Providing some much-needed hope for parents of kids suffering from severe forms of epilepsy, a new study provides further evidence that marijuana’s non-psychoactive cannabinoid, Cannabidiol (a.k.a. CBD), offers a safe and effective form of anti-epileptic therapy.
As parents and guardians of epileptic children have been scrambling to obtain those few strains known to be high in the miracle cannabinoid – like Charlotte’s Web and Haleigh’s Hope – some were acting out of blind faith rather than scientific evidence. Until recently, there had been scarce scientific data on cannabidiol’s overall safety and efficacy as an anti-epileptic. Fortunately for all, that nagging little question has been put to bed this week – at least for some.
Praised as being the largest study performed to date, the American Epilepsy Society met in Philadelphia this week to review the results from the 2014 study:
“261 patients received at least 3 months of treatment and had available data at last group data collection (136 (52%) were male; average age 11.8 years, range 4 months-41 years; average weight 38 kg; range 6.4-127). The most common diagnoses were DS (44; 17%) and LGS (40; 15%). The average # of concomitant AEDs was 3.0. After 3 months of therapy, the median overall seizure frequency reductioHimn was 45.1% in all patients and 62.7% in DS patients. For LGS patients, the median reduction of atonic seizures from baseline was 71.1%. Among all patients, 47% had a ≥50% reduction in seizures. Seizure-freedom at 3 months occurred in 9% of patients and 13% of DS patients. Clobazam co-therapy was associated with a higher rate of treatment response (≥50% convulsive seizure reduction): 57% v. 39%; this may reflect elevations in the desmethyl clobazam metabolite. Safety data from 313 patients representing 180 patient years was available at 16 sites. Adverse events in ≥10% of patients included somnolence (23%), diarrhea (23%), fatigue (17%), decreased appetite (17%), convulsions (17%) and vomiting (10%). 14 patients (4%) had an adverse event leading to discontinuation of CBD. 36 patients (12%) withdrew primarily due to lack of efficacy.”
While the CBD cannabinoid was shown to be beneficial for most participants, unfortunately for some, epilepsy can be one of the more difficult conditions to control. Approximately 1/3 of all patients have an intractable form of epilepsy.
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