There are more than 450,000 children and teens in the U.S. living with epilepsy— which is also the most common type of childhood brain disorder in our country.
One form of therapy that has proven successful is CBD oil. It is a form of medical cannabidiol that helps control seizures. It can also ease the side effects of autism, spasticity and MS (multiple sclerosis).
Child Neurology Consultants of Austin is the only pediatric neurology group in Austin to offer a CBD Resource Clinic. It was established to help educate families about treatment with CBD and offer close monitoring and support by a certified clinician if they are using it therapeutically.
Child Neurology Consultants’ nurse practitioner, Liz Cross, APRN, PNP-BC, was instrumental in setting up the clinic under the direction of board-certified pediatric neurologist Dr. Karen Keough in 2019 and is responsible for much of its operation today.
Below are some common questions answered by Liz that families often have for us when considering CBD therapy for their child:
1-At what age/how young can a child start CBD therapy?
This can be a little difficult to answer. Our original thought was at least 20kg (40lbs), but we definitely have kids who are smaller/younger than that. I think our youngest patient is currently nearly three years old.
2- Who is a good candidate for CBD therapy?
Only patients who have qualifying conditions under the Texas Compassionate Use Program are eligible for prescription CBD. Additionally, their primary neurologist has to have seen the patient recently for a regular visit and recommended them to the CBD Resource Clinic. Patients must also be a resident of Texas.
3 – How quickly might a patient start to experience results?
Some families report seeing changes after the first dose while others take closer to a week or two weeks. We work closely with families who are new to CBD to ensure a proper titration is set up for children so they experience minimal side effects and get to an effective dose as quickly and safely as possible.
4 – Does insurance cover CBD therapy? How do patients pay for medicines?
Sadly, no! Insurance does not cover CBD therapy. Many people are quick to think that in other states it is covered by insurance. This is not the case. Medical cannabis is not covered by insurance nationwide. Families must pay out of pocket. The dispensary will tell them what options they have to pay, but cash and check are always accepted.
5 – What is something that most parents are surprised about when it comes to the CBD Resource Clinic?
I think many people are caught off guard that we even have a CBD Resource Clinic for pediatrics. Others are surprised to hear that even though we call it CBD, the prescription version does have a component of THC. We spend a lot of time educating our patients about the cannabis plant and helping them understand how prescription CBD differs from OTC products. While this is a prescription medication, you cannot walk into your local pharmacy to pick it up. Currently, there are only two dispensaries in the entire state who produce CBD for medicinal purposes. At the end of the day, the majority of families who already have a good understanding of medical cannabis are grateful to learn something new from us that they might not have known before.
Child Neurology Consultants of Austin has experience treating a wide range of neurological conditions in children and teenagers from 0 to 21 years old. To make an appointment with one of our board-certified pediatric neurologists, please contact us here.