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Cannabis to treat epilepsy?

Wednesday December 15th 2021

Whole-plant medical cannabis may be effective at reducing epileptic seizures in children, according to a new analysis published today.

A team including Professor David Nutt of the Department of Brain Sciences, Imperial College London, UK, report on a study of ten children with "intractable epilepsies".

In *BMJ Paediatrics Open* they retrospectively outline these case studies, identified via patient representative groups for children using medical cannabis. They used a range of whole-plant medical cannabis oils at various doses.

Following treatment, seizure frequency fell by 86% with no significant adverse events, the authors state. Use of antiepileptic drugs reduced "from an average of seven to one following treatment with medical cannabis", they add.

The treatment cost an average of £874 per month for private prescriptions.

"This study establishes the feasibility of whole-plant medical cannabis as an effective and well-tolerated medicine for reducing seizure frequency in children suffering with intractable epilepsies," the authors write.

"These findings justify the potential value of further research into the reported therapeutic benefit of whole-plant medicinal cannabis products."

The authors believe that these case studies are valid sources of evidence, "particularly where it’s difficult to carry out clinical trials - in children, for example," and should be accepted by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which provides guidance on which treatments and therapies the NHS should adopt.

Zafar, R. et al. Medical cannabis for severe treatment resistant epilepsy in children: a case series of 10 patients. *BMJ Paediatrics Open* 15 December 2021 doi: 10.1136/bmjpo-2021-001234

[abstract]

Tags: Alternative Therapy | Brain & Neurology | Child Health | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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