CBD is well known to help with seizures and epilepsy specifically. Perhaps one of the best examples of this is one of the high-CBD strains of marijuana, known as “Charlotte’s Web.” Its name comes from a young girl named Charlotte who had epilepsy. Her seizures didn’t respond to prescription medications, but finally, a strain of marijuana that was high in CBD relieved her seizures. The strain took on the name “Charlotte’s Web” from that point on.
Medical studies involving CBD
Many studies exhibit evidence of CBD being effective in treating the seizures of epilepsy. This study explains how CBD impacts the nervous system and supports the further development of CBD treatments for epilepsy. Another significant example is a study involving the use of Epidiolex, a drug gotten from cannabidiol. Epidiolex is a purified oil extract containing 99% CBD extract. It is produced by GW pharmaceuticals with a license from U.S. food and drug administration (FDA) for “compassion use” for a number of people in different centers.
Several reports about the pharmaceutical have been presented by GW Pharmaceuticals in scientific meeting and in press releases. The reports included the recently concluded gold-standard studies for Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome.
A report published in Lancet neurology involved 214 people who were given Epidiolex in an open-label study (absence of placebo control). All of the participants had a treatment-resistant form of epilepsy and ranged from 2 to 26 years. Over the course of 12 weeks, their seizures dropped by up to 54%.
Patients who had anti-seizure medication clobazam (Onfi) included in their treatment responded better than those who didn’t have the medication.
In another study, cannabis extracts were used to treat epilepsy. The study was conducted at a Children’s Hospital in Colorado on pediatric patients. Among the patients, 57% witnessed a decrease in seizures. Of those patients, 33% saw their seizure activity reduce by more than 50%.
Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy
Like many of medical marijuana’s many benefits, its effects on epilepsy deserves more research. Plenty of anecdotal evidence as well as some studies show that medical marijuana can help relieve epilepsy and seizures.
One study that asserted that a whopping 30% of people suffer from epilepsy, but have seizures that do not respond to prescription drugs. It also explains why more research is needed.
Although not yet FDA approved, treating epilepsy with marijuana is not a new concept. A different study revealed that cannabis has actually been used to treat seizures throughout history. It discusses the pre-clinical and clinical evidence that shows the effectiveness of cannabinoids (including CBD) in reducing seizures. Nowadays, the medical community continues to research this connection.
Study: Medical Marijuana for Epilepsy
Research was conducted by Can J Neurol Sci. The purpose was to better understand the use-pattern, clinical and social characteristics of cannabis use among epileptic patients. Included in the case study were 18 patients with epilepsy with medical cannabis prescriptions from an adult-epilepsy clinic in Canada. Each participant was given a dose of 0.5 to 8 grams of medical marijuana per day
Here are the results of the Can J Neurol Sci. case study:
- After ceasing marijuana uses, 56% (10 patients) reported suffering from exacerbated withdrawal seizures
- Only 11% (2 patients) reported having to deal with side effect
- 100% of the patients in the study found medical cannabis to be very effective and helpful for controlling seizures and improving mood disorders
Case Study: Marijuana, Endocannabinoids & Epilepsy
Another case study was conducted by Exp Neurol. It studied the challenges and potential for improving the lives of epileptics through therapeutic intervention… and cannabis.
During the study, phytocannabinoids were isolated from the marijuana plant. For centuries, it’s been highly recognized that phytocannabinoids have broad medicinal properties. They are wax-like, soluble signaling molecules which interact directly with metabotropic cannabinoid receptors. This allows them to exert medicinal effects in both the peripheral and central nervous systems.
Phytocannabinoids are targeted by various endogenous cannabinoids, such as:
- 2-arachidonoyl glycerol
In epilepsy cases, basic experiments clearly indicate that endogenous cannabinoid signaling systems play critical roles in regulating neuronal excitability from minute to minute. Studies show that epileptiform activity can both be altered by and alter these signaling molecules in a wide array of in vivo and in vitro epilepsy models.
According to the research, there’s clear potential for using cannabis as a therapeutic modulator of endogenous cannabinoid signaling systems when treating epilepsy in humans.