Study: Cannabis Treatment Can Reduce Kids’ Epileptic Seizures by 86%

December 16, 2021

The anti-seizure qualities of the cannabis plant can likely not be boiled down to a single compound, like cannabidiol (CBD), according to emerging research.

Studies in Australia have recently revealed numerous other compounds in the cannabis plant that also show anticonvulsant effects. Some of them could even be more powerful than CBD.

A small observational study in the United Kingdom now backs up those findings. When 10 children with intractable forms of epilepsy began using a medicine that contained the whole cannabis plant, including cannabidiols, terpenes, and flavonoids, their seizure frequency fell by an average of 86 percent.

The research was not randomized or placebo-controlled, however, these case studies show far greater success than the outcomes of CBD extracts alone.

Today, an oral extract of CBD, known as Epidyolex, is the only form of cannabis approved by the United States Federal Drug Agency (FDA) to treat severe seizures.

In placebo-controlled trials, however, Epidyolex doesn’t seem to work for more than half of all children with Dravet syndrome, which is a rare, drug-resistant form of epilepsy. Where it does work, studies show about a 32 percent decline in seizure frequency.

That’s a much lower rate of relief than what was found in children given medicine from the whole cannabis plant. While these initial findings will need to be supported by much larger sample sizes and in more controlled settings, they are extremely promising.

All 10 participants in the UK case series had previously not responded to CBD products.

“We are currently in [the] process of analyzing the respective components of each medication in this study which we plan to report on,” the authors of the case series write.

The realization that cannabis could help treat seizures was first documented in Western science by an Irish physician working in India in 1843. Since then, the plant has become embroiled in a legal and political storm that has set back formal research by decades.

Scientists are desperately trying to catch up, as the plant, considered illicit in many places around the world, finally begins to enter the drug and supplement market. Yet historically, the focus of formal research has been limited.

Most of us have heard of both CBD and THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the psychoactive part of the cannabis plant.

These two compounds are usually the only ones listed on different cannabis strains, and yet recent research suggests they aren’t necessarily what gives the plant its medicinal qualities, or even its different ‘highs’.

Instead, the combination of different cannabis compounds, some of which we have not even studied yet, could be far more important than any one substance on its own, despite what CBD marketing might try to sell you.

Flavonoids, for instance, are natural substances found in cannabis that are thought to bestow some anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties when found in other medicinal plants. They also make molecules 30 times more effective at reducing pain and inflammation than aspirin.

Read More

0 comment