Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan have been treating children with severe epilepsy with medicinal cannabis oil and it is working. But pediatric neurologist Dr. Richard Huntsman cautions it isn’t for every child with epilepsy.
“These products seem to be very effective in controlling seizures in some kids with Refractory Epilepsy. This isn’t for everybody with epilepsy so we can’t extrapolate that every child with epilepsy should be treated with these products.”
The study tested the effects of medicinal cannabis oil with 95 per cent CBD, a chemical that does not create a high, and five per cent THC, a substance which can be intoxicating in large doses. Dr. Huntsman says what makes their work really exciting is it opens up a treatment option for kids who aren’t responding to traditional medications.
Seven children between the ages of one to 10 years old participated in the first part of study. Three of the seven kids stopped having seizures by the end of the study, while the other children involved saw a significant reduction in the amount of seizures they have.
Dr. Huntsman hopes the study will help bring down the barrier of using cannabis products and the use of THC.
The pediatric neurologist says the full study should be completed within a year. More children have been recruited and those who took part in the study are still being evaluated.
One 8 year-old boy from Prince Albert who participated in the USask led study and was diagnosed with a severe form of epilepsy, has become seizure free after experiencing up to 150 seizures a day.
The study was funded by the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation.