Cannabis oil that contains very low amounts of THC or none at all is preferred for use as medicine. This oil can be made from both marijuana and hemp plants. Hemp strains often contain CBD without THC.
There are many treatments for seizures in children, but not all children respond to one or more of them. Cannabis oil is a new and sometimes controversial treatment that is currently gaining ground as a natural and non-invasive way to keep seizures under control.
THC is the component of cannabis that produces the characteristic euphoric state often referred to as a “high.” Cannabidiol does not produce psychoactive effects, but has been shown to promote positive effects in different parts of the body. Cannabidiol is the component in cannabis that is hypothesized to ease seizures in children.
How Does Cannabis Oil Benefit?
Cannabis is the proper name for marijuana, a cousin of the hemp plant and one that has long been classified as an illegal substance. However, with many states now opting to legalize cannabis for medical use, research is being conducted on how it can be used to treat seizures in children with epilepsy.
Far from being the stereotypical drug that makes a person want to eat snacks and watch television all day, cannabis contains chemicals that are able to work with the body to ease seizures. The two major components of cannabis are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
Although marijuana has been shown to be habit-forming, it is not addictive. Its habit-forming properties are usually associated with the effects of THC on a person. Cannabis oil that contains little or no THC is typically not habit-forming.
To describe the experience of five Israeli pediatric epilepsy clinics treating children and adolescents diagnosed as having intractable epilepsy with a regimen of medical cannabis oil.
CBD treatment yielded a significant positive effect on seizure load. Most of the children (66/74, 89%) reported reduction in seizure frequency: 13 (18%) reported 75–100% reduction, 25 (34%) reported 50–75% reduction, 9 (12%) reported 25–50% reduction, and 19 (26%) reported <25% reduction. Five (7%) patients reported aggravation of seizures which led to CBD withdrawal. In addition, we observed improvement in behavior and alertness, language, communication, motor skills and sleep. Adverse reactions included somnolence, fatigue, gastrointestinal disturbances and irritability leading to withdrawal of cannabis use in 5 patients.
CBD-enriched medical cannabis is a promising treatment for intractable epilepsy.
Epileptic encephalopathies respond better to CBD-enriched medical cannabis.
Only minor and infrequent side effects were reported.
A retrospective study describing the effect of cannabidiol (CBD)-enriched medical cannabis on children with epilepsy. The cohort included 74 patients (age range 1–18 years) with intractable epilepsy resistant to >7 antiepileptic drugs. Forty-nine (66%) also failed a ketogenic diet, vagal nerve stimulator implantation, or both. They all started medical cannabis oil treatment between 2–11/2014 and were treated for at least 3 months (average 6 months). The selected formula contained CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol at a ratio of 20:1 dissolved in olive oil. The CBD dose ranged from 1 to 20 mg/kg/d. Seizure frequency was assessed by parental report during clinical visits.
The results of this multicenter study on CBD treatment for intractable epilepsy in a population of children and adolescents are highly promising. Further prospective, well-designed clinical trials using enriched CBD medical cannabis are warranted.
Only patients in the high-dose group stopped taking the drug due to side effects, a rate of 7%.
This study was led by Dr. Shimrit Uliel-Sibony, of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center’s Dana-Dwek Children’s Hospital, and presented at the American Epilepsy Society’s annual meeting in December.
The research found that the drug reduced seizures by nearly half in children with Dravet syndrome, a rare and severe form of the neurological disorder.
After 14 weeks of treatment, seizures with convulsions fell 46% in the high-dose group, 49% in the low-dose group, and 27% in the placebo group.
TUESDAY, April 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) — There’s new data supporting the use of Epidiolex — the first cannabidiol (CBD) medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — to help curb a form of epilepsy.
One specialist in epilepsy care said the new study offers findings “very similar to the previously reported data” that led to Epidiolex’ approval.
The only big difference between the new trial and that 2017 New England Journal of Medicine study is in the dosages given, explained neurologist Dr. Fred Lado.