The effects of cannabis on epilepsy have been under discussion for a number of years and the current interest in the case of Billy Caldwell has highlighted this even further.
Cannabis has long been thought to have therapeutic properties. Cannabis products contain a substance called THC; the component that causes a medical high. In the UK there are laws regarding the amount of THC in cannabis products which are only legal if they contain less than 0.3% THC.
Containing less than 0.1% THC, pure cannabidiol (CBD), has been prescribed in certain circumstances, and through clinical trials has been shown to be effective in complex epilepsies, more specifically Dravet syndrome and Lennox Gastaut syndrome. These findings have been submitted with a view to gaining a licence. There is no evidence about the efficacy or safety of higher amounts of THC.
Cannabis oils available in the UK and on the internet are not regulated medicines so their contents and dosage will not be consistent. People must always speak with their specialist epilepsy consultant if they are considering any alternative treatment including cannabis oil.