Case Series: Whole-Plant Cannabis Extracts Effective in Pediatric Patients with Intractable Epilepsy

London, United Kingdom: The use of whole-plant cannabis extracts of varying potencies is effective in reducing seizure frequency in pediatric patients with intractable epilepsy, according to a case series published in the journal BMJ Paediatrics Open

A team of British researchers assessed seizure frequency data on 10 children, including two participants who had failed to respond to treatment with Epidiolex. Epidiolex, which contains plant-derived CBD, is approved in both the United Kingdom and in America as a prescription treatment for rare forms of childhood epilepsy.

Study participants were treated with a variety of whole-plant medical cannabis oils, including those dominant in THC and in CBD. Individual dosing regimens were determined by the children’s clinicians.

Researchers reported: “Seizure frequency across all ten participants reduced by 86 percent with no significant adverse events. Participants reduced use of antiepileptic drugs from an average of seven to one following treatment with medical cannabis.”

They concluded: “This study shows the effectiveness of whole-plant medical cannabis in a group of patients suffering with severe intractable childhood-onset epilepsies. The reduction in monthly seizure frequency in our group demonstrates the feasibility for this medication in such patients. … Moreover, our data suggest that whole-plant medical cannabis products are superior to isolated CBD products in the patients examined. … We believe that our data on whole-plant medical cannabis in childhood-onset severe treatment-resistant epilepsy, provides evidence to support its introduction into the NHS [National Health Service] within current NICE [National Institute for Clinical and Healthcare Excellence] prescribing guidelines.”

Full text of the study, “Medical cannabis for severe treatment-resistant epilepsy in children: A case series of 10 patients,” appears in BMJ Paediatrics Open. Additional information on cannabis and epilepsy is available from NORML.