Nurses in Toronto are refusing to administer CBD oil to a child suffering from a rare genetic condition, according to CBC News. 11 year-old Francesco Niembro experienced from two to ten seizures per a day as a result of CFC (cardio-facio-cutaneous) syndrome.

When he received a prescription for CBD oil and started taking treatments, the frequency of his seizures was reduced substantially. But Francesco and his mother Maria are having trouble finding nurses who will administer the drug when the boy is hospitalized. “They apologize and they say they cannot administer it because there is no policy established,” Maria Niembro told CBC.

Maria can administer the drug herself during her son’s hospital stays, but that means the child requires his mother to be around him at all times to ensure he can get the drug treatment he needs. Francesco’s oil is given by syringe through a G-tube (gastrostomy tube), a system that might be too complex for a child to administer on them self.

Francesco’s physician Dr. Michael Verbora of the Cannabinoid Medical Clinic in Toronto said he’s seen the same problem in other patients. “This is something new that many of my patients who are using CBD oil are starting to experience. It’s been coming to light recently. It’s very frustrating for a number of my patients who are trying to administer what is a medication that has been effective but unfortunately they are facing what appears to be political barriers,” Verbora told CBC.

The problem is at an institutional level, not a governmental one. While federal regulations don’t prohibit nurses from administering CBD oil, or other medical cannabis products, many hospitals do. One hospital where Francesco was admitted, Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, expressed its conflicting views on the subject.

“SickKids does not currently prescribe or administer cannabinoid oil as part of clinical care, as there are not enough high-quality studies about the safety and efficacy of its use in treating seizures in children,” it said in a statement.

“We understand that there is a need for this type of research and we have recently received Health Canada approval for a clinical trial to determine the safety and dosage of cannabinoid oil for the treatment of patients with drug-resistant epilepsy.”

“From my perspective, I appreciate that it is a newer medication,” said Dr. Verbora. “It’s definitely something that is being studied more and more. On the other hand, it’s a little frustrating for a physician like myself who has been using this medicine for over a year.”


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