Children and vulnerable people

Cannabis medicines and children

Specific rules apply when seeking to prescribe medicines which have not been fully assessed for quality, safety and efficacy to children. Use of these medicines can carry significant dangers, including the risk of harmful drug-drug interactions between the cannabis medicine and concurrent standard treatments. Research also indicates that exposure to a cannabis medicine containing delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) carries potential risks for the developing brain.

Under the Children and Young Persons Care and Protection Act 1998 (NSW), a medical practitioner must obtain special approval to prescribe a Schedule 8 cannabis medicine to a child under 16 years of age. NSW Health manages these applications on the prescriber’s behalf if approval to prescribe is granted. Please discuss relevant approvals and rules with your patient and/or the patient’s family.

Cannabis medicines and vulnerable people

Special rules apply regarding the use of some higher risk medicines and investigational products in people over the age of 16 years who are incapable of giving informed consent to treatment. A patient is incapable of giving valid consent if they are unable to understand the general nature and effect of the proposed treatment or indicate whether they consent to the treatment. In particular, special approvals under the Guardianship Act 1987 (NSW) may be required, depending on the type of medicine. Please discuss relevant approvals and rules with your patient and/or their family.