If there’s one undisputed therapeutic potential of cannabidiol (CBD), it is in the treatment of intractable childhood seizures. Even the FDA, with all its resistance to medical cannabis, has approved a CBD-based drug (Epidiolex) for this indication. According to a recently published UK study, pure CBD has shown poorer results compared to a combination of CBD/THC when it comes to controlling epileptic seizures in children. Could we have been wrong all along?
Let’s take a look at the facts of this study. A group of British researchers conducted a case series and analyzed data on children aged 18 and younger with treatment-resistant epilepsy (TRE) who were receiving medical cannabis treatment (UK Medical Cannabis Registry). The patients were started on CBD isolate treatment and progressed to broad spectrum CBD and later a combination of CBD and THC. A total of 19 patients received CBD isolate treatment only, while 17 patients received broad spectrum and CBD/THC combinations. The total number of children analyzed was 36.
The study was conducted for a period of up to six months. The following statistics relate to the reduction in seizure frequency:
- Over 65% of all the patients in the study
- 94% of patients receiving CBD/THC combinations
- 31% of patients receiving pure CBD isolates
- 17% of patients receiving broad spectrum CBD
Adverse events were reported but they were mild, showing that the cannabis compounds were well tolerated in the short term.
For a long time, THC has been excluded from the “childhood epilepsy” conversation. While the long term effects of THC on the developing brain are a hot issue, this study is enough justification for a more comprehensive open-label case series.