This clinical trial provides explores the use of CBD as an add-on therapy for treatment-resistant epilepsy in children and young adults. Is cannabidiol effective in reducing seizures? Are there detrimental side effects?
What is EpilepsyEpilepsy is a chronic noncommunicable disease of the brain that affects people of all ages. Epilepsy is a common condition that affects the brain and causes frequent seizures. Seizures are defined as spontaneous bursts of electrical activity in the brain that transiently affect its normal function and can result in several symptoms such as:
- Involuntary jerking and shaking
- Unusual smells or tastes
- Tingling sensation in the limbs
- Loss of awareness
- Upward rolling of eyeballs
- Frothing from the mouth
- Tongue bite
- Urinary and fecal incontinence during the acute episode
- Loss of consciousness or collapse
According to World Health Organization, epilepsy affects 50 million people worldwide making it one of the most common neurological conditions globally.
Each year 5 million new patients are diagnosed with epilepsy and in many areas, these patients and their families suffer from social stigma and discrimination.
TreatmentsAlthough many conventional epilepsy treatments are in common use, almost a third of patients with epilepsy have a treatment-resistant form.
In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the potential of cannabis to treat various health conditions, including epilepsy. However, scientific data in this field is scarce.
In a bid to rectify this, a new clinical trial was conducted to evaluate the safety and efficacy of cannabis as an add-on therapy for children and young adults with treatment-resistant epilepsy.
The Wonder DrugCannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical in the Cannabis sativa plant, also known as cannabis or hemp. One specific form of CBD is approved as a drug in the U.S. for seizures.
Clinical TrialThe study involved 214 participants at 11 centers across the United States, aged 1 to 30 years old, with various forms of epilepsy that did not respond to conventional treatments. They were randomly assigned to receive either CBD or a placebo in addition to their current medications. The CBD was given orally at 2-5 mg/kg/day and gradually increased over a period of 12 weeks to a maximum dosage of 25-50 mg/kg per day.
The researchers found that there was a greater reduction in the frequency of seizures in the group receiving CBD compared to the placebo group. There was a 36.5% reduction in the number of seizures in the CBD group in contrast to the placebo group which had a reduction of 17%. Additionally, 5% of the CBD group experienced complete seizure freedom, compared to 0% in the placebo group.
The study also evaluated the safety of CBD as an add-on therapy. The researchers found that the most common side effects of CBD were diarrhea, decreased appetite, and sleepiness. However, these side effects were generally mild and resolved over time.
Overall, the study suggests that CBD may be a safe and effective therapy for children and young adults with treatment-resistant epilepsy.
TakeawayIn conclusion, this clinical trial provides promising evidence for the use of CBD as an add-on therapy for treatment-resistant epilepsy in children and young adults. However, individuals with epilepsy need to discuss all treatment options with their healthcare provider before commencing any treatment regimen.