A 12-year-old Irish child named Billy Caldwell may wind up being one of the poster kids for the use of cannabis at home for youth who are given to seizures.
Afflicted by severe epilepsy, Caldwell, from County Tyrone in Northern Ireland, had been treated in London until recently with cannabis to keep his seizures under control. Northern Ireland is one of many places where the use of cannabis to treat illnesses and ailments is frowned on, but Caldwell has shown great improvement under physician’s care in London.
Billy Caldwell Gets An OK
Caldwell, whose case had been championed by his mother, Charlotte, finally got permission from UK’s department of health to get treated nearer to home in Belfast. A week later, Belfast authorities gave Billy permission to simply go to his local hospital.
Cannabidiol (CBD), cannabis containing less than 0.1 percent THC, was shown to be the most successful treatment available to Caldwell. And he’s only the most well-known of the cases.
A study conducted in Israel has underscored that fact. The study’s authors took a group of 74 patients from ages 1-18 who had proven to be resistant to standard antiepileptic drugs. Of those, 49, or 66 percent, also failed a ketogenic diet, vagal nerve stimulator or both.
CBD Oil Study – Seizures Reduced With Cannabidiol
In the Israeli research study, the patients were put through a minimum three months’ worth of tests, although the average patient was in the program for about six months. The CBD was dissolved in olive oil, and parents were asked to report in on their child’s progress during the clinical trial.
By the time the CBD Oil research study was over, researchers found that the CBD had produced a “significant positive effect” on the seizure load of the patient group.
Most of the children, 66 of 74, reacted in much the same manner as had Billy Caldwell. They reported a reduction of seizure frequency. Of those, 18 percent rated the reduction to be between 75-100 percent, while 34 percent rated a 50-75 percent reduction, 12 percent reported a 25-50 percent reduction and 26 percent recorded a reduction of less than 25 percent.
There were 7 percent of the patients who experienced in increase in seizures, which led to them being withdrawn from CBD use. There were some other adverse reactions, but in general the researchers report improvement in behavior, alertness, language, communication, motor skills and sleep. The mostly minor adverse reactions included somnolence (drowsiness), fatigue, gastrointestinal disturbances and irritability. Only five of the 74 patients were taken off the use of cannabidiol.
Much the same kinds of results came down in research published in the New England Journal of Medicine. According to that study, children taking cannabidiol reported the decrease in convulsive seizures was 23 percentage points greater than the decrease in seizures among children taking a placebo. And it was a gold standard study – a randomized, double-blind, placebo-control human trial.
Medicine Hemp Cannabidiol Medicine
That study was partially subsidized by GW Pharmaceuticals, a company that is looking to develop cannabidiol medicines from hemp and marijuana.
“After 3,800 years of cannabis use for epilepsy … we finally have solid evidence,” said Dr. Orrin Devinsky, lead author of the study and director of NYU Langone’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. His own previous research indicates that cannabis was used as early as 1800 B.C. in Sumeria (now southern Iraq) to treat epilepsy. And neurologists of the Victorian period used Indian hemp, which is rich in cannabidiol, for the same purpose.
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