Is CBD oil a safe treatment for babies and children?
In Israel, sick babies and children seem to be benefitting from CBD oil says a CNN report. Lavie Parush is one of these infants. After a difficult birth, the child was diagnosed with epilepsy and cerebral palsy. As time went on, his seizures became worse and more frequent. Medications didn’t help, and most of them caused worrying side effects. That’s when Israeli doctors advised Lavie’s dad that the time had come to try CBD oil.
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The Israeli Ministry of Health’s standpoint on medical cannabis
As doctors around the world say, there’s no real proof as to the effectiveness and safety of medical cannabis. In Israel, that’s also true – but the Ministry is willing to acknowledge that cannabis products such as CBD oil do seem to help patients under certain circumstances. While recreational cannabis use remains beyond the pale, there are around 23,000 medical cannabis patients registered in Israel.
So how’s Lavie doing on CBD oil?
Lavie’s parents chose to give their baby CBD oil, a preparation that would disappoint any hippie looking for a high. So to begin with, Lavie isn’t stoned. As for the seizures, his parents report absolutely no seizures after a few weeks of use. The CNN report says that all it takes is a few drops a day.
An Isreali cannabis grower says that this low THC extract is the one that’s usually chosen when the parents of babies or children decide to try medical cannabis on their kids.
What about safety?
Although there have been no reports of problems among children being dosed with CBD oil, Lavie is certainly one of the youngest. Even Charlotte Figi, the poster child for CBD oil as a treatment for epilepsy was 5 years old when she started taking it. There are concerns that CBD could impact development – but in cases like Lavie’s, chronic seizures present a greater, more clearly defined threat.
Any pharmaceutical has some risks that must be weighed against potential benefits, but the data for medical cannabis and CBD oil simply isn’t there. There have been a few studies, but randomized testing and peer reviewed studies have yet to be concluded.
How effective is CBD oil for childhood epilepsy?
Among the early results that still need to be confirmed are reports of a 54% reduction in certain kinds of drug-resistant seizures. CNN says that in a 19-patient Stanford University trial, 16 out of 19 children had less seizures when using medical cannabis.
However, there’s no shortage of ‘anecdotal’ evidence. Charlotte Figi’s CBD oil success story is the best known, but is only one of many. Dr Uri Kramer, a Tel Aviv doctor specializing in childhood epilepsy, told CNN that he has found CBD oil to ‘show promise’ in treating drug-resistant seizures. He estimates that CBD oil has a 20% success rate if 75% seizure reduction is to be taken as the aim – and he says that’s a better success rate than any pharmaceutical can offer.
However, as CNN points out, not all Kramer’s colleagues agree with his opinion, and the proof from scientific studies is something we will have to wait for.
What would you do?
Given that there’s currently no way of knowing how CBD oil affects the developing brain, would you take the risk that baby Lavie’s parents have taken?