Medical cannabis has also been found to have other potential benefits for children with epilepsy. For example, it can improve sleep, mood, and cognitive function. It can also reduce side effects associated with traditional medications, such as drowsiness, fatigue, and irritability.
A review found that while medicinal cannabis could provide significant relief for patients suffering from intractable epilepsy, cost and access barriers still exist.
According to evidence from a small number of patients, cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs) can provide significant relief from intractable epilepsy.
Prof. David Nutt and Rayyan Zafar of Imperial College London examined the impact of combined CBD and THC-based products on the frequency of epileptic seizures in a study of ten cases of severe childhood-onset epilepsy.
They discovered that when patients received whole plant extract cannabis treatmentsâ€”which are not currently licensed in the UKâ€”caregivers reported a 97 percent reduction in monthly frequency of seizures, indicating a clear benefit among this group. Despite the clinical benefit, they point to the high cost of the treatments and the difficulty in obtaining them in the UK.
“Patients and their families deserve better,” said Zafar, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Brain Sciences. “We implore policymakers, regulators, and public health bodies to prioritize the health of these individuals and help them access medicines that are making a dramatic improvement in their lives.”Â
The full study is available in Drug Science, Policy, and Law.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by recurrent seizures, which can range from mild to severe. For many children with epilepsy, traditional medications are not effective in controlling their seizures. However, recent research has shown that medical cannabis can be an effective treatment option for reducing seizures in children with epilepsy.
One of the main active compounds in cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD), has been shown to have anti-seizure properties. Studies have found that CBD can reduce the number of seizures in children with epilepsy, including those with Dravet syndrome, a rare and severe form of the disorder. In one study, children with Dravet syndrome who were given CBD had a 39% reduction in seizures, compared to a 13% reduction in those who received a placebo.
Another study found that CBD reduced the number of seizures in children with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, another severe form of epilepsy, by 44.6%. These studies suggest that CBD can be an effective treatment option for children with severe forms of epilepsy who have not responded well to traditional medications.
In addition to CBD, other components of cannabis, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), may also have anti-seizure properties. THC has been shown to reduce seizures in animal studies, but more research is needed to determine its effectiveness in humans.
Despite the promising research, it’s important to note that medical cannabis is not a cure for epilepsy and it’s not appropriate for all children. It should only be used under the care and guidance of a qualified healthcare professional. Additionally, the laws regarding medical cannabis vary from state to state, and not all states have legalized its use.
In conclusion, recent research has shown that medical cannabis, specifically CBD, can be an effective treatment option for reducing seizures in children with epilepsy, particularly for those with severe forms of the disorder. It’s important for parents of children with epilepsy to discuss the potential benefits and risks of medical cannabis with a qualified healthcare professional, as well as to be aware of the state laws regarding its use.