Development of institutional policy and clinical support services is beneficial for pediatric hospitals interested in use of medical marijuana (MMJ), according to a special article published online July 13 in Pediatrics.
Noting that Colorado was one of the first states to legalize MMJ, Amy E. Carver, Pharm.D., from the Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, and colleagues report on data from the first 50 patients seen at the Children’s Hospital of Colorado, which created and evolved its MMJ inpatient use policy and developed a unique consultative service composed of a clinical pharmacist and social worker. The service supports patients and families and primary clinical services in situations in which MMJ is being used or actively considered.
The researchers found that 80 percent of the patients had an oncologic diagnosis. Nausea and vomiting, appetite simulation, seizures, and pain were symptoms to be ameliorated by active or potential MMJ use. MMJ use was determined to be potentially unsafe in 64 percent of patients, mainly due to drug-drug interactions. A recommendation was made to avoid MMJ use or adjust its administration schedule in 68 percent of patients.
“Creation of a consultative service to advise front-line clinical teams on MMJ use has proven to be a beneficial strategy for consolidation of expertise on this topic at our hospital,” the authors write.