Among many childhood disorders, epilepsy is a serious one that will have lifelong consequences. Some children experience seizures that last more than five minutes and this can put them at the risk of brain damage and other related health issues. There are different types of treatments available for this condition, but the major drawback is that they have unintended side effects on long-term usage. This is where medical cannabis for epilepsy is useful as it has been revolutionising treatment of epileptic seizures in children, read on to know more.
What Are Seizures And What Are The Symptoms?
Seizures happen due to uncontrolled disturbances in the electrical firing of neurons. In other words it is caused by the excessive firing of neurons due to overstimulation. If this lasts long, it causes neuronal damage and there is risk of non repairable brain damage in children. Most of the seizure attacks last between 30 seconds to 2 minutes, but if it lasts more than 5 minutes it will require medical attention as it is considered an emergency. The two main categories of seizures are, focal seizures and generalised seizures; the first one happens if abnormal electrical activity happens in one area of the brain, the second one involves different brain areas.
Cannabis For Epilepsy
The major components of cannabis for epilepsy are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The former is useful in treating epileptic seizures because of positive effect on neurological functioning, it is safer as there are no psychotropic effects. The latter is more notorious for the high associated with marijuana products because it is psychotropic.
Treating Seizures In Children With Medical Cannabis For Epilepsy
It is useful for mainly treating refractory epilepsy i.e. conditions that cannot be treated or controlled with medication. It has been found that the cannabinoid CBD derived from cannabis plants has good antiepileptic effects and makes it useful in seizure treatment. This is also backed by research.
CBD For Epilepsy In Children
The FDA has approved a cannabidiol (CBD) derived drug called Epidiolex for treating Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome in children above 2 years old. These are drug-resistant variants of epileptic seizures and cannabidiol is found to be effective according to scientific studies and clinical trials. These syndromes start in early childhood and can be difficult to control with regular epileptic medications. Also, there is no cause for concern in using Epidiolex as there is no THC because it is made from synthetic CBD. So, the child is not at the risk of experiencing any kind of psychotropic effects on taking the medicine.