New research finds cannabis decreases frequency of seizures in children

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Using medical cannabis to treat epileptic seizures in children is not a new discovery, but scientists in the United Kingdom recently studied 10 children with resistant epilepsy and found the plant reduces seizure frequency by 86 percent.

Published in BMJ Paediatrics, the study, led by David Nutt, DM, FRCP, FRCPsych, FSB, FMedSci, professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, reported the findings of a case-series of 10 children, all under the age of 18,  suffering with intractable epilepsies in the U.K. to determine the feasibility for using whole-plant cannabis medicine for treatment.

Participants were treated with a range of whole-plant medicine cannabis oils and dosing was determined by clinicians. According to the study, a combination of both THC and CBD from whole plant extracts were found to be superior to CBD alone in children suffering from various forms of epilepsy.

The study was conducted through collecting clinical data from caretakers and clinicians. There were no limitations on diagnosis, sex, or ethnic origin for the participants, who were recruited by two charity groups that support children who are using medical cannabis to treat their epilepsies.

The primary goal of the study was to measure monthly seizure frequency. Researchers found that seizure frequency across all 10 participants decreased by 86 percent with no adverse effects. In addition, participants’ use of antiepileptic drugs was reduced from an average of seven to one following the medical cannabis treatment.  

According to researchers, parents and caretakers reported significant improvements in sleep, eating, behavior, and cognition following the cannabis treatment.