Despite the acceptance that medical cannabis is finally gaining, cannabis for pregnant women, infants, or anyone or anything baby-adjacent is still a majorly taboo topic. A new medical trial for newborn babies could change all that, however.
A study led by the NHS Foundation Trust of Guy and St Thomas in London is working towards a cannabis-based drug that could be used for neonatal care, to help babies at risk of seizures and brain injury.
While looking at cannabis as a treatment for children with seizures is nothing new, it is new to look into this treatment for newborns. According to the BBC, the trial is looking to see if it can reduce the degree of brain injury for those born with Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, or HIE. This occurs when an infant’s brain doesn’t receive enough oxygen and blood.
The Baby in the Study
The baby being treated with the experimental medicine is Oscar, who was born by emergency Caesarean March 11, three days after his due date. His mother, Chelsea Parodi, who is 17, said she wanted to do everything possible to help her baby.
Oscar has been transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for a 72-hour cooling treatment to try and protect his brain from harm. His body temperature was brought down to 33.5 degrees Celsius using a special cooling jacket. He was also given the drug less than 12 hours after he was born.
While the trial drug being administered is cannabis-based, the therapeutic ingredient used for the drug is extracted in a highly controlled manner to make sure that THC is minimal in the dose the child receives.
It’s too soon to tell whether this will be successful at helping Oscar and his family, but if this does prove to be an effective treatment, a whole new world of cannabis research will be opened to parents of children born with lack of blood or oxygen. It may be possible to treat HIE much earlier on to prevent seizures and other serious consequences later.