Epilepsy affects nearly 470,000 children in the US. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, “Childhood epilepsy affects nearly 300,00 American children under the age of 14. It can affect children at different ages and in different ways. Early recognition and treatment are keys to the best possible outcome. For some, it will be a temporary problem, easily controlled with medication, outgrown after a few years. For others, it may be a lifelong challenge affecting many areas of life. It may be associated with serious, difficult-to-treat syndromes, including Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, genetically related conditions, and developmental disorders. Social impact in childhood is often severe, producing isolation and loss of self-esteem.” (1)
Over recent years, there have been remarkable studies that show real results from cannabis therapy in epileptic children and adults. Our brain and nerve cells have cannabinoid receptors, so our bodies naturally react to cannabis (medical marijuana). The structure of cannabis interacts directly with our cells. Our natural endocannabinoid system works synergistically with medical marijuana, creating a multitude of beneficial reactions in the body. The endocannabinoid cells have tiny receptors that take in chemicals and produce responses. This natural system in our bodies regulates things like mood, sleeping, immunity, pleasure, memory and much more.
There are two different forms of medical treatment through cannabis. The first is the natural marijuana plant that contains both CBD and THC, and the second is the altered version of the plant that has been through a hybrid process to lighten the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) level. CBD or cannabinoids can treat many different forms of diseases and disorders with no THC. THC is the mind-altering, euphoric component of marijuana that gives the “high” feeling. With CBD plants, the THC levels have been extracted through a vigorous process, leaving zero to little THC levels. CBD oil is an excellent alternative for patients that would benefit from cannabinoids alone, while other more complex medical cases require the additional advantages of THC combines with CBD in the marijuana plant.
In 2016, an Israeli study was done, which included children ages 1-18 with intractable epilepsy. Many of them were resistant to anti-seizure medications and out of all 74 participants, 66% had failed to improve with vagal nerve stimulators and ketogentic diets. These children and adolescents were given a combination of CBD and THC at a 20:1 ratio. The results were provided by their parents or guardians and concluded that 89% of the participants experienced reductions in seizures.
On June 25, 2028, the FDA, approved Epidiolex (cannabidiol) [CBD] oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and Dravet syndrome, in patients two years of age and older.
This approval was based off of a study called the “Effect of Cannabidiol on Drop Seizures in the Lennox–Gastaut Syndrome.” It studied a combination of children and adults ages 2-55 with Lennox–
Gastaut syndrome, a severe developmental epileptic encephalopathy, due to their treatment-resistant seizure activity.
The treatment period was approximately three months and added cannabis at 20 mg per kilogram of body weight or 10mg per kilograms of body weight twice daily.
The conclusion of the study was promising, “Among children and adults with the Lennox–Gastaut syndrome, the addition of cannabidiol at a dose of 10 mg or 20 mg per kilogram per day to a conventional antiepileptic regimen resulted in greater reductions in the frequency of drop seizures than placebo. Adverse events with cannabidiol included elevated liver aminotransferase concentrations.” (2)
If a patient is younger than 18 years of age, a second physician must concur with the certification in order for medical marijuana to be dispensed to the patient. At Iona Cannabis Clinic, we have a Board-Certified pediatric physician on staff who is able- with the assistance of Dr. Sonn- to certify and educate children and their families on appropriate dosing and treatment of their specific illness.
Florida Law requires two physicians to refer a pediatric patient in order for them to be considered for certification in the medical marijuana database.
1. Epilepsy Foundation, About Kids, “Epilepsy in Childhood:, Landover, MD, 2018, epilepsy.com
2. N Engl J Med 2018; 378:1888-1897, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1714631, Effect of Cannabidiol on Drop Seizures in the Lennox–Gastaut Syndrome, GWPCARE3 Study Group
Dr. Gregory Sonn
Dr. Sonn has been studying and working with medical marijuana for years. He reports very effective results for numerous disorders and disease states, including patients with cognitive impairment such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
You must visit a Physician that is licensed to recommend medical marijuana. To legally purchase and consume medical marijuana in Florida, the person must have one of the specific qualifying medical conditions regulated by the government or have a medical condition that is deemed as appropriate. Dr. Sonn is exceptionally adept and knowledgeable in this practice, drawing from his vast experience as a Palliative Care physician and Family Practitioner.
If you or someone you know would like more information, please visit IonaCannabisClinic.com or call (239) 689-6819.
IONA Cannabis Clinic
Gregory R. Sonn D.O.
15620 McGregor Blvd, Suite 100
Fort Myers FL 33908