Studies indicate that children who suffer from seizures respond positively to treatments of purified cannabinoid (CBD). UCSF reports that this is promising news since seizures can affect brain development and produce long-term impairment in children whose brains are still growing. In scientific research studies, the children were treated with Epidiolex, a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-free cannabinoid in liquid form.
There have always been rumors that cannabis worked to treat seizures. Now that the legalization of medical marijuana is starting to get some traction, scientists are starting to view CBD with renewed optimism and interest. The good news is that CBD can't be used to "get high."
Scientific American reports that this purer form of CBD has been stripped of the dangerous THC, which is the component that causes addition, possibly creating a different problem. THC is also blamed for cognitive impairment side-effects.
UCSF reports that research of 162 children treated with Epidiolex in 11 U.S. epilepsy centers scattered across the country showed impressive results of a 36.5 decrease in the number of seizures per month. Participants in the trial ranged in age from one to 30 years old and most did not respond to other antiepileptic treatments. Sufferers of Dravet syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that is a particularly serious condition marked by disabling seizures that often occur on a daily basis, were also included in the trial.
Concerns about the Treatment
All the good news related to epidiolex does not come without some drawbacks. NBC News reports that some participants had to stop the trial due to side-effects. Fortunately, most of the side-effects were considered to be mild. Vomiting, fever and signs of complaints about fatigue represented the majority of the problems experienced.
Like any new drug that has yet to be tested and understood, CBD still has a lot to prove. Scientists admit that they know very little about how the drug works and why it has been successful in improving seizures for some patients who have never been helped by other treatments. That's why scientists are cautiously-optimistic.
The climate is right to move forward with more studies of CBD. Cannabis has finally arrived on the medical scene without as much social backlash from the anti-drug community as was once common. Many scientists and researchers admit that the risks are low enough to warrant the risks associated with this treatment.
There is no reason for children who are left suffering with treatments that don't work, if CBD can provide some relief. As is always the case with new medical treatments, more data is needed to better understand how best to use CBD when treating seizures in children.