Illicit cannabis good for childhood epilepsy

Parents turn to black market products with low doses of cannabidiol

Australian parents who turn to medicinal cannabis to treat their children with epilepsy overwhelmingly consider the extracts as “effective”, a pioneering study has found.

However, contrary to expectations, the extracts generally contained low doses of cannabidiol (CBD) – commonly considered to be a key therapeutic element that has been successfully used in recent clinical trials to treat epilepsy.

The research by the University of Sydney not only sheds light on the composition of cannabis used in the community but also reveals the legal, bureaucratic and cost issues faced by families who rely on the products, as well as demonstrating the barriers to accessing medicinal cannabis.

The study found that the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and the closely related compound THCA, were present in most extracts, although the quantity was generally not enough