A study out of Imperial College London examining the use of whole plant medical cannabis extracts in severe treatment-resistant epilepsy in children has resulted in positive findings.
The use of medical cannabis in managing seizures in paediatric patients isn’t a new thing by any means – apparently it was first noted in 1843 by an Irish physician who observed tinctures stopped seizures in a febrile infant.
In more recent years, extracts have been used more extensively – and evidence is mounting of their potential effectiveness.
In this latest study, the case-series of 10 children in the UK suffering intractable epilepsies were analysed to determine the feasibility of using whole-plant cannabis medicines. The children were treated with various oils, with individual dosing determined by clinicians.
The researchers determined seizure frequency across all 10 participants reduced by 86% – and importantly, no significant adverse events were noted. Furthermore, the children reduced use of antiepileptic drugs from an average of seven to one following treatment.
“These findings justify the potential value of further research into the reported therapeutic benefit of whole-plant medicinal cannabis products,” state the researchers.
The medications involved were mainly CBD (cannabidiol) dominant extracts:
- Bedrolite (<1% THC and 9% CBD)
- Bedica (14% THC and <1% CBD)
- Celixir 20 (<1% THC and 20% CBD)
- Sweet Pink CBD (<1% THC and 10.6% CBD)
- Althea 100 (<1% THC and 10% CBD).
The patients consumed a mean (standard deviation) of 5.15 (±6.8) mg of THC a day and for CBD 171.8 (±153.3) mg of CBD daily.
“Our findings are in line with several observational and controlled interventional studies that have seen significant reductions in seizure frequency following treatment with medical cannabis,” state the researchers. “Moreover, our data suggest that whole-plant medical cannabis products are superior to isolated CBD products in the patients examined.”
There’s been much written about the “entourage effect“, which describes the concept of medical cannabis treatment efficacy not being limited to a specific cannabinoid such as THC or CBD, but multiple compounds working together.
The study has been published in BMJ Paediatrics Open and can be viewed in full here.