THURSDAY, Sept. 20, 2018 (HealthDay News) — There is an urgent need for clinical trials to investigate the use of cannabinoids in pediatric patients with neurological disorders, according to a commentary published in the Aug. 27 issue of CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Parents use unregulated cannabinoids to manage neurological disorders in children, including seizures, spasticity, and irritability in children with epilepsy, autism-spectrum disorder, and cerebral palsy. Yet, the decision to treat is often made based on only a small series of case reports and anecdotal online accounts.

Lauren E. Kelly, Ph.D., from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, and Anne Junker, M.D., from the British Columbia Children’s Hospital in Vancouver — both in Canada, write that clinical trials are needed to determine the safety and effectiveness of cannabinoids and to guide dosing in children with neurological conditions. The authors urge that clinical trial design considerations include prospective planning, innovative methods, parent engagement, and multisite collaboration. Additionally, they should incorporate long-term neurodevelopmental follow-up.

“It is time to move away from the ‘era of the anecdote’ and toward evidence-informed selection and dosing of cannabinoids in children,” the authors write.

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