Professor Deb Pal was featured in an article in the Independent titled: Can cannabis oil really treat epilepsy and what would impact of medicinal reclassification be?
This news story explored the implications of the announcement by the UK home secretary, Sajid Javid, that the government will consider reclassifying cannabis for medicinal use in certain conditions. This review was sparked by the recent news headlines of families of children with life threatening seizures being unable to obtain necessary treatment through cannabis-based products due to their current classification as a Schedule One drug in the UK.
These cannabis-based treatments are commonly used in the form an oil extract of the cannabis plant, which contains one of the plant’s major components, cannabidiol (CBD). CBD has no psychoactive effect and can be sold legally in the UK as long as the THC content is below 0.05%. Despite CBD being legal, marketing it as a medication requires approval by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Associations (MHRA).
Professor Pal discussed that “there is now good evidence from clinical trials conducted in the US and Europe that pharmaceutical preparations of cannabidiol are effective against two types of severe childhood epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.”
These recently published findings are now being reviewed by the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency, who will decide whether cannabidiols and other cannabis-based products can be licensed for medical use to treat conditions such as epilepsy.