The good oil
A Midland toddler suffering up to 50 seizures a day is benefiting from the use of cannabis oil.
A LEADING Perth neurologist who prescribed oil made from cannabis to treat a Midland toddler’s epilepsy says the “usefulness” of managing the condition is not strong.
Perth Children’s Hospital head of neurology Dr Simon Williams prescribed Zavier Elward cannabidiol (CBD) at his Midland parents’ request.
The two-year-old’s mother, Shaileen Roberts, said they tried countless medications to treat Zavier’s epilepsy but nothing worked, so as a last resort they trialled the CBD oil.
“Before Zavier took the oil, on a good day he was having about 20 seizures and on a bad day about 50 plus,” she said.
“He’s been on the CBD oil about a month and in that time he’s only had two seizures… it’s very promising.”
Dr Williams said the impact of CBD varied and was used for treating epilepsy when patient’s seizures did not successfully respond to anti-seizure drug therapy.
“For most patients it doesn’t make much difference, but for some it can help reduce seizure frequency and intensity. Some parents report the children are brighter and more alert as well,” he said.
“Overall, the evidence of its usefulness in managing epilepsy is not very strong.”
Dr Williams said the treatment was generally well tolerated but could cause drowsiness and gut function problems.
“There is a very high demand for CBD for lots of different indications,” he said.
“I generally advise parents to use medications that have good levels of evidence of usefulness.”
WA Health Minister Roger Cook said CBD was used as an add-on to current treatment in drug-resistant epilepsy where four or five other anti-epileptic drugs had not worked.
“Most CBD products are legally available in Australia and can be prescribed by any medical practitioner without further restrictions,” he said.
AMA (WA) president Dr Omar Khorshid said current legislative framework for accessing medicinal cannabis could be confusing and patients should go through the Special Access Scheme to access medicines not approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).