Efficacy of Cannabis for Treating Epilepsy
A new article published in The Pharmaceutical Journal addressed the question of whether there is sufficient evidence of efficacy for the use of cannabis for treating epilepsy.
The author does an excellent job laying out the complexity of the issue. On one hand, you have understandably desperate parents with children that have treatment-resistant epilepsy causing them to experience as many as dozens of seizures a day.
On the other hand, is the limited but ongoing clinical trials evaluating the potential efficacy and safety of several cannabis components, and concerns over marijuana side effects including sedation, interactions with other drugs, and potential negative effects on brain development.
Add to the mix the fact that many of the marijuana products currently available in dispensaries may not even contain what they claim to include, and you have a complex and emotional situation.
Clear from this article is that science is beginning to make headway in determining which chemicals within the crude mixture from the marijuana plant may have therapeutic effects for epilepsy, as well as their limitations in addressing sizers.
Also discussed in this article is the role orphan trials play in the development of cannabis-derived or inspired medicines, and the advantages of topical cannabis treatments over oral medicines for children.
The bottom line is that the decision to use cannabis as a therapy for epilepsy or any disorder should come only after exhausting existing conventional treatments and then carefully weighing the risks and what is known and unknown.
However, until more research has been conducted in isolating specific active chemicals within the cannabis plant and conducting clinical trials to ascertain their efficacy, safety, and side effects, there will be more than less risk associated with these decisions.
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