In 2018, great strides were made in the treatment of two rare forms of epilepsy when the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of a new oral cannabidiol (CBD) solution called Epidiolex in the treatment of two rare forms of epilepsy; Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. The medication is approved in epilepsy suffers age two and over. Such a landmark approval is opening the door for additional medical research to study the undeniable benefits of marijuana to treat epilepsy.
The Approval of CBD Epidiolex to Treat Epilepsy
The approval of Epidiolex faced major hurdles because marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). To gain FDA approval, the medication needed to undergo extensive testing and documentation of the benefits needed to be clearly outlined and irrefutable. Clearly, the ability of cannabidiol (CBD) to treat and reduce epileptic seizures is impressive.
The History of Charlotte’s Web to Treat Epilepsy
In 2015, the Stanley brothers made history when they developed a CBD-dominate strain of marijuana for a little girl suffering from Dravet’s syndrome. Their goal in creating the strain was to have a plant that contained little or no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) but was rich in CBD. When Charlotte’s Web oil was administered to the young girl named Charlotte her epileptic seizures stopped. The young girl had previously lived with several seizures per day but with the CBD oil, she rarely, if ever, suffered from seizures. The Stanley brothers called the new CBD-dominate strain ‘Charlotte’ after the little girl who spurred its development and ‘web’ because of the visible spider-like trichomes that coat the plant’s buds.
Studies Concerning Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy
Exciting research continues in discovering the many benefits of medical marijuana in reducing epileptic seizures. Physicians in California, Maine, and Washington have started to report exactly how their epileptic patients are benefiting from cannabis to control their seizures. Also, studies are underway around the world. In one study, 272 epileptic patients were treated using medical marijuana. The study clearly showed that 86 percent of the participants experienced seizure reduction and a further 10 percent had no seizures while taking medical marijuana at a low dose of only 0.02 mg cannabinoids per kilogram per day.
CBD Vs. THC to Treat Epilepsy
Recent studies show that CBD surpasses THC in curbing epileptic seizures. Also, researchers have found that patients do not develop a tolerance to CBD as they often do to THC. In addition, there appears to be no risk of rebound seizures or withdrawal. However, this does not mean that THC is not beneficial for epileptic patients. Many researchers also believe that some patients respond better to ‘whole plant’ treatments using THC and CBD marijuana. It appears to depend on the cause of epilepsy which treatment works the best.
Around the world, medical research is taking place to study the cannabinoids found in marijuana to determine their ability to effectively treat epilepsy. Many patients are rejoicing at the ability to use an all-natural plant-based product to control their epileptic disorder instead of pharmaceutical medications that are often ineffective or have many unpleasant side effects. If you suffer from epilepsy, then you should discuss the possibility of using medical marijuana or a CBD product to reduce or eliminate your seizures.