According to a new survey out of Stanford University, a cannabidiol-rich cannabis extract may be widely effective for children with epilepsy. The survey, published in the December issue of Epilepsy & Behavior, compiled responses from 18 parents who had turned to a special form of cannabis to treat their child’s severe epilepsy. The work begins now to determine which types of epilepsy CBD is going to help, its side effects, and how it interacts with other anti-seizure drugs.
In some cases, parents reported a reduction in seizure frequency of up to 80% and 83% indicated a reduction in their child’s seizure frequency, with little to no side effects of cannabis treatment. Four of the children suffered from Doose syndrome, one had Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, one had idiopathic epilepsy, and thirteen had Dravet syndrome.
Catherine Jacobson, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow who lead the study believes that the results still support CBD-rich cannabis as an effective epilepsy medicine, in spite of the study’s big and obvious caveats and despite the trials of available anti-seizure drugs. Dr. Jacobson reviewed the literature after hearing that some parents were having success using CBD-rich cannabis and found research dating back to the 1970s that supported the anecdotes. She was inspired to conduct the study by her own search for a treatment that could help her epileptic son.
Now part of a team at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Dr. Jacobson is leading the clinical investigations on a high-grade CBD extract developed by GW Pharmaceuticals. The company announced that it had received FDA approval to begin experimental treatments with Epidiolex in epileptic children, just last month. Orrin Devinsky, MD at the NYU School of Medicine, and Roberta Cilio, MD, PhD at UCSF are the leading research. Initial results are expected early next year. (Via StT.org)
by Soumya Nala, December 2013