CBD Oil From Medical Cannabis Endorsed For Epilepsy
It must have seemed like a miracle. Charlotte Figi, 5 years old, was suffering nearly continuous grand mal seizures — hundreds of episodes each week, some lasting 30 minutes or longer. Nothing seemed to help — not the heavy-duty pharmaceuticals prescribed by doctors, and not the special diet she was put on. She had lost the ability to walk, talk and eat, and had come close to dying several times.
Cannabis Oil Worked For Her Seizures
Then her parents decided to try medical marijuana, focusing on cannabidiol (CBD), a compound found in the cannabis plant that lacks the psychoactive effect of its chemical cousin tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Charlotte began taking drops of homemade CBD oil, dubbed “Charlotte’s Web,” twice a day with her food, and soon she was having seizures only two or three times a month, generally in her sleep. By the time she was 6, she was not only walking, but also talking and even riding a bicycle.
The case, which captivated media attention several years ago, increasingly is being supported by scientific evidence. One study of children and teenagers with a rare form of epilepsy, published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, found that patients who took a nearly pure form of CBD oil experienced about a 50 percent decline in seizures. Another study of the drug, published in the same journal, also found a significant reduction in seizures, this time for children and adults with a different, rare form of epilepsy.
GW Pharmaceuticals, which makes the drug, known as Epidiolex, plans to submit it for approval by the US Food and Drug Administration, hoping to make it available to patients by the end of 2018. Prospects are uncertain given the current status of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”
But because CBD has no psychoactive effect, it actually has a very low potential for abuse, according to the drug company. And many physicians see promise in CBD and other marijuana derivatives for controlling seizures, citing the latest studies as well as anecdotal evidence dating back thousands of years.
Marijuana And Epilepsy – Medical Organization Endorsements
Orrin Devinsky, director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at New York University Langone Medical Center, said the study of CBD oil in children with Dravet syndrome “clearly establishes cannabidiol as an effective anti-seizure drug for this disorder and this age group.” He added: “It certainly deserves to be studied in other types of epilepsy.”
The Epilepsy Foundation agrees, saying CBD “could potentially be helpful in controlling seizures,” especially for the 30 percent of patients who are unable to control their condition with existing, approved medications. The foundation, an advocacy group for patients, also has called on the federal government to ease restrictions that make it extremely difficult for researchers to study potential medical uses of cannabis.
CBD oil, like any medication, may cause side effects, the most common of which is drowsiness, but few patients found the side effects serious enough to drop out of the epilepsy trials. For patients in any of the 29 states where medical marijuana is legal, the Epilepsy Foundation recommends that patients consult their doctors before trying CBD therapy.