€1.4 million for research into medicinal cannabis in epilepsy

The Dutch Ministry of Health has made a grant of 1.4 million euros available for research into the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis in children with treatment-resistant epilepsy. The question to be answered is whether medicinal cannabis reduces the frequency and/or severity of epileptic seizures in children. Researchers who want to be considered for the grant have until September 28, 2021, to submit their applications. Medical cannabis from the Office of Medicinal Cannabis (OMC) must be used for the research. Bedrocan produces this cannabis on behalf of the OMC.

Second round

This subsidy is the second made available by the Ministry of Health. Last year an initial subsidy of 1.9 million was awarded. This study focuses on the effect of medicinal cannabis on neuropathic pain.  Both studies are financed from the proceeds of the medicinal cannabis sold by the OMC in the Netherlands and abroad. The fact that this round of research is being conducted into epilepsy in children follows directly from a question from the House of Representatives. A motion by Vera Bergkamp (D66) calling for this was adopted in 2018.

Medicinal cannabis in epilepsy

Cannabidiol from the pharmacy can be prescribed according to the Epilepsy guideline from June 2020 in children (from 2 to 18 years old) with a treatment-resistant Dravet syndrome or patients (from 2 years old) with a treatment-resistant Lennox Gastaut syndrome.

In the Netherlands and several other countries, oil is made from the pharmaceutical CBD-containing cannabis product Bedrolite and prescribed to these patients. At the beginning of this year, the Medicines Evaluation Board (MEB) put cannabidiol, used by patients with epilepsy, on the list of medicines for which switching manufacturers is not advisable. This concerns medicines where incorrect intake leads to serious problems.

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