Cannabis oil could be an effective remedy for children with drug-resistant epilepsy, a new report has found. The government ruled last month that cannabidiol could be used legally from the Autumn for medicinal purposes following several high-profile cases, including that of young epilepsy sufferers Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell, whose conditions appeared to be helped by cannabis oil. The parents of the boys, who have rare forms of epilepsy, say it controls their seizures. Study of the science Now, researchers have reviewed a series of studies into the safety and effectiveness of cannabidiol in children and cautiously recommend it for those who are resistant to existing drugs to halt seizures. “One could cautiously construe that cannabidiol has modest efficacy and is appropriate for children with severe epilepsy with due attention to important adverse effects,” said co-author Professor Ingrid Scheffer, of University of Melbourne. The review notes that little is known about the potential adverse side effects of cannabidiol on brain development and behaviour. It also cautions that long term safety remains a question and that rarer short term effects may emerge after more research. “One could cautiously construe that cannabidiol has modest efficacy,” Ingrid Scheffer “Cannabidiol is a medicine, not a miracle and should be managed as such,” said Prof Schefffer. The review noted that “adult epilepsy data is scarce” and pointed to a study which found cannabis oil “failed to show a significant reduction in median seizure frequency”.
The study is published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.