The cannabinoid CBD is an increasingly common treatment for seizures. However, we’ve mostly relied on anecdotal evidence of its capabilities until recently. Yesterday the highly regarded New England Journal of Medicine published a study confirming that Epidiolex, a CBD medication, can dramatically reduce seizures. Here’s a closer look at what the study says, and what these results could mean for medical marijuana patients.
Many Claimed That Medical Marijuana Can Treat Seizures
Traditional medications used to treat seizures are often ineffective and inconvenient. Conversely, CBD can be a highly effective treatment with few health ramifications.
Many people who suffer from seizures and parents of children with seizure-inducing conditions advocate for CBD accessibility. Kiana Algire, mother of Silas who suffers from epilepsy, told High Times that hemp oil has had a miraculous effect on her son’s condition. Algire puts a small amount of CBD in her son’s breakfast. He had only had one seizure since starting this treatment.
For many, CBD isn’t only a matter of convenience. One mother explained that her epileptic son went from taking 25 pills a day, which were often ineffective, to five—all with the help of CBD. “Once we started him on CBD oil, we noticed a big difference right away, and we weaned him off of the pharmaceuticals,” said the mother at an epilepsy awareness meeting.
A Lead Researcher Has Long Advocated For CBD Use
Dr. Orrin Devinsky, M.D is a leader in epilepsy and neurology research. This breakthrough study represents only his latest work in the field.
Two years ago, Dr. Devinsky went on camera to explain why cannabinoids can treat epilepsy. “We don’t today know exactly how CBD exerts its biological effects, which include in animal models, very potent anti-convulsant or anti-seizure effects in numerous species and in numerous different models of epilepsy,” said the NYU Epilepsy Center doctor.
Not only did preliminary research on animals show promising results, but marijuana treatment for predates modern medicine. ” despite having been used to treat epilepsy for centuries, we, unfortunately, know relatively little at this time, from randomized controlled trials, about cannabis and epilepsy,” elaborated the doctor.
Study Says CBD Medication Can Reduce Seizures
Years later, Dr. Orin Devinsky’s devotion to studying CBD has yielded impressive results. Specifically, this study looks at people with early onset Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, a type of epilepsy. These patients, between 2 and 55 years old, have experienced multiple seizures a day from early childhood that potentially impeded brain development.
Before beginning the study, doctors diagnosed all 225 patients as treatment resistant. When they began the study, these patients were already on anti-seizure medication. The purpose of the study was to determine whether CBD could be used safely in tandem with other prescription medication.
Researchers divided them into three groups: One group received two 20 mg doses of CBD per day, another took 10 mg and a third was the control group. They took CBD in the form of Epidiolex, a drug produced by GW Pharmaceuticals, who subsidized the study.
They found that the 20 mg group experienced over 40 percent reduction in seizures, on average. The 10 mg category saw a 37 percent fewer seizures. Those in the placebo groups also experienced a decrease in the number of seizures.
The study concluded, “the addition of cannabidiol at a dose of 10 mg or 20 mg per kilogram per day to a conventional antiepileptic regimen resulted in greater reductions in the frequency of drop seizures than placebo.” Researchers added the caveat that the CBD groups had higher levels of enzymes that potentially lead to liver problems, it concluded in favor of CBD treatment for epilepsy.
American Scientific Evidence Finally Supports CBD Use
As Dr. Devinsky explains, CBD treatment for epilepsy is not a new invention. However, its acceptance as scientific fact is. In Israel, scientists have already begun to extensively study CBD for epilepsy and autism. Hopefully, this latest American study will lead to better CBD access, even if it begins with only Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome patients.