In a groundbreaking new study, CBD treatment was found to reduce the number of seizures in children with a severe form of epilepsy.
"This is the first solid, rigorously obtained scientific data" that CBD is a safe and effective treatment for this medical problem, said study author Dr. Orrin Devinsky of NYU Langone Medical Center.
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, tested a liquid form of CBD (the non-psychoactive cannabis compound formally known as cannabidiol) called Epidiolex. It should be noted that Epidiolex developer GW Pharmaceuticals of London funded, designed and helped run the research, while another doctor involved in the study had related patents.
Patients included in the study had Dravet syndrome, a kind of epilepsy that develops in infancy and causes frequent, long-lasting and potentially fatal seizures. Afflicted children have trouble developing, with their mental impairment seemingly tied to the frequency of the seizures.
In total, researchers studied 120 children and teens between the ages of two and 18 from the U.S. and Europe. Participants took a teaspoon of oil twice a day (drug or placebo) in addition to their conventional anti-seizure medication for 14 weeks. Their symptoms were compared to the previous four weeks.
For those who took CBD, serious seizures with convulsions dropped from roughly 12 per month to about six, with three patients on the drug becoming totally seizure-free. Those on the placebo saw no change.
There was some cause for concern, however. Diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue and problems sleeping were more frequent among those who took the Epidiolex, while 12 patients quit the study altogether (nine on the drug and three in the placebo group.)
Still, for those whose seizures were lessened or even eliminated by taking CBD, “anecdote has been confirmed by data”, wrote Dr. Samuel Berkovic in the study.
The drug is now being tested in another large study among children with Dravet syndrome, along with some other forms of epilepsy.
h/t CTV News