Cannabis-based products, specifically cannabis oil are used to manage certain diseases such as epilepsy. In the line of this, the government is considering to review reclassifying cannabis for medical use. There are proofs that medical cannabis such as cannabis oil can help patients suffering from life-threatening epileptic seizures.
This is in light of a young epileptic patient who was hospitalized suffering his first seizures for months after his cannabis oil was confiscated at Heathrow customs. The boy has been using medical cannabis for epilepsy management. In fact, he was the first person to receive an NHS prescription for medical cannabis. This could put cannabis inline with heroin, which can be given to patients when deemed necessary.
To thoroughly understand what cannabis oil is and its role in the management of epilepsy, keep on reading below.
Cannabis oil is derived from cannabis plant extract and it contains one of the primary components of cannabis – cannabidiol or popularly known as CBD. Cannabidiol has no psychoactive effect unlike THC; cannabis’ psychoactive component. In the United Kingdom, cannabis oil is considered legal for as long as the THC component is low 0.05%. The challenge is on marketing it as a medicine. For it to be approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Associations, it would require a rigorous safety protocol. The boy’s cannabis oil was confiscated because its THC level is higher than what is allowed in the UK.
Is cannabis oil really helpful in the management of epilepsy?
Clinical trials conducted in the United States and Europe showed that cannabidiol (CBD) is helpful in the management of severe childhood epilepsy such as Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome; according to Deb Pal, a professor of Paediatric Epilepsy at King’s College London. CBD oil is a breakthrough in severe childhood epilepsy management as such types of epilepsy are resistant to conventional antiepileptic drugs. The results of the clinical trials are now being considered by the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicine Agency to reclassify cannabis and make it legal for medical use.
Cannabis oil works for a number of other conditions too. It can help alleviate pain and muscle spasms, which is beneficial in people with multiple sclerosis. As a matter of fact, it also plays an important role in the management of psychosis and addiction because it can significantly help reduce anxiety. It is surprising to know that even the THC component (responsible for a high feeling) does have medical significance too. It stimulates appetite, which is beneficial in patients with cancer and HIV. It can also help reduce nausea and pain in patients with inflammatory bowel disease and Tourette’s.
Reviewing and reclassifying cannabis to at least Schedule II will make it in the same status as heroin. In other words, doctors can prescribe medical cannabis when there is a need to do so. In some states and countries, cannabis has already been approved for medical use. With more and more clinical trials showing the positive effect of cannabis, it will not be surprising to know if other countries will consider amending its law and will eventually make medical cannabis legal.