A small study of children with treatment-resistant epilepsy found that whole-plant cannabis treatments reduced seizures by 86 percent, according to research recently published in the journal. Pediatrics BMJ Open.
In this study, researchers collected retrospective clinical data from caregivers and physicians of 10 children with intractable or drug-resistant epilepsy. All 10 patients recruited for the study did not respond to CBD products.
When I give patients a whole plant cannabis Oil containing THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids as well as compounds including terpenes and flavonoids, reduced their seizure frequency by nearly 90 percent.
“The seizure frequency in all 10 participants decreased by 86 percent with no significant adverse events,” study authors books.
The dose of hemp oil was determined by each patient’s doctor. On average, the children in the study received about 5 mg of THC per day, although they weren’t getting as high of the drug. Parents reported the findings to the researchers over the phone or via group video calls. Some adverse effects, including excessive fatigue before exact doses were established, were reported to researchers.
“All parents reported that whole plant products were well tolerated and that children showed improvement in their mood, behaviour, intake and intake as well as significant improvement in their cognition [mental] Capabilities,”. Study author Ryan Zafar, a fellow in the Center for Psychedelic Research, Psychopharmacology and Neuropsychology at Imperial College London.
The research also revealed that the use of hemp oil led to a significant reduction in the number of other medications the patients in the study were taking. At the start of the research, patients were taking multiple medications per day, a number that decreased significantly after starting treatment with cannabis oil.
“Participants reduced antiepileptic drug use from an average of seven to one after treatment with medical cannabis,” the researchers wrote.
Researchers support improved access to cannabis treatments
Although UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid (current Secretary of State for Health and Social Care) announced in 2018 that cannabis medicines would be made available to patients with “exceptional clinical needs”, few patients have so far received a prescription from the NHS. . The study authors note ‘significant financial costs of £874 per month to obtain these medicines through private prescription’ and believe the data collected on whole plant cannabis treatments provide evidence for the introduction of such medicines into the NHS under current prescription guidelines.
The authors concluded, “Such a step would be very beneficial for families, who in addition to the psychological suffering of caring for their chronically ill children, also have to cover the complex financial burden of their medication.”
Parents warned against uncontrolled cannabis treatment for seizures
Dr. Kevin Chapman, a neurologist at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and a spokesperson for the American Epilepsy Association, said more research is needed and cautioned parents against trying to treat their children with cannabis from a dispensary, saying “the buyer remains cautious.”
“There is not enough evidence to support the use of these products at this time, especially in place of prescribed epilepsy treatments,” Chapman said.
The study authors acknowledge that there are risks in treating young people with psychoactive compounds, but note that medications commonly used to treat epilepsy also have serious side effects. Peter Grinspoon, a primary care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and a board member of the Physicians for Cannabis Regulatory Group who was not involved in the study, noted that concerns about how cannabis treatments affect children should be taken into account in the context of the risks associated with other medications. commonly used.
“I would imagine that any concerns about THC use in the pediatric group would be at least partially alleviated by dropping anti-epileptic drugs, many of which have side effects,” Grinspoon told UPI.
“It is not difficult to understand why there is such a determined movement of parents to support access to cannabinoids for pediatric epilepsy,” he added.
The researchers noted that the individual dose and cannabis oil blend was tailored to each patient by their physicians and cautioned against using the drug without proper supervision.
“Medical oversight is important,” Zafar said. “We encourage parents who are interested in using these medications for these children to head to the clinics and discuss this option with their doctor.”
The research authors cited several limitations of the study, including the use of data that was retrospective and reliance on caregiver recall, although parents often keep seizure diaries as documentation of their experiences when they occur. They also noted that the study was not randomized and did not include a placebo group to compare results with.
The researchers also cited the study’s small sample size as a limitation, but noted that the results were consistent with other research. The authors called for further study of the benefits of whole cannabis plant products for epilepsy patients who suffer from seizures.
A report on the research, “Medical cannabis for treatment of severe treatment-resistant epilepsy in children: a case series of 10 patients,” was published December 14 by Pediatrics BMJ Open.
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