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Children and Youth Who Use Cannabis for Pain Relief: Benefits, Risks, and Perceptions

Authors Woo JJ, van Reekum EA, Rosic T, Samaan Z

Received 17 March 2020

Accepted for publication 24 April 2020

Published 21 May 2020 Volume 2020:11 Pages 53—61

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/AHMT.S254264

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Alastair Sutcliffe


Julia J Woo,1 Emma A van Reekum,2 Tea Rosic,3 Zainab Samaan3

1Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada; 2Faculty of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada; 3Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada

Correspondence: Zainab Samaan
St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, West 5th Campus, 100 West 5th Street, Hamilton, ON L9C 0E3, Canada
Tel +1-905-522-1155 x39215
Email samaanz@mcmaster.ca

Abstract: We provide up-to-date perspectives on the benefits and risks of medical cannabis for pain management in children and youth. To date, only two studies (a case report and a small observational study) have examined the effects of medical cannabis on pain in children and youth. No controlled trial has commented on long-term safety of medical cannabis. Findings from the recreational cannabis literature reveal significant potential short- and long-term risks of regular cannabis use, including impaired driving, depression, suicidality, psychosis, and tolerance. Despite this, many children and youth are self-medicating with cannabis, and perceive regular cannabis use to be safe. There is a need for better education and counselling of patients regarding the benefits and risks of medical cannabis use.

Keywords: marijuana, THC, CBD, adolescents, pediatrics

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