UK Study: CBD-THC Combination Trumps Pure and Broad Spectrum CBD in Treating Epilepsy

Written by Lydia Kariuki

If there’s one undisputed therapeutic potential of cannabidiol (CBD), it is in the treatment of intractable childhood seizures. Even the FDA, with all its resistance to medical cannabis, has approved a CBD-based drug (Epidiolex) for this indication. According to a recently published UK study, pure CBD has shown poorer results compared to a combination of CBD/THC when it comes to controlling epileptic seizures in children. Could we have been wrong all along?

Let’s take a look at the facts of this study. A group of British researchers conducted a case series and analyzed data on children aged 18 and younger with treatment-resistant epilepsy (TRE) who were receiving medical cannabis treatment (UK Medical Cannabis Registry). The patients were started on CBD isolate treatment and progressed to broad spectrum CBD and later a combination of CBD and THC. A total of 19 patients received CBD isolate treatment only, while 17 patients received broad spectrum and CBD/THC combinations. The total number of children analyzed was 36.

The study was conducted for a period of up to six months. The following statistics relate to the reduction in seizure frequency:

  • Over 65% of all the patients in the study
  • 94% of patients receiving CBD/THC combinations
  • 31% of patients receiving pure CBD isolates
  • 17% of patients receiving broad spectrum CBD

Adverse events were reported but they were mild, showing that the cannabis compounds were well tolerated in the short term.

For a long time, THC has been excluded from the “childhood epilepsy” conversation. While the long term effects of THC on the developing brain are a hot issue, this study is enough justification for a more comprehensive open-label case series.

About the author

Lydia Kariuki