Recent research has shown that medical cannabis can be effective for children with epilepsy. Researchers in the United Kingdom have treated ten children with epilepsy using whole-plant medicinal cannabis. These children had not responded to conventional treatments. The researchers have called for further research and exploration of the therapeutic benefits of whole-plant cannabis.
There is a growing body of evidence indicating that cannabinoids from indica marijuana seeds harvests are helpful in the treatment of pediatric epilepsy. However, the effectiveness of cannabis-derived medications is still under debate. While research in adults is limited, studies in pediatric populations are growing rapidly. Nevertheless, the American Academy of Pediatrics still does not endorse the use of marijuana for pediatric epilepsy. It has expressed concerns about the effect of cannabis and cannabinoids on the developing brain.
Researchers have also discovered that the pharmacological properties of cannabidiol (CBD) have therapeutic value in treating children with refractory seizures. Epidiolex, a cannabis extract, has been approved by the FDA to treat pediatric epilepsy.
CBD-enriched cannabis preparations have shown promising results in children with epilepsy, according to a recent study. The study involved 90 children with epilepsy, aged between one and 17 years. The participants were followed by clinic staff and parents for a period of 12 months. Patients were offered the CBD-enriched cannabis oil after they had failed to respond to conventional drugs. Compared to the control group, children receiving the CBD-enriched cannabis oil had fewer seizures and had lower seizure frequency.
The CBD-enriched cannabis preparations were analyzed in two reports. The first reported results from 19 parents of children with epilepsy, and it found significant reduction in seizure frequency. Two children experienced complete seizure freedom. A second study evaluated the effect of CBD-enriched cannabis preparations on 75 patients. It found that 33 percent of patients had a reduction of at least 50% in their frequency and control of seizures. However, the response rate varied according to epilepsy syndrome. For instance, patients with Dravet syndrome had a response rate of 23%, while patients with Doose syndrome had a response rate of zero.
Lennox-Gastaut syndrome is a disorder characterized by tonic and atonic seizures. A typical tonic seizure is characterized by increased muscle tone and stiffness, followed by a brief period of unresponsiveness. These episodes usually last for just a few seconds. Children with this condition can develop a variety of problems. The seizures may also cause the affected children to extend their arms over their heads and have brief loss of consciousness.
Diagnosis of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome is typically based on a comprehensive neurological and clinical evaluation. These evaluations may include advanced imaging techniques, including electroencephalography (EEG), which records brain electrical impulses. MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, provides three-dimensional images of the brain. Patients with epilepsy may also undergo gene panels to determine whether they carry a gene that causes seizures.
There are numerous reports about the benefits and side effects of medical cannabis for children with epilepsies. One study in particular, published by the U.S. Department of Medical Services, analyzed the effects of marijuana on children with epilepsy. The study population included parents and children who had epilepsy.
The study’s results showed that whole plant medical cannabis was effective in reducing seizure frequency in children with severe epilepsies. Moreover, caregivers reported significant improvements in cognitive, behavioral, and psychological faculties of the children. As the study showed, consuming medical marijuana regularly was associated with a reduction in the frequency of seizures by up to 86% among all participants.
However, this benefit was not felt by all children who were affected by epilepsy. It is not clear whether CBD and tetrahydrocannabinols could be helpful in treating children with epilepsy. However, some studies have found that CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol may be effective for some children.
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