Parents reported significant improvement in the health and wellbeing of their children, including sleep, eating, behavior and cognition after they began taking whole-plant cannabis products.
Epileptic seizure frequency fell by an average of 86% among 10 children treated with whole-plant medicinal cannabis, reveals a case series published in the open-access journal BMJ Paediatrics Open.
None of the children had responded to other treatments, including the only cannabidiol (CBD) product licensed for their condition, reported medicalexpress.com
Prompted by parents whose children had responded well to whole plant medicinal cannabis extracts, but not to conventional anti-epileptic drugs or purified cannabidiol (CBD oil), medicinal (whole plant) cannabis was designated a prescription medicine for the treatment of severe childhood epilepsy in 2018. Whole plant cannabis includes THC, the main active ingredient of the plant associated with recreational use, CBD, and other neuroactive molecules such as terpenes.
Researchers evaluated the use of whole plant medicinal cannabis in ten children whose severe epilepsy had not responded to conventional treatment, and two of whom hadn’t responded to the only pharmaceutical grade, purified CBD oil licensed for the condition in children, Epidiolex, made by GW Pharmaceuticals. They wanted to assess and report the change in monthly seizure frequency and the impact of medicinal cannabis on changes in conventional epilepsy drug use.
All the participants were recruited from two charities representing children using medicinal cannabis to treat their severe epilepsy. The children’s average age was 6 but they ranged from 1 to 13 years.
The children had tried an average of 7 conventional epilepsy drugs. After starting to take medicinal cannabis, this fell to an average of 1 each, with 7 of the children stopping them completely. Monthly seizure frequency reduced for all 10 children by an overall average of 86%.
Full chemical analysis of the whole plant medicinal cannabis products used is ongoing, but researchers were able to assess the THC and CBD content.
Parents and caregivers reported significant improvement in the health and wellbeing of their children, including in sleep, eating, behavior and cognition after they began to take whole-plant medicinal cannabis products. Only a few minor side effects, such as tiredness, were reported.
Though this was an observational study involving a small number of participants, researchers highlighted that the new data suggest that whole-plant medicinal cannabis products are more effective than CBD products.