Study Proves CBD Treatment for Seizures
Anyone in the cannabis field considering themselves an expert should be discussing this study released yesterday. Until now, I have not had a strong stance on the efficacy of cannabidiol (CBD), THC‘s non-psychoactive cannabinoid archetype. Today, we can say that CBD has medical benefit because there is a study that proves it works for seizures.
New England Journal of Medicine
That’s right, folks. This is the Big Leagues. We are not talking about studies consisting of online questionnaires and facebook surveys. We are talking double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized, pre-screened, multicentered trial conducted at 23 centers in the United states and Europe. Adherence to standards was monitored by third-party oversight. The results were carefully scrutinized before publication in the world’s most powerful medical journal, The New England Journal of Medicine.
The skinny on this study is that 120 children with a rare disorder called Dravet syndrome were treated for uncontrolled seizures that had already failed conventional medication(s). They were randomized into two groups receiving an oil-based medicine. The medication included CBD in only one of the groups but neither healthcare providers nor patients or their caregivers knew which group they were in or whose medications had CBD. Caretakers were instructed on monitoring for seizures closely, documenting each one during the course of the trial.
First, a baseline period of 4 weeks was used to “tare” the effects of patients’ existing home medications by keeping their usual treatment consistent, eliminating any effects from recent changes to their antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Then, a 2 week dose escalation was administered twice a day by mouth to reach the predetermined highest dose approved safe to the patients (dosed by weight) and maintained on that dose for 12 weeks. Afterwards, the CBD group was weaned off the CBD and all participants were invited to continue in an open-label trial to study long-term safety and benefit.
The trial found a drop of 43% in tonic-clonic seizures in the treatment group (compared to 2% in the non-treated group). The frequency of all seizure types roughly halved. The effect was present within the first month and did not change much over time. These results are statistically significant.
There were three significant adverse effects worth noting. Somnolence was one of them but most of those children were taking a drug called clobazam, which may have been the reason. CBD is not psychoactive and doesn’t have that effect. Almost 30% of children treated had a loss of appetite. Cannabis effects on appetite have been appreciated for centuries so this is likely to be very real. It would be interesting to analyze this group of patients in more detail. Finally, diarrhea was experienced in one third of those receiving CBD. Some participants had abnormalities on blood tests checking liver function, all of which were on valproic acid, a seizure med known to do this. These side-effects ceased and normalized, respectively, after lowering the dose of CBD in all but one patient who continued to suffer a loss of appetite.
It’s interesting to note that the side-effect of somnolence was not linked to the efficacy of the drug, meaning those who had better benefit from treatment with CBD did not have an increased likelihood of daytime sleepiness. This makes sense to me because of the absence of psychotropic properties in CBD. It suggests that CBD’s anti-seizure mechanism of action does not cause a cerebral slowing-down of activity the way traditional medications do.
What This Means
It means the medical community has to reconsider not only canabidiol, but also each member within the class of cannabinoids, including (and especially) tetrahydrocanabinol (THC).
We have entered a new era, ladies and gentleman: a time after CBD was proven to work.
So next time you hear someone say, there’s not enough studies… point them this direction.
So Get the Word Out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Want to educate your followers? Share this article and spread the word on your own pages. Seriously. This is worth shouting out loud and typing in ALL CAPS with exclamation points running off the page. People will like to hear about this. They will learn something very important today.
Comment below if you have any questions or something to add and keep checking the blog for more posts. The next one is going to be super exciting!