Dutch Government to Fund New Research Into Medical Cannabis for Epilepsy

Stephen Andrews
16 Aug 2021

The Dutch Health Ministry has announced that a grant of €1.4 million (approx. $1.6 million) will be made available for research into the efficacy of medical marijuana products for treatment-resistant epilepsy in children.

The grant will be open to researchers who plan to carry out relevant research into whether medical cannabis products can help reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in children who have intractable epilepsy. Applications for the grant will be open until 28 September 2021.

This is the second installment of research funding facilitated by the Dutch government. Last year, a fund of €1.9 million (approx. $2.2 million) was made available for researchers who study medical cannabis for neuropathic pain. 

Successful applicants are required to use medical cannabis from the Office of Medicinal Cannabis (OMC) for their research. The grant sources its finances from medical cannabis sales from the OMC, both at home in the Netherlands and abroad. 

Medical research has repeatedly shown the benefits of cannabis compounds, especially CBD (cannabidiol), in the treatment of severe conditions such as epilepsy. CBD has been found to be effective in reducing epilepsy manifestation in both children and adolescents. 

In the Netherlands, CBD-based medicine can be prescribed to children aged 2 and above who suffer from Dravet or Lennox Gastaut syndrome, rare and severe forms of epilepsy where the child does not respond to regular treatment. Dutch pharmaceutical company Bedrocan produces Bedrolite, the domestic cannabis-based medicine to treat epilepsy.

In the U.S., cannabidiol in the form of Epidiolex is available for epilepsy treatment and is the first FDA-approved cannabis drug. The CBD movement in the U.S. took off with the now late Charlotte Figi, the girl who battled dreadful epilepsy with CBD treatment. Charlotte's Web, one of the nation's best-known strains for epilepsy treatment, honors the girl's name. 

The Netherlands, along with Israel, Spain, and Canada, is one of the world's leaders in medical cannabis research.

Stephen Andrews