Studies centered around the benefits of marijuana on epilepsy began way back in 1949. Despite half the participants in a 1978 study becoming seizure-free after three months of cannabidiol (CBD) usage, a substance found in marijuana, scientists disregard the success due to the limited number of participants. Since then, further studies with more participants have confirmed medical marijuana effectively treats at at least one form of epilepsy, Dravet Syndrome.
What is Dravet Syndrome and How Can CBD Help?
Dravet Syndrome Spectrum is a rare, genetic form of epilepsy with an onset during the first year of life. This disorder causes a range of severe, uncontrollable, and prolonged seizures which do not respond to most conventional epilepsy treatments. Because of this, medical professionals advocate appropriate and aggressive seizure management techniques. Children who suffer from Dravet Syndrome are rarely expected to live past their 20th birthday.
Twenty studies conducted from 1949-2008 confirmed success for participants through CBD for the length of the trials. A more recent double-blind study, conducted over a 14-week period after a 4-week baseline period, for a total of 18 weeks, has now verified that CBD reduces seizures in children and young adults suffering with Dravet Syndrome.
During one study, 120 participants with Dravet Syndrome, ranging between the ages of two and eighteen years old, were randomly given either a placebo solution or an oral solution of CBD oil. The group receiving the CBD solution saw convulsive seizures decrease on average from 12.4 to 5.9 per month. Forty-three percent of the CBD group experienced 50% fewer convulsive seizures. Five percent of the participants in the CBD group were seizure-free by the end of the study. Side effects were reported as mild to moderate.
Although cannabidiol may not be a cure-all for epilepsy or Dravet Syndrome, the reduction in seizures offers hope to families who have been desperate for additional treatment options. Cannabis and cannabis-derived medications clearly provide great promise as a treatment for seizure disorders.