Medical Cannabis Approved for Epilepsy Treatment

Medical Cannabis Approved for Epilepsy Treatment
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The use of medicinal cannabis has been approved by The EU to treat patients suffering from epilepsy.

Epidyolex is aimed at patients with two rare, but severe, forms of childhood epilepsy.

Doctors can pat last prescribe Epidyolex – an oral solution of CBD (cannabidiol) – if they think it will help sufferers.

Epidyolex has been approved for use in the UK and other EU countries, but at the time of print, it is not recommended by the NHS.

What is Epidyolex?

While it does contain CBD, the drug does not contain any THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis. Some experiments have shown that THC in combination with CBD increases its effectiveness.

Because of this some parents, who have travelled to the Netherlands to buy cannabis medicines, feel the treatment will not help.

Epidyolex has been approved as a treatment option for children as young as two with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome – difficult-to-treat conditions that can cause multiple seizures a day.

The medication, developed by GW Pharmaceuticals, will be used in combination with another epilepsy medication called clobazam.

What are the experts saying?

Ley Sander, Medical Director at the Epilepsy Society and Professor of Neurology at University College London, said: “This new drug will bring hope for some families and EU approval feels like a positive step. Medicinal cannabis, however, still remains a medical minefield and there are many hurdles ahead.

CBD was not recommended by NICE for prescription on the NHS. It is important that the pharmaceutical industry continues to work with the medical advisory body to ensure that drugs are cost effective and that its long-term effects are clear.

What about other medical cannabis products?

There are many different medical cannabis products. Treatments can be prescribed only by specialist doctors in a limited number of circumstances, and often only when all other medicines have failed.

Some cannabis-based medicines are licensed in the UK.

Nabilone is a medicine, that has been developed to act in a similar way to THC. Doctors can give it to people during chemotherapy to help ease their nausea.

Sativex is a cannabis-based medicine that contains both THC and CBD and is licensed in the UK for people with multiple sclerosis.

This post originally appeared on the BBC