Going forward, the researchers plan to collect and analyze more data from children with epilepsy who are using medical cannabis.
“I’d imagine that any concerns about the use of THC in a pediatric population would be at least in part alleviated by the drop of anti-epileptic drugs, many of which have side effects,” said Grinspoon, who has no ties to the new study. “It is not difficult to understand why there is such a determined parents’ movement in support of access to cannabinoids for pediatric epilepsy.”
Parents and caregivers were asked how their children fared via phone or video conference calls.
Exactly how cannabis may reduce seizures isn’t fully understood yet, but there is plenty of anecdotal and real-world evidence suggesting that it does, Zafar said.
“All parents reported that the whole-plant products were well-tolerated and the children showed improvements in their mood, behavior, eating and sleeping as well as substantial improvements in their cognitive [mental] abilities,” said study author Rayyan Zafar. He is a fellow at the Centre for Psychedelic Research and Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London.
Each child received around 5 mg of THC a day. None of the kids got high, and there were no serious side effects reported, the study showed.
British researchers found that medical pot slashed seizures by almost 90% and reduced use of traditional medications.
Dr. Peter Grinspoon has a different take on the findings. He’s a primary care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and a board member of the advocacy group Doctors for Cannabis Regulation.
Cannabis-based medicinal products can only be prescribed by a specialist. A GP cannot prescribe the medication but could refer you to a specialist.
There is also a wide range of other cannabis products available on the internet and in some commercial outlets such as health food outlets and from cannabis ‘dispensaries’ internationally. These products are of unknown quality and contain CBD and THC in varying quantities and proportions.
The specialist will discuss all other treatment options with you first before considering a cannabis-based product.
Children already on products containing THC
THC is the psychoactive compound in cannabis. It is responsible for the “high” people feel. The legal limit of THC content in a product, as stipulated by the Home Office, is 0.2%.
Dosing data for adults is currently very limited, although more information is expected shortly.
The BPNA states that the current best evidence for medicinal cannabis is CBD, a highly purified liquid, which has been licensed in the US by the Food and Drug Administration and is currently going through the application process for a licence from the European Medicines Agency.
Getting a prescription for medicinal cannabis
People always have the option of seeking a second opinion.
Guidance for other conditions is being drawn up the Royal College of Physicians with the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) and the Faculty of Pain Medicine of the Royal College of Anaesthetists.