowing hospices to meet the needs of their pediatric patients so that CO can be administered in a “safe, consistent, and relevant way.”


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