CBD Oil For Children’s Seizures

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This resource for primary care providers of children with special health care needs discusses current evidence for treatment of pediatric neurologic Cannabis Oil and Children with Epilepsy I know there was a great deal of upset, especially amongst ‘epilepsy parents’, following comments made in an ABC Brisbane television news item on the

CBD for Neurologic Conditions in Children

This resource for primary care providers of children with special health care needs discusses current evidence for treatment of pediatric neurologic conditions with FDA-approved and non-FDA approved cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical constituent of the cannabis plant.

In 2018, the FDA approved Epidiolex, a pharmaceutical grade CBD product for 2 rare types of pediatric epilepsy. Medical home clinicians need to understand the safety and side effects of Epidiolex as well as how to address families’ questions and popular beliefs about non-FDA-approved CBD and other marijuana-derived products.

Use of CBD products in children with neurologic conditions other than in specific epilepsy syndromes is not supported by quality evidence. Even when used in epilepsy syndromes, the evidence behind CBD products remains modest. More high-quality, randomized control trials are needed to investigate CBD for treatment of refractory epilepsy and understand the long-term consequences of use of CBD and other cannabis preparations. With the recent FDA approval and re-scheduling of Epidiolex, it is expected that the research results will rapidly flourish.

Other Names

  • Cannabidiol
  • Cannabinoids
  • CBD oil
  • Hemp extract
  • Hemp oil

Low-THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) cannabis plants are often referred to as “hemp,” while those containing high-THC concentrations are generally called “marijuana.” Under the 2014 Farm Bill, which allows study of industrial hemp products containing

Pearls & Alerts

Only 1 form of CBD approved by the FDA
Epidiolex, a pharmaceutical-grade CBD medication, was approved in 2018 for treatment of refractory epilepsy in children with Dravet syndrome or Lennox-Gaustaut syndrome. [Drug: 2018] CBD medication in FDA-approved formulations was later changed from Schedule I to Schedule V, though Epidiolex is the only one available currently.

Non-regulated CBD products may have harmful or unknown ingredients
Families who give children CBD products other than Epidiolex should be aware that non-pharmaceutical grade products vary in the amount of CBD they contain, if any, and they may not contain the amount of CBD that the label states. They may also contain up to 80 other cannabinoids including THC, unlisted ingredients, and contaminants. [Bonn-Miller: 2017]

Discontinuation anti-epileptic medications can cause death
Increased seizures, status epilepticus, and death have occurred in children taking CBD products after parents have changed or stopped other medications against medical advice or without guidance of a physician. Anti-epileptic medications should not be stopped or titrated after starting Epidiolex or unregulated CBD products unless under the direction of the prescribing physician.

Avoid giving dosing advice to families who use CBD products not approved by the FDA
There is no consensus on recommended dosing for unregulated CBD products in children. In reported studies and case reports, dosing has widely varied, often even within studies, ranging from 1-50 mg/kg/day. [Wong: 2017] Counseling about use of these products is similar to counseling about other unregulated complementary and alternative treatments.

Evidence for Therapeutic Value of CBD

Evidence for Cannabinoids and Childhood Epilepsy
Literature about cannabinoids and childhood epilepsy has shown that pure CBD has the more evidence for efficacy than other preparations and its use significantly improved seizure control for patients in the majority of the few studies that were conducted. [Wong: 2017] [Devinsky: 2014]

Devinsky O, Patel AD, Cross JH, Villanueva V, Wirrell EC, Privitera M, Greenwood SM, Roberts C, Checketts D, VanLandingham KE, Zuberi SM.
Effect of Cannabidiol on Drop Seizures in the Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome.
N Engl J Med. 2018;378(20):1888-1897. PubMed abstract

Devinsky O, Marsh E, Friedman D, Thiele E, Laux L, Sullivan J, Miller I, Flamini R, Wilfong A, Filloux F, Wong M, Tilton N, Bruno P, Bluvstein J, Hedlund J, Kamens R, Maclean J, Nangia S, Singhal NS, Wilson CA, Patel A, Cilio MR.
Cannabidiol in patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy: an open-label interventional trial.
Lancet Neurol. 2016;15(3):270-8. PubMed abstract

Thiele EA, Marsh ED, French JA, Mazurkiewicz-Beldzinska M, Benbadis SR, Joshi C, Lyons PD, Taylor A, Roberts C, Sommerville K.
Cannabidiol in patients with seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (GWPCARE4): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 trial.
Lancet. 2018;391(10125):1085-1096. PubMed abstract

Devinsky O, Cross JH, Laux L, Marsh E, Miller I, Nabbout R, Scheffer IE, Thiele EA, Wright S.
Trial of Cannabidiol for Drug-Resistant Seizures in the Dravet Syndrome.
N Engl J Med. 2017;376(21):2011-2020. PubMed abstract

These studies contributed to the FDA’s decision to approve Epidiolex (pharmaceutical grade pure CBD) as an evidence-based treatment for treatment-resistant epilepsy due to Dravet or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Ongoing clinical trials can be found at ClinicalTrials.gov.

Remaining studies have lacked appropriate controls and large sample sizes, and they are subject to significant bias, especially given that many rely on parental reports of improved seizure control and quality of life. For example, parents who relocate to Colorado to obtain legal cannabis products for their child report a greater perceived benefit of oral cannabis extracts compared to parents already living in the state. [Treat: 2017] Some studies have also demonstrated high termination of CBD use during studies; up to 71% suggest minimal efficacy, high side-effect profile, or other complicating factors including cost, access, and administration. [Treat: 2017] The use of “artisanal” non-purified and non-pharmaceutical grade preparations of CBD or other marijuana products has even more mixed evidence regarding the treatment of epilepsy. The overwhelming consensus in the literature is that more high-quality, randomized control trials are needed to investigate CBD products for treatment of refractory epilepsy, ideally with regulated, pharmaceutical grade products.

Cannabinoids and Other Neurologic Disorders
It has been suggested that cannabis derivatives could be of potential therapeutic use for other neurologic conditions including spasticity, movement disorders, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain syndromes, autism, and psychiatric disorders. The evidence for treatment of these disorders with cannabis products is even more sparse than the evidence for the treatment of epilepsy with cannabis products. There is only low-quality evidence (retrospective reviews and case reports) supportive of efficacy for treatment of spasticity in children. [Koppel: 2014] [Wong: 2017] Although new research is still emerging, current literature does not support the use of cannabis products in the treatment of other neurologic conditions in children. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) opposes the use of medical cannabis outside of FDA-approved pharmaceutical products given the paucity of literature on the topic. [Ammerman: 2015] They do, however, recommend higher-quality research in the field.

Epidiolex

Epidiolex, which consists of purified cannabidiol, was approved by the FDA in 2018 for treatment of refractory seizures in children ≥2 years old with Dravet syndrome or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. It is the first cannabis-derived medication to gain approval from the FDA. (See FDA Approval for Epidiolex (FDA) for press release.)

Prescribing

Like other controlled substances, a physician with a current DEA license may prescribe Epidiolex for children with Dravet or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. It is unknown whether off-label use of Epidiolex to treat other types of refractory epilepsy or neurologic conditions will be covered by insurance or be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Dosing

Dosing guidelines are available on the manufacturer’s website at Epidiolex: Recommended Dosage (Greenwich Biosciences); however, primary care clinicians are strongly advised to consult with a pediatric neurologist, particularly an epileptologist, rather than starting this medication independently.

Safety and Side Effects

Although previous research suggested that CBD is relatively safe with no significant side effects or adverse events associated with use [Devinsky: 2014], more recent pharmaceutical research has demonstrated side effects and safety considerations that may interfere with some patients’ tolerance or use of this medication.

The most common side effects of Epidiolex in clinical trials have been elevated liver enzymes, decreased appetite, diarrhea, sleepiness, fatigue, malaise, asthenia, insomnia or poor sleep quality, infections, and rashes. In trials of Epidiolex in children, the most reported side effects, including somnolence, diarrhea, fatigue, and appetite suppression [Filloux: 2015], were not significant enough to stop administration for most families. As is true for essentially all drugs that treat epilepsy, there is increased risk for suicidal thoughts and behavior.

Monitoring of transaminase and bilirubin levels should be obtained prior to starting treatment, at 1, 3, and 6 months after initiation of treatment, and periodically after that particularly if the patient also takes valproate, clobazam, or other medications that affect the liver. Other medications metabolized through the cytochrome P450 system may have altered concentrations when taken with CBD. [Filloux: 2015] This is illustrated by a study showing that families of children taking clobazam concurrently with CBD products all reported sedation as the main side effect. [Porcari: 2018] The potential changes in metabolism of other anti-epileptic medications are concerning and require close monitoring by a clinician aware of potential interactions. Counsel families to avoid abrupt discontinuation because of the risk of increased seizure frequency and status epilepticus. Epidiolex: Important Considerations (Greenwich Biosciences) lists further efficacy and safety information from the drug manufacturer’s website.

Other Cannabis-Derived Pharmaceutical Medications

Sativex, which contains a 50:50 ratio of THC:CBD, was developed in the early 2000s for treatment of spasms related to multiple sclerosis in adult patients. It has also been used as adjunctive analgesia in advanced stage cancer. The drug is marketed in many countries, but it is not available in the United States. [Wong: 2017]

Synthetic cannabinoids, including dronabinol (Marinol, Syndros), are legally prescribed in the US. Dronabinol is a synthetic delta-9-THC that has received FDA approval for treatment of anorexia in AIDS patients and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in both adults and children. It is a schedule III drug.

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Nabilone (Casamet) has a similar structure to THC and is also used for treatment of refractory nausea and vomiting in children and adults receiving chemotherapy. [Wong: 2017] Physicians are able to prescribe this medication because it is a Schedule II drug.

Unregulated CBD and “Medical Marijuana” Products

Legality

The 1970 US Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act categorized cannabis as a Schedule I drug, which makes possession and use of the drug and its derivatives illegal. [Mead: 2017] Schedule I drugs are defined as those with high abuse potential and no accepted medical use per the federal government. Only Epidiolex has been rescheduled to Schedule V; other forms of CBD are still illegal to prescribe. Legislation has been introduced to the US Congress to change marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II drug; however, under federal law, it remains illegal for physicians to prescribe marijuana to their patients.

Safety

Increase in Seizures
Seizures have been noted in children with accidental cannabis overdoses, which brings up the concerning possibility that cannabis products could worsen symptoms in some children with epilepsy. [Wong: 2017] Studies of “hemp oil” preparations obtained in Colorado have noted significant adverse effects of seizure increase, status epilepticus, and even death. [Filloux: 2015] If families perceive CBD products to be effective, they might decrease or stop other anti-epileptics without consulting a physician, which could potentially be life-threatening.

Emotional and Cognitive Function
With the evidence behind medicinal cannabis products lacking, it is helpful to evaluate safety considerations in states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use. In Colorado, legalization has led to a significant increase in hospital admissions and emergency room visits for acute THC intoxication. [Monte: 2015] Recreational marijuana use in adolescents has been associated with lower than expected IQs, decreased cognitive function, depression, suicidality, symptoms of psychosis, and poor school performance. [Rosenberg: 2015] Currently, THC is thought to be responsible for more significant and neurotoxic side effects than CBC; CBD may actually protect from some of these. Some research supports the “entourage effect,” which suggests that phytocannabinoids work synergistically with each other and purifying may inhibit the full effect. [Rosenberg: 2015] Because unregulated products may contain THC or other psychoactive cannabinoids or chemicals, it is difficult to predict the effect or safety for pediatric use.

Synaptic Plasticity
Significant development of the brain and endocannabinoid system occurs during childhood and adolescence. Because of the known neuromodulatory effects of cannabinoids, use of cannabis products may negatively alter synaptic plasticity when used during critical times of development. This especially raises concerns for developmentally vulnerable populations, such as children with epilepsy and other neurologic conditions. Long-term effects of cannabis products in children and adolescents are unknown.

Inability to Monitor for Safety
Evaluation and safety monitoring of cannabis use are difficult because the content of the formulations that parents give their children is often unknown. For example, some preparations may have much higher amounts of THC and/or pesticides than pharmaceutical-grade medications. Concentrations of CBD may vary from batch to batch. One recent study found that less than 1/3 of various commercially available CBD products were labeled with correct concentrations. [Bonn-Miller: 2017] Reliable sources for acquisition of non-pharmaceutical grade CBD products are difficult to identify.

Access During Hospitalization
Even if a CBD product appears to be an effective adjunct treatment for a child’s seizures at home, some hospital and institutional policies prohibit its use to avoid exposing their staff and credentialing to undue risk. [Filloux: 2015] In turn, this puts children currently using CBD products at risk of potential worsening of seizures while hospitalized. As long as marijuana is a Schedule I substance, families and physicians will face complex decisions about the ethical and legal issues surrounding the use of non-FDA approved CBD products in children with refractory epilepsy.

Discussing CBD with Families

As far back as 2900 BC, cannabis has been used to treat seizures and other neurologic conditions. In recent years, however, popularized reports of dramatic effects and anecdotal evidence of efficacy have caught the attention of media outlets, pharmaceutical companies, entrepreneurs, patients, physicians, and policymakers alike. In particular, there has been much media coverage of children with Dravet syndrome, a devastating epilepsy syndrome, who have had remarkable decreases in seizure frequency and improvements in cognitive function after taking CBD. [Maa: 2014]

  • Cannabis contains many chemicals, including CBD and THC. CBD is the substance felt to be helpful in epilepsy. THC is thought of as psychoactive and responsible for the “high” people experience with marijuana.
  • Preparations of CBD or “hemp” vary widely in the amounts of THC and CBD that they contain.
  • Even when products have CBD and THC concentrations on the label, they are often inaccurate.
  • There is no consensus on dosing of CBD for the treatment of epilepsy.
  • Depending on how much THC or CBD a child is actually receiving, common side effects can include diarrhea, somnolence, irritability, and changes in appetite.
  • CBD may affect the concentrations of other anti-epileptic medications in their child’s body. This could lead to possible toxicities and over-sedation.
  • Increased seizures, status epilepticus, and death have occurred in children taking CBD after families have chosen to stop their child’s other epilepsy medications without the guidance of a doctor. It is essential that families discuss any changes to anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) with the prescribing physician.

Resources

Information & Support

Neurophysiology of Cannabinoids
A brief description of the complex nature of cannabinoids and the difficulties in targeting the correct receptors and desired effects; Medical Home Portal.

For Professionals

FDA and Marijuana: Questions and Answers (FDA)
Answers to frequently asked questions about the FDA stance on cannabis-derived therapeutics and their role in ongoing research; US Food and Drug Administration.

State Medical Marijuana Laws (NCSL)
State and federal laws about medical marijuana; National Conference of State Legislatures.

Practice Guidelines

Ryan SA, Ammerman SD.
Counseling Parents and Teens About Marijuana Use in the Era of Legalization of Marijuana.
Pediatrics. 2017;139(3). PubMed abstract / Full Text
This clinical report offers guidance to the practicing pediatrician based on existing evidence and expert opinion/consensus of the American Academy of Pediatrics regarding anticipatory guidance and counseling to teenagers and their parents about marijuana and its use.

Patient Education

CBD Use in Children—Miracle, Myth, or Mystery?
A JAMA Pediatrics Patient Page about cannabinoids or cannabis products for children with various health conditions.

Helpful Articles

Gaston TE, Bebin EM, Cutter GR, Liu Y, Szaflarski JP.
Interactions between cannabidiol and commonly used antiepileptic drugs.
Epilepsia. 2017;58(9):1586-1592. PubMed abstract

Wong SS, Wilens TE.
Medical Cannabinoids in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review.
Pediatrics. 2017;140(5). PubMed abstract
Systematic review to identify the evidence base of cannabinoids as a medical treatment in children and adolescents.

Koppel BS, Brust JC, Fife T, Bronstein J, Youssof S, Gronseth G, Gloss D.
Systematic review: efficacy and safety of medical marijuana in selected neurologic disorders: report of the Guideline Development Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology.
Neurology. 2014;82(17):1556-63. PubMed abstract / Full Text
A systematic review of medical marijuana (1948-November 2013) to address treatment of symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), epilepsy, and movement disorders.

Gloss D, Vickrey B.
Cannabinoids for epilepsy.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014(3):CD009270. PubMed abstract
Cochrane systematic review to assess the efficacy and safety of cannabinoids when used as monotherapy or add-on treatment for people with epilepsy

Ammerman S, Ryan S, Adelman WP.
The impact of marijuana policies on youth: clinical, research, and legal update.
Pediatrics. 2015;135(3):e769-85. PubMed abstract
AAP Technical Report on the epidemiology of marijuana use, definitions and biology of marijuana compounds, side effects, and effects of use on adolescent brain development. Legal and safety issues concerning medical marijuana specifically are also addressed, including effects on youth of criminal penalties for marijuana use and possession.

Authors & Reviewers

Current Authors and Reviewers:

Authors: Jennifer Goldman, MD, MRP, FAAP
Melissa Wright, MD
Contributing Author: Carey A. Wilson, MD
Senior Author: Francis M. Filloux, MD
Reviewer: Lynne M. Kerr, MD, PhD
2019: first version: Francis M. Filloux, MD R

Page Bibliography

Ammerman S, Ryan S, Adelman WP.
The impact of marijuana policies on youth: clinical, research, and legal update.
Pediatrics. 2015;135(3):e769-85. PubMed abstract
AAP Technical Report on the epidemiology of marijuana use, definitions and biology of marijuana compounds, side effects, and effects of use on adolescent brain development. Legal and safety issues concerning medical marijuana specifically are also addressed, including effects on youth of criminal penalties for marijuana use and possession.

Bonn-Miller MO, Loflin MJE, Thomas BF, Marcu JP, Hyke T, Vandrey R.
Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online.
JAMA. 2017;318(17):1708-1709. PubMed abstract / Full Text

Devinsky O, Cilio MR, Cross H, Fernandez-Ruiz J, French J, Hill C, Katz R, Di Marzo V, Jutras-Aswad D, Notcutt WG, Martinez-Orgado J, Robson PJ, Rohrback BG, Thiele E, Whalley B, Friedman D.
Cannabidiol: pharmacology and potential therapeutic role in epilepsy and other neuropsychiatric disorders.
Epilepsia. 2014;55(6):791-802. PubMed abstract / Full Text

Devinsky O, Cross JH, Laux L, Marsh E, Miller I, Nabbout R, Scheffer IE, Thiele EA, Wright S.
Trial of Cannabidiol for Drug-Resistant Seizures in the Dravet Syndrome.
N Engl J Med. 2017;376(21):2011-2020. PubMed abstract

Devinsky O, Marsh E, Friedman D, Thiele E, Laux L, Sullivan J, Miller I, Flamini R, Wilfong A, Filloux F, Wong M, Tilton N, Bruno P, Bluvstein J, Hedlund J, Kamens R, Maclean J, Nangia S, Singhal NS, Wilson CA, Patel A, Cilio MR.
Cannabidiol in patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy: an open-label interventional trial.
Lancet Neurol. 2016;15(3):270-8. PubMed abstract

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Devinsky O, Patel AD, Cross JH, Villanueva V, Wirrell EC, Privitera M, Greenwood SM, Roberts C, Checketts D, VanLandingham KE, Zuberi SM.
Effect of Cannabidiol on Drop Seizures in the Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome.
N Engl J Med. 2018;378(20):1888-1897. PubMed abstract

Drug Enforcement Administration.
Epidiolex placed in schedule V of Controlled Substance Act.
US Department of Justice; (2018) https://www.dea.gov/press-releases/2018/09/27/fda-approved-drug-epidio. . September 27, 2018 Press Release. Accessed on 12/20/2018.

Filloux FM.
Cannabinoids for pediatric epilepsy? Up in smoke or real science?.
Transl Pediatr. 2015;4(4):271-82. PubMed abstract / Full Text

Koppel BS, Brust JC, Fife T, Bronstein J, Youssof S, Gronseth G, Gloss D.
Systematic review: efficacy and safety of medical marijuana in selected neurologic disorders: report of the Guideline Development Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology.
Neurology. 2014;82(17):1556-63. PubMed abstract / Full Text
A systematic review of medical marijuana (1948-November 2013) to address treatment of symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), epilepsy, and movement disorders.

Maa E, Figi P.
The case for medical marijuana in epilepsy.
Epilepsia. 2014;55(6):783-6. PubMed abstract

Mead A.
The legal status of cannabis (marijuana) and cannabidiol (CBD) under U.S. law.
Epilepsy Behav. 2017;70(Pt B):288-291. PubMed abstract

Monte AA, Zane RD, Heard KJ.
The implications of marijuana legalization in Colorado.
JAMA. 2015;313(3):241-2. PubMed abstract / Full Text

Porcari GS, Fu C, Doll ED, Carter EG, Carson RP.
Efficacy of artisanal preparations of cannabidiol for the treatment of epilepsy: Practical experiences in a tertiary medical center.
Epilepsy Behav. 2018;80:240-246. PubMed abstract

Rosenberg EC, Tsien RW, Whalley BJ, Devinsky O.
Cannabinoids and Epilepsy.
Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(4):747-68. PubMed abstract / Full Text
This provides a review of current understanding of the endocannabinoid system, the pro- and anticonvulsive effects of cannabinoids [e.g., Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol (CBD)], and evidence from pre-clinical and clinical trials of cannabinoids in epilepsy.

Thiele EA, Marsh ED, French JA, Mazurkiewicz-Beldzinska M, Benbadis SR, Joshi C, Lyons PD, Taylor A, Roberts C, Sommerville K.
Cannabidiol in patients with seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (GWPCARE4): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 trial.
Lancet. 2018;391(10125):1085-1096. PubMed abstract

Treat L, Chapman KE, Colborn KL, Knupp KG.
Duration of use of oral cannabis extract in a cohort of pediatric epilepsy patients.
Epilepsia. 2017;58(1):123-127. PubMed abstract

Wong SS, Wilens TE.
Medical Cannabinoids in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review.
Pediatrics. 2017;140(5). PubMed abstract
Systematic review to identify the evidence base of cannabinoids as a medical treatment in children and adolescents.

Cannabis Oil and Children with Epilepsy

I know there was a great deal of upset, especially amongst ‘epilepsy parents’, following comments made in an ABC Brisbane television news item on the evening of 19 September. The segment covered the story of a father who is pleading with the Queensland Government to allow his 8 year old daughter, who has a regressive neurological disorder that causes chronic multiple seizures, access to medicinal cannabis oil while she is in hospital. Essentially a comment made on behalf of the medical sector caused the upset: “children in particular have presented in hospitals with comas and died from cannabis oil”. Epilepsy Action has done some homework on this topic and I share with you now the body of the letter that I have written to the Australian Medical Association.

“I refer to a news article on ABC television on the evening of 19 September 2016 about medicinal cannabis and children with epilepsy, in particular the Peek family. Comments made by you in this interview have caused anger, concern and in some cases fear within the epilepsy community. I write this letter in the hope that it serves to explain the reasons for this and to seek your assistance in ameliorating the situation.

In my role as CEO and Managing Director of Epilepsy Action Australia I have had significant contact with many families faced with difficult decisions in managing their child’s unrelenting and debilitating seizures as a result of epilepsy. In often dire circumstances, some parents in Australia have been willing to try anything to help reduce the severity and frequency of their child’s seizures and improve their quality of life. Parents, who hoped that their child might respond to cannabis oil, have desperately sought access to any source of ‘medicinal cannabis’ oil or tincture they could find, with the uncomfortable knowledge that it was considered an illicit drug in Australia.

Having presented at the Senate Inquiry into the Regulator of Medicinal Cannabis Bill 2014, sitting on the Steering Committee for the NSW Clinical Trials, acting as a co-investigator in the PELICAN project (NSW and QLD) and serving on the Board of the Lambert Initiative at Sydney University, I fully support legal and medical pathways undertaken to provide medically prescribed, quality controlled medicinal cannabis to people with epilepsy, however quality research and changes to existing laws takes time. Sadly, time unfortunately is not something that many of these children have.

We understand the legal issue: While medicinal cannabis (or marijuana) use was lawful in Australia until the 1950s, cannabis cultivation and use is now illegal in all Australian jurisdictions for any purpose, even though the international drug treaties to which we are party permit the medical and scientific use of drugs whose recreational use is prohibited. Obviously Australians benefit from the medical use of drugs such as morphine, ketamine, cocaine and amphetamine, despite their recreational use being prohibited.

We also understand that human clinical trials for CBD and epilepsy are in early phases, and that while CBD has been examined as a potential anti-epileptic in humans, these early studies have not been followed up with larger and more convincing clinical trials over a longer period.

On the other hand, we understand from social media and other sources that a number of consumers (parents) in Australia are gaining access to medicinal cannabis to treat seizures. Given the catastrophic and debilitating nature of their children’s epilepsy conditions it is not difficult to understand their desperation. These parents report immense improvement in the severity and frequency of their children’s seizures and overall quality of life. However EAA is of course concerned that these consumers may be using home-grown and black market cannabis of uncertain medicinal quality, and these desperate parents are breaking the law.

We understand that there are inherent risks in use of unregulated cannabinoid based products however if there was legal laboratory testing available, the risks of potential contaminates would be avoided and parents would be aware of the cannabinoid ratios and terpene profiles of the product they are using. This would indeed provide sensible and effective medium term risk mitigation.

I want to refer specifically to your comments in the television interview that “children in particular have presented in hospitals with comas and died from cannabis oil”. If there had been a child death in Australia related to cannabinoid intoxication a Coroner’s inquest would have been required to investigate the death. We cannot find any such listing.

I understand that you spoke yesterday to a medicinal cannabis advocate and that you stated that your information came from Colorado. From our research, I must assume that your comments in fact relate to the accidental ingestion of marijuana edibles (usually owned by the parent or other adult) rather than the children being administered medicinal cannabis oil for specific health conditions. This is more an issue of labelling, child proof packaging and adults being responsible in storing their product.

I believe it would be appropriate, and indeed highly appreciated by parents in the epilepsy community, if you would retract the statement made, or at least provide further detail and accurate context for your statement. I offer the assistance of my organisation to assist in any way possible with education and support in this situation.

Finally, I would like to refer you to an article in the Medical Journal of Australia by David G Pennington (Med J Aust 2015; 202 (2): 74-75) titled “Australia is behind the times on the medical use of cannabis”. It makes for interesting reading on this difficult topic.”

Comments:

Kristine

I have recently given birth to a beautiful girl, she has been diagnosed with tubular scoliosis, she had an eeg done at 1.1/2weeks old, the results showed an abnormal reading. The neurologist has now started her on vigabatrin this medication is for anti-seizure/epilepsy however the side effects are severe. Can lead to loss of vision, blurred vision, confusion, depression, diplopia, fatigue, weight gain, abnormal gait, ataxia, cough, diarrhea, drowsiness, memory impairment, tremor, irritability, and pharyngolaryngeal pain, abnormality in thinking, asthenia, depressed mood, dysmenorrhea, erectile dysfunction, eye pain, muscle twitching, paresthesia, peripheral edema, sinus headache, abnormal behavior, abnormal sensory symptoms, anemia, back pain, bronchitis, chest pain, constipation, fever, hypoesthesia, hyporeflexia, lethargy, myalgia, nervousness, nystagmus disorder, peripheral neuropathy, sedated state, toothache, upper abdominal pain, vertigo, malaise, abnormal dreams, bruise, and increased appetite These are alot of side effects for a newborn to possibly endure. I need some alternative as she is scheduled for monthly eeg scans with the neurologist. How do I go about seeking cannabis oil for my child. I don’t want her to end up blind due to this current medication.

Comments:

Jane Burford

Dr Lawson predominantly works at the Sydney Childrens Hospital in Randwick. I believe he also consults at Canberra and Wagga Wagga. If you phone (02) 9382 1658 they can provide you with more details.

Comments:

can some one help me with Dr. Lawson’s Number on seizures. My daughter has suffered seizures for 11 years and still suffering. my mail is: [email protected]

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Comments:

Armanda Jefferson

27 January 2019

My best friend’s son has seizures. He starts to stare off and then his seizure begins. The seizures didn’t start until he got his first set off vaccinations. Before then he was fine. He just got his second round of vaccinations so he can start daycare. He just turned 1 in October. After he got his second round of vaccinations, he had a real bad seizure where they air lifted him to Duke’ s children hospital in North Carolina. He coded 3 times while he was there and was put on a breathing machine because he could no longer breathe on his on. All the doctors are doing is keep giving different kinds of medicine or upping the dosage which does not work. He is my God son and we need help. The doctors say he is too young to try and oil or anything such as. We need help

Comments:

Tracy Van Eyk

20 January 2019

My son has been taking seizures a lot over the last 12 months they keep upping his medication we are very interested in trying the oil how do we go about it please ,

Comments:

David

31 December 2018

Hi. I am looking contact details for Dr Lawson. If anybody got his email I’d please send me. My email is [email protected]

Comments:

Jeffery Loatman

07 September 2018

Hi my names jeffrey my daughter suffers from epilepsy and docs have her on multiple meds and nothing is working at this point i want to try cbd oil which 1 is best for her she is 5yrs old

Comments:

The health care professionals were out of line when they wanted blood tests because they wanted the parents to commit to a plan of care when there were already other health care providers and professionals with years of experience already being consulted by the family. They acted like they were abusing that little girl when in fact the CBD was an effective treatment. Shame on those who raised a fuss over a responsable couple who were loving and providing an effective treatment for their little girl who could live a full life with the use of the CBD oil under the direction of a professional. I’m so sorry that the family went through this. Prayers.

Comments:

Hi. I am looking contact details for Dr Lawson. If anybody got his email I’d please send me. My email is [email protected]

Comments:

I would encourage you not to believe the media or the medical industry on anything. They are all lies until proven. How does someone die taking cannabis oil? You are more likely to die from eating an apple sprayed with poison, or drugs the medical industry will supply and tell you it will help. Big business. Of course they dont want you to feel there are other cures and prevention, like cbd oil. And most of all NEVER trust the media.

Comments:

Sandra Reuben

CANNABIS CBD OIL CURED MY SEIZURES. I have seizures and i have been waking up in the emergency room every 2 to 3 months for the last 10 years. I was started on Levetiracetam (Keppra) after about 3 seizures, 250mg didn’t work so it was increased to 500mg and I started to seriously plan my suicide, that increased the moody irritability to the point where if something came up with somebody I”d go off on them with intentions to cause harm, after I got out of the back seat of my sisters car in heavy traffic to explain to the driver behind us we weren’t going anywhere either but we could discuss this further after he got out of his car they started me on lamotrigine and vimpat and took me off keppra. My gran mals are always when I’m sleeping at about 5 am. With the change in medicine I started waking up during the seizure unable to breathe. My neurologist told me that shows the medication is starting to work and I am getting closer to ending my seizures. When the paramedics show up it’s a wrestling match to get me on the gurney and I have lost my appetite since this has all unraveled. Nothing seems to be helping. I feel like my doctors don’t even know what to do or say to me anymore. Feeling hopeless. I heard about cannabis CBD oil and I decided to try it. I bought the cannabis oil from Medicinal Marijuana Resources by contacting them through their email [email protected] and I started using the cannabis oil as prescribed and within few weeks of using the cannabis CBD oil, there was a lot of good changes and I felt better. I used the cannabis oil to cure my seizures completely. I am healthy and I do not suffer from seizures. Seizures patients out there should try cannabis CBD oil and you will see the result.

Comments:

27 February 2018

Hi everyone. My daughter was diagnosed with JME in September 2017. she had seizures every 2-3 weeks. The neurologist put her on Eplim, she started gaining weight fast and she was still having seizures 2-3 weeks a part, they changed her med to keppra, once she started keppra she started having seizures frequently 10 days to a week apart some clusters. At this point they added clopazam she was still having seizures. They changed keppra to tomarmax. OMG she had every side effect that was listed for this med as well as having seizures every night for the pas 10 days. Doctors they just want to load you with medication and see if it works. None of this medication worked for my daughter in fact I think made her condition worse. I will try anything at this point to reduce or stop the seizure. Is there a contact detail for Dr Lawson? How can I get in contact with him? Does anyone know how we can register for CBD oil trial in Australia? My email address is [email protected]

Comments:

ali sydney

18 January 2018

My son is 5 years old. He suffered from myoclonic seizure for over a year, uncontrollably with meds. When he has one it starts where he rolls his eyes back or his eyes are staring off to nowhere, seeing he arms jerk every single night His breathing gets very shallow and his heart rate speeds up, now his not sleeping. I don’t think there’s any changing he started experiencing one horrible serious side effect of the medicine. I could not get an appointment with a neurologist for 5 weeks. I was filled with worry. Thank God for a wonderful doctor, i read a testimonial of someone on a website her daughter was cure from seizure using herbal medicine. I called the number that was retain at the website, i explain to doctor Lawson about my son symptom and I ordered his medicine. my son used the medicine for month now, his health has change the meds worked without any trace of side effects. For over 1 year now seizure free if you don’t have this herbal product it is available. It works, wonderfully.

Comments:

14 December 2017

Hi Mark Clara this raj my son had the same problem the one you discribed about your daughter. I thinking to use some herbal medicine for my son problem. But I need some guidance. Could you please send me your email I’d so I can contact you or some other resources which can help me. My email I’d is [email protected]

Comments:

mark clara

19 October 2017

My daughter was diagnosed with Epilepsy. The neurologist was very confident about the diagnosis based, my Daughter had an EEG (no idea if it showed anything; we were tired and may have misunderstood what he said about that). MRI was negative for problems. For the past 4 months or so, I have seen weekly occurrences, making strange faces (this involved cheek twitching and lip quivering). We did not realize it could be a serious problem until she had an obvious seizure (simple partial) last week. What is troubling about my daughter condition is that we have seen many daytime seizures, and that recently the seizures seem to cluster together. No idea if there are seizures occurring at night. We were given a prescription for Kapra, but are still weighing the risk / rewards of giving the medication to a toddler. After returning from the hospital, my daughter experienced a round a vomiting lasting from 3 AM to 11 AM, followed by additional vomiting the following morning at around 2 AM. Nothing sense then. She has not had an appetite, is drinking fine, and otherwise appears healthy. I read a lot of blogs where people who shared their testimonies kept mentioning Anti-seizure Herbal medication. I searched for a website I just followed the email address of Doctor Lawson that was shared on these testimonies; I got lucky when I got a reply from Dr. Lawson Bryan. I followed his instruction, used Herbal Medicine in less than 2 months, my daughter seizures reduced drastically. Within a period of 5 months, my daughter was cured. I went back to my neurologist, where my daughter checked up and marked epilepsy free.

Comments:

AlysonTdj

26 September 2017

Hi everybody! Recently I have been dealing with a lot of hardships. Friends and doctors keep telling me I should consider taking pills, so I may as well source and see how it goes. Problem is, I haven’t taken it for a while, and don’t wanna get back to it, we’ll see how it goes.

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