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Medical marijuana

Medical marijuana may help children with severe epilepsy

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Key Highlights:

  • British researchers discovered that medicinal marijuana lowered seizures by over 90% and reduced the need for standard drugs.
  • The current research involved ten children with severe epilepsy aged one to thirteen who took medicinal marijuana oils.
  • According to Chapman, it is far too early to make conclusions regarding what role, if any, medicinal marijuana can play in treating seizures in children.

Medical marijuana to treat epilepsy

Seizures can occur even if children with severe epilepsy take many drugs and follow strict diets. Research now shows that medicinal marijuana may be useful when other treatments fail.

British researchers discovered that medicinal marijuana lowered seizures by over 90% and reduced the need for standard drugs.

However, at least one outside expert warns that it is far too early for parents of children with epilepsy to visit a cannabis dispensary and experiment on their own.

“It’s still buyer beware,” said Dr. Kevin Chapman, a neurologist at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and American Epilepsy Society spokeswoman. “At this moment, there isn’t enough data to warrant utilizing these items, especially instead of prescription epilepsy medicines.”

The documented results

The current research involved ten children with severe epilepsy aged one to thirteen who took medicinal marijuana oils. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive component of marijuana, was present in the oils, as well as cannabidiol (CBD) and other possibly active components.

Through phone or video conference sessions, parents and caregivers were asked how their children did.

Parents generally said that their children performed admirably. Medical marijuana reduced monthly seizures by 86 percent in children with severe epilepsy who had not reacted to traditional treatment and in two children who had not responded to Epidiolex, a CBD-containing epileptic drug licensed by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Furthermore, after starting to use cannabis, these adolescents were able to drastically reduce the number of other medicines they took to regulate their symptoms, going from an average of seven drugs per day to roughly one per day.

Each youngster received around 5 milligrams of THC every day. According to the study, none of the children became high, and no major adverse effects were documented.

“All parents indicated that the whole-plant products were well-tolerated, and the children exhibited changes in their mood, behavior, eating, and sleeping habits, as well as significant increases in their cognitive [mental] abilities,” research author Rayyan Zafar, said.

The precise mechanism by which cannabis reduces seizures is unknown, but there is plenty of anecdotal and real-world evidence that it does, according to Zafar.

Too early to draw conclusions

According to statistics from the National Conference of State Legislatures, medicinal use of cannabis-related products is permitted in 36 states and four U.S. territories as of May 2021.

According to Chapman, it is far too early to make conclusions regarding what role, if any, medicinal marijuana can play in treating seizures in children with difficult-to-control epilepsy. He explained that the research was tiny and that the results were based exclusively on parental accounts. Furthermore, the therapy was not standardized; each kid received a different dose or combination of oils.

This is not to imply that CBD or THC products have no function in treating epileptic symptoms; rather, the jury is still out, according to Chapman. He emphasized that you should always discuss any new therapies you are interested in attempting with your child’s doctor in order to develop a game plan.

Read more: The Dilemma Of Understanding And Battling Epilepsy

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