The FDA has recently given the greenlight to a cannabidiol medication called Epidiolex to treat epilepsy. This comes as pharmaceutical companies are seeing the potential in cannabis as a legitimate therapy. CBD is shown to lessen severity and number of episodes in epileptic patients with multiple varieties of the disease. In three randomized double-blind studies were conducted to test the efficacy of the medication to treat severe forms of epilepsy.
Clinical trials were performed on 516 patients with either Dravet syndrome or Lennox- Gastaut syndrome. Dravet syndrome is a serious genetic disorder appearing in the first year of life with symptoms that include severe fever related seizures, myoclonic seizures, and learning disabilities. Lennox- Gastaut syndrome is characterized by tonic seizures, intellectual disabilities, and delayed motor skills. Both of these disorders are notoriously difficult to treat. Many traditional treatments have side effects that can impact many aspects of a person’s life, making it hard to function. Clinical trials showed that cannabidiol was successful over placebo at reducing the frequency of episodes when used in conjunction with other medications.This new treatment could be a life changing addition for sufferers. The studies involving Dravet syndrome patients conducted at the Mayo Clinic showed a 39% decrease in number of seizures when CBD was used. Status epilepticus is the constant onset of seizures with no recovery time in between. Researchers hope Epidiolex could be a very successful medication for this condition as well.
Cannabis has been used for thousands of years to treat epilepsy and other serious neurological disorders. In the past decade, interest in the use of cannabidiol increased immensely and gave way to pretrial and clinical trials to observe its effects on epilepsy. The use of THC had been studied in the past and had yielded results that warranted further study of cannabinoids. One study showed that the used of THC reduced seizure severity and frequency. Anticonvulsant effects were observed in epileptic patients with cannabidiol as well. Relaxation of muscles and anti-inflammatory properties were also seen. Further clinical study is needed to see if one treats seizures more effectively.
Cannabidiol is being used to treat adolescent and adult epileptics. The compound could spell the beginning of a brighter future for many suffering with the illness. Cannabinoids will be studied more in depth and will yield an understanding of how these will be incorporated into current therapies. CBD is currently providing relief for many, it could be the answer to a more normal life for thousands more.