In many ways, the entire medical marijuana surge was inspired by the ability of cannabis to treat seizures. In 2015, a group of Colorado-based marijuana growers, brothers Joel, Jesse, Jon, Jordan, Jared, Josh, and Austin Stanley, grew a potent cannabidiol (CBD) dominate strain of marijuana in an effort to help a young girl named Charlotte who suffered from a severe form of Dravet syndrome which caused her to have numerous seizures every day. Upon administration of the CBD oil, Charlotte’s seizures all but ceased.
Charlotte’s Web to Treat Seizures
The strain developed by the Stanley brothers was named, ‘Charlotte’s Web’ in honor of the little girl whose seizures it helped. Also, it was dubbed ‘web’ due to the extensive trichomes that cover the strain’s buds and give it a spider-web-like appearance. The CBD-dominate strain is often used to treat epileptic seizures and for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Unlike THC-laden strains, Charlotte’s Web has no psychoactive side effects.
Medical Marijuana and Seizure Reduction
Since those early days, medical marijuana to treat seizures has evolved even further. Physicians in California, Washington, and Maine have teamed up to study and report on the use of medical marijuana to treat seizures. In a study, cannabis was used to treat 272 patients with vary degrees of seizures. In 86 percent of the cases, the sufferers experienced some reduction in seizure frequency and in 10 percent of the patients they underwent complete seizure remission while using medical marijuana. Even at low doses such as 0.02 mg cannabinoids per kilogram per day, the seizures were reduced or eliminated.
CBD May be Best to Treat Seizures
Studies have shown that CBD appears to have a defined anticonvulsant profile that far surpasses that of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Also, unlike THC, there is no risk of developing a tolerance to CBD. There appears to be no evidence of withdrawal or rebound seizures associated with the use of CBD.
The Legalization of Epidiolex to Treat Seizures
In 2018, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of an oral cannabidiol (CBD) solution called Epidiolex to treat two rare forms of epilepsy, Lennox–Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, in patients aged two and older. To gain FDA approval of a substance that has been labeled by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a Schedule 1 drug, extensive and very solid evidence must be presented that clearly shows that the substance is beneficial. Undoubtedly, the ability of CBD to treat and eliminate seizures is irrefutable.
Extensive medical research continues to study the effects of the cannabinoids found in marijuana for treating or reducing seizures in many epileptic medical conditions. At this point, CBD truly has amazing seizure reduction capabilities. However, many researchers are also focusing on the benefits of the ‘whole plant’ marijuana experience in reducing seizures. Many patients appear to respond favorably to a combination of CBD and THC, but others benefit more from CBD-dominate strains of cannabis.