Miracle Plant Helps Those Who Suffer From Epilepsy
Written by: Ricky Elmer
People who suffer from treatment-resistant epilepsy now have another more natural option that could be truly helpful.
Cannabidiol (CBD), which is a medical derivative of marijuana, has been found to reduce the frequency of seizures and is safe for most young adults and children who were enrolled in the year-long study that was led by epilepsy specialists working from the NYU Langone Medical Center.
The study took place across the country in 11 epilepsy centers. Epidiolex, a CBD treatment, was given to the patients orally over a 12-week period; the results showed a 36.5% reduction in their monthly motor seizures.
CBD was also shown to be well-tolerated by many of the patients, although there were some isolated adverse events the gave the treatment a sufficient safety profile.
This study has provided findings that estimate the efficacy, tolerability and safety of prescription CBD in adults and children with severe epilepsy. Dr. Orrin Devinsky M.D. led the study, which was published in the December issue of Lancet Neurology.
Dr. Devinsky said, “We are very encouraged by our trial results showing that CBD was safe and well-tolerated for most patients and that seizures dropped significantly.” He also added, “But before we raise hopes for families who regularly deal with the devastation of treatment-resistant epilepsy, more research, including further studies through our ongoing randomized controlled trial, are needed to definitively recommend CBD as a treatment to patients with uncontrolled seizures.”
Amongst those chosen for the study, 76% (162) received an additional 12 weeks of treatment after their first dose of CBD, which were included in the tolerability and safety analysis. 64% (137) of the original study group were analyzed to ascertain the drug’s efficacy.
After the 4, 8 and 12-week marks, lab screenings were conducted on the CBD treatment. The patients received an oral treatment of CBD from 2-5 mg/kg per day, with the maximum dose being 25 mg/kg or 50 mg/kg per day, which depended on the location of the trial. Parents and caregivers recorded the seizures in diaries, which were reviewed by the study team during their visits.
Variable responses of the individual seizure types to the cannabidiol (CBD) treatment were shown by this study. To explain this better, there was a 34.6% median change in total seizures, the greatest reduction being in patients with atonic and focal seizures that were followed by tonic-clonic or tonic seizures; and 2 patients showed no signs at all during the entire 12-week trial.
Only 5 patients had to completely discontinue the treatment due to adverse events, such as fatigue, decreased appetite, drowsiness, diarrhea and convulsions.
“I empathize with parents who are looking for answers and will try anything to help their children suffering the devastating effects of intractable epilepsy. But we must let the science and not anecdotal success stories and high media interest, lead this national discussion,” Dr. Devinsky said. He then continued with, “Taking CBD in a controlled medical setting is vastly different from going to a state where medical marijuana is legal and experimenting with dosing and CBD strains.”
This study has shined the spotlight on medical marijuana treatments yet again. There are many ailments that can be helped by this miracle plant, yet it still remains illegal in most states. We can hope that as more of these studies come to light, the resistance towards it will begin to recede.
Rick Elmer is a freelance writer from Texas who enjoys learning about health and nutrition while striving to make the world a better place. He is passionate about music, meditation, art, traveling the world and helping those around him.
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