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Cannabidiol for Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a supported condition under the Compassionate Use Act in the state of Texas. Below, you can find all information related to the efficacy of medical CBD in Texas and epilepsy.

Approximately 30 percent of people with epilepsy don’t respond well to conventional treatments, but cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant, has emerged as a promising alternative treatment option.

Research indicates CBD treatments may decrease the frequency of convulsive seizures in some patients suffering with intractable epilepsy, and numerous patients and caregivers have come forward across the country in recent years reporting positive responses to CBD.

A landmark study published in 2017 in the New England Journal of Medicine compared CBD with a placebo on 120 children and young adults with drug-resistant seizures symptomatic of Dravet Syndrome. CBD use cut the occurrence of seizures by nearly half for 43 percent of trial patients.

Even before this study, the effectiveness of CBD for seizure disorders has been known as early as 1980, when Raphael Mechoulam – the Israeli biochemist credited with the isolation of both CBD and THC – released findings revealing successful outcomes for epilepsy patients undergoing CBD treatments.

In 2013, when neurologist Sanjay Gupta told the story of Charlotte Figi, a young girl suffering from Dravet syndrome whose symptoms greatly improved with the use of CBD, the world began to take notice. Gupta’s CNN special “Weed” highlighted Figi’s story and triggered a wave of states enacting laws that allow for the use of CBD treatments for epilepsy.

Epilepsy as a Qualifying Condition in Texas

Since 2015, the State of Texas (and the country overall) has been listening, watching, and understanding how CBD can have a positive impact on epilepsy.

The interest began with promising results from several animal studies.

Multiple animal models have demonstrated cannabinoids can effectively reduce seizure frequency and mortality in epilepsy, according to an October 2015 report published in the journal Neurotherapeutics.

The report’s analysis of 34 animal studies found CBD prevented or arrested seizures in 80.5 percent of seizure models in rats and mice, and produced no anticonvulsive effects in 19.5 percent of models. Notably, CBD did not increase seizure frequency in any animal models.

A study published May 25, 2017 in the New England Journal of Medicine found CBD treatments decreased the frequency of convulsive seizures in children with Dravet syndrome, a severe and potentially fatal epilepsy disorder.

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human trial included 120 children and young adults with Dravet syndrome and drug-resistant seizures. Participants were randomly selected to receive either a CBD oral solution (at a dose of 20mg per kilogram of body weight per day) or a placebo, in addition to standard antiepileptic treatment, over a 14-week treatment period. Here are the results:

  • CBD reduced convulsive seizure frequency by approximately 23 percentage points more than placebo
  • 43 percent of patients receiving CBD treatments saw at least a 50 percent reduction in convulsive seizure frequency during the trial
  • Five percent of patients receiving CBD became totally seizure-free

CBD & Medical Cannabis Compared to Traditional Epilepsy Treatments

When trying to understand how CBD works as a treatment for epilepsy, you need to know that because of its Schedule 1 status, it has been difficult for researchers to study CBD effectively. However, there are research findings and anecdotal evidence that suggest CBD can help to treat epilepsy and it’s symptoms.

One recent study funded by the biopharmaceutical company GW Pharmaceuticals released promising findings in May 2017 from a rigorous double-blind placebo-controlled CBD trial involving children and young adults who suffer from the severe form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome.

Despite evidence indicating CBD may be a promising treatment for intractable and hard-to-treat epilepsy conditions, marijuana is not without side effects. Open-labeled studies on CBD have shown patients may experience side effects such as sleepiness, diarrhea, fatigue, and decreased appetite.

Currently, AEDs (antiepileptic drugs) are the most common form of treatment for epilepsy. The Epilepsy Foundation reports that the majority of epilepsy patients (up to 70 percent) respond well to AEDs and may be able to completely control their seizures using these standard pharmaceutical treatments.

The main concern with AEDs are the wide array of side effects a patient can have depending on the type of medication they take. Depending on which medication, or combination of medications, a patient uses, potential risks and side effects will vary. Fatigue is one of the most commonly reported adverse effects across all AED options, and this was also a common side effect reported for CBD treatments. However, most AEDs are accompanied by a longer list of potential adverse effects than CBD treatment is – some of which, such as liver toxicity, can be potentially very dangerous.

The question of whether CBD or AEDs will work best in treating an epilepsy patient’s seizures is ultimately a decision that needs to be carefully discussed and determined under a physician’s care.

Both CBD and AED treatments often require a process of trial and error to find the most effective strain or pharmaceutical treatment option for an individual patient.

Epilepsy (Qualifying Condition) Resources

Seizure Management Resources

  • Trial of Cannabidiol for Drug-Resistant Seizures in the Dravet Syndrome  |  Read More
  • Cannabidiol in patients with seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 trial  |  Read More
  • Effect of Cannabidiol on drop seizures in the Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome  |  Read More

Epilepsy Studies & Resources 

  • Perceived Efficacy Of Cannabidiol-enriched Cannabis Extracts For Treatment Of Pediatric Epilepsy  |  Read More
  • Cannabinoids and Epilepsy  |  Read More
  • CBD-enriched Medical Cannabis For Intractable Pediatric Epilepsy  |  Read More
  • Efficacy Of Artisanal Preparations Of Cannabidiol For The Treatment Of Epilepsy  |  Read More
  • Efficacy Of CBD-enriched Medical Cannabis For Treatment Of Refractory Epilepsy In Children  |  Read More

Articles About Epilepsy & Cannabidiol

The Texas Original blog regularly publishes new articles on epilepsy and cannabis in the State of Texas. Check articles below for studies, customer success stories, research, and legislation on cannabis and its effect on epilepsy as a qualifying condition in Texas.

For any questions or concerns, please feel free to get in touch with us at the form.

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