Hunter New England children get access to cannabis-based drug

A GROUP of kids in the Hunter New England region are receiving doses of cannabis-derived medicine to treat severe epilepsy as part of a statewide trial.

Lead researcher Dr John Lawson, from Sydney Children’s Hospital, said about 12 children will participate in the Compassionate Access Scheme for Epidiolex at John Hunter Children’s Hospital, as part of a wider trial involving up to 40 children. It is part of a $21 million commitment to explore the therapeutic use of medicinal cannabis in NSW.

“This is an important first step in exploring the clinical use of cannabis-derived medicine for the treatment of severe childhood epilepsy,” said Dr Lawson.

“The scheme will see some of the sickest children in NSW ... gain access to a regulated pharmaceutical supply of the promising medicine, cannabidiol. These children suffer from such severe, treatment-resistant epilepsy – some with hundreds of seizures a day – that they are too sick to take part in clinical trials. This Scheme fills that gap in the hope of providing some relief to them.”

Epidiolex is an oral pharmaceutical formulation of pure cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant.

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