Cannabis Oil for the Treatment of Children’s Epilepsy
Twenty kids with a rare form of epilepsy have exhibited positive responses as the frequency of their seizures drastically dropped after being exposed to cannabis oil.
The research was commissioned by The Little Rocky Project and Tilray and titled, “A prospective open‐label trial of a CBD/THC cannabis oil in dravet syndrome.” Dravet Syndrome is a genetic disorder that is often misdiagnosed. It’s said to affect 1 in 20,000-40,000 kids.
Although CBD is an active ingredient of marijuana, it’s distinct from weed because of the absence of THC or delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol. This is the psychoactive ingredient that creates the high for users. However, prior to 2018’s Farm Bill, CBD remained listed as a Schedule I controlled substance. Patients could not freely purchase CBD except in states where medical marijuana was legal.
To date, there are 31 states in the US, along with the District of Colombia, that allows the use of marijuana for medical purposes. There are also nine states that allow it for recreational use. These include Colorado, Alaska, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington State, and Washington DC.
For the study, a controlled sample of 20 kids suffering from Dravet were given an experimental product dubbed TIL-TC150 at The Hospital for Sick Children. The ratio of (cannabinoid) CBD and THC for the oil was 50:1.
Some of the kids have been suffering from more than 1,000 seizures every month, which also delays their development and learning, while significantly reducing their quality of life. Unfortunately for those with this condition, there’s no known cure.
One of participants in the research study, 16-year-old Abigail, started off with an average of eight to ten seizures every month to “less than one every two months” after taking cannabis oil, recounted her mother. As the seizures went down, her development also improved.
The result of this research is not uncommon. In fact, there are plenty of studies that established the positive response of epilepsy patients to cannabis oil. The US Federal Drugs Administration announced in June 2018 that it approved Epidiolex (cannabidiol) oral solution to specifically control the seizures for patients 2 years and older. It was the first time that the agency approved a cannabis-based medicine for epilepsy. The clinical trials revealed that the frequency of seizures for participating patients declined by an average of 54%.
However, Dr. Orrin Devinsky, NYU Comprehensive Epilepsy Center director, reported that the kids who took cannabis oil also suffered from side effects such as vomiting, fever, and fatigue, and that these reactions range from mild to moderate. The benefits, however, far outweigh the disadvantages as the children have reclaimed their lives after the frequency of their debilitating seizures have been drastically decreased. Also, the negative side effects also went down as they developed more tolerance to the CBD.
Meanwhile, more ongoing research studies are being conducted to determine the other medical uses of cannabis oil. It’s already been known to slow down the onset of Alzheimer’s, relieve pain, regulate appetite, encourage sleep, stabilize tremors, and treat post-traumatic stress syndrome.