Search Results for: epilepsy

Curt’s Cannabis Corner: CBD For Epilepsy

Welcome to Season 2, Episode 2 of Curt’s Cannabis Corner, an education series from technical writer Curt Robbins at Higher Learning LV and MJNews Network intended for cannabis and hemp professionalsand the enterprise organizations that employ themwho wish to gain a better understanding of the nuanced biochemistry, volatile business environment, and detailed regulatory oversight of this newly legal herb. 

This week, readers learn about the recent scientific investigative work of Dr. Nicolas Schlienz, a research scientist and clinical psychologist. Schlienz was recently appointed to the position of Research Director for Realm of Caring, a pioneering non-profit cannabinoid research organization based in Colorado Springs with ties to the popular vertically integrated brand Charlotte’s Web.  


CURT’S

CANNABIS

CORNER 

CBD

For

Epilepsy

 

By Curt Robbins

 


 

Dr. Nicolas Schlienz & CBD for Epilepsy

In July 2021, Schlienz coauthored a study entitled “Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Evaluation of Cannabinoid (CBD) Product Use and Health Among People with Epilepsy” that was published in the peer-reviewed journal Epilepsy & Behavior

“This study represents a refreshing collaboration of scientists, clinicians, patients, and advocates,” said Jay Salpekar, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at Johns Hopkins University. Salpekar said that the study affirms that “cannabinoid products have value in the treatment of epilepsyas well as associated neuropsychiatric conditions.”

The study observed that cannabis “and select chemicals found in the cannabis plant have received significant clinical attention as evidence accumulates suggesting potential utility for varied health conditions.” It noted that multiple recent studies have “demonstrated the safety and efficacy of CBD in the reduction of seizures for several specific epilepsy syndromes.”

The study stated that the efficacy of CBD for those who suffer epilepsy goes beyond seizure control. “CBD products may prove valuable for their effects on psychosocial function and psychiatric health,” stating that a variety of behavior issues, including psychiatric disorders, are “overrepresented among people with epilepsy.”   

This study is of importance because it was conducted on human participants, not in test tubes or on animal subjects. Participants were “predominantly Caucasian (74 percent) with a roughly even split by gender (55 percent female), an average of 21 years old (51 percent were under 18), and the majority (90 percent) had no history of non-medicinal (‘recreational’) cannabis use.” 

93 percent of the study participants reported epilepsy as their primary medical condition. “The other seven percent reported epilepsy secondary to cancer, autoimmune conditions, neuropsychiatric conditions, chronic pain, insomnia/sleep disorders, or other conditions.” 

How They Did It 

The study participants employed a variety of cannabis-based products in the treatment of their epilepsy, including inflammation-reducing CBD, psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and several other cannabinoids that spanned anti-inflammatory cannabigerol (CBG), relaxant and sedative cannabinol (CBN), anti-nausea agent cannabidiolic acid (CBDA; the acidic precursor to CBD), and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV; the varin version of THC), which is known to reduce appetite. 

“For purpose of analysis, it is assumed that these participants were using an artisanal CBD product. A subset of artisanal CBD users reported also using known THC-dominant products containing high concentrations of both CBD and THC or products in which the primary chemical constituent was a minor cannabinoid such as CBG, CBN, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-A), CBD-A, or THC-V.”

The study also found the safety profile of CBD to be acceptable for patients and consumers, particularly for those using it to treat epilepsy. “Among the 280 baseline artisanal CBD users, the majority did not report an adverse effect.” 

What They Found

For those who suffer epilepsy and are seeking relief from CBD, the results of this scientific investigation reveal potentially limited efficacy of this popular cannabinoid for seizure management specifically. “No group differences were observed in seizure control based on self-reported number of past month seizures,” concluded the study’s authors.

Elaborated the scientists: “Seizure control did not differ based on artisanal CBD product use in this study. This may be related to a number of factors, including those that could not be controlled in [an] observational setting.”

Significant CBD Benefits Identified

However, the researchers noted that participants enjoyed a range of significant benefits from CBD, including “generally higher quality of life, lower psychiatric symptom scores, and improved sleep.” The study also reported that “artisanal CBD users” displayed considerably “better epilepsy medication tolerability.”    

Concluded the study, “Compared with controls, artisanal CBD users had greater health satisfaction.” It also found that the CBD-using epilepsy patients who participated in the research displayed “lower anxiety and depression.”

Despite its efficacy for many of the symptoms that accompany epilepsy, including psychological disorders like anxiety, depression, and insomnia, this particular study did not find that the cannabinoid CBD lowered the incidence or severity of seizure activity as experienced by those with epilepsy. 

Based on the observational and participant self-report nature of the study, the scientists noted that their results may be influenced by the loss of control that is inherent in observation research of this type. For a more comprehensive understanding of the topic, readers are encouraged to enroll in the Higher Learning LV seminar Understanding Cannabis.

Thanks for reading. Remember to #LearnAndTeachOthers at http://HigherLearningLV.co 

FDA Approves First Cannabis-Based Epilepsy Drug

MARYLAND: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Epidiolex (cannabidiol) [CBD] oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, in patients two years of age and older. This is the first FDA-approved drug that contains a purified drug substance derived from marijuana. It is also the first FDA approval of a drug for the treatment of patients with Dravet syndrome.

CBD is a chemical component of the Cannabis sativa plant, more commonly known as marijuana. However, CBD does not cause intoxication or euphoria (the “high”) that comes from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is THC (and not CBD) that is the primary psychoactive component of marijuana.

“This approval serves as a reminder that advancing sound development programs that properly evaluate active ingredients contained in marijuana can lead to important medical therapies. And, the FDA is committed to this kind of careful scientific research and drug development,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “Controlled clinical trials testing the safety and efficacy of a drug, along with careful review through the FDA’s drug approval process, is the most appropriate way to bring marijuana-derived treatments to patients. Because of the adequate and well-controlled clinical studies that supported this approval, prescribers can have confidence in the drug’s uniform strength and consistent delivery that support appropriate dosing needed for treating patients with these complex and serious epilepsy syndromes. We’ll continue to support rigorous scientific research on the potential medical uses of marijuana-derived products and work with product developers who are interested in bringing patients safe and effective, high quality products. But, at the same time, we are prepared to take action when we see the illegal marketing of CBD-containing products with serious, unproven medical claims. Marketing unapproved products, with uncertain dosages and formulations can keep patients from accessing appropriate, recognized therapies to treat serious and even fatal diseases.”

Dravet syndrome is a rare genetic condition that appears during the first year of life with frequent fever-related seizures (febrile seizures). Later, other types of seizures typically arise, including myoclonic seizures (involuntary muscle spasms). Additionally, status epilepticus, a potentially life-threatening state of continuous seizure activity requiring emergency medical care, may occur. Children with Dravet syndrome typically experience poor development of language and motor skills, hyperactivity and difficulty relating to others.

Lennox-Gastaut syndrome begins in childhood. It is characterized by multiple types of seizures. People with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome begin having frequent seizures in early childhood, usually between ages 3 and 5. More than three-quarters of affected individuals have tonic seizures, which cause the muscles to contract uncontrollably. Almost all children with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome develop learning problems and intellectual disability. Many also have delayed development of motor skills such as sitting and crawling. Most people with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome require help with usual activities of daily living.

“The difficult-to-control seizures that patients with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome experience have a profound impact on these patients’ quality of life,” said Billy Dunn, M.D., director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “In addition to another important treatment option for Lennox-Gastaut patients, this first-ever approval of a drug specifically for Dravet patients will provide a significant and needed improvement in the therapeutic approach to caring for people with this condition.”

Study: CBD Extracts Significantly Reduced Seizure Frequency In Children With Refractory Epilepsy

ISRAEL: The adjunctive use of CBD extracts is safe and effective in adolescent patients with refractory epilepsy, according to clinical data published online ahead of print in the journal Brain & Development.

Israeli researchers assessed the sustained daily use of extracted CBD oils in a cohort of young patients with treatment resistant epilepsy.

Thirty-five percent of participants experienced a reduction in mean monthly seizure frequency of 75 percent or greater following CBD treatment. Forty-one percent of patients either partially or completely tapered their use of anti-epileptic drugs during the study period due to improvements in their condition. Patients who were younger than ten years of age at treatment onset experienced higher improvement rates compared to older subjects. The most commonly reported adverse side-effect of CBD treatment was somnolence, which was reported in 14 percent of patients.

Authors concluded, “In concordance with recent encouraging evidence, this open-label study using parental report, showed that CBD- enriched cannabis extract appears to have potential anti-seizure effect as an add- on treatment in pediatric patients with refractory epilepsy, with a favorable safety profile.”

The findings are similar to those of other recent trials reporting that the use of CBD extracts reduces seizure frequency and improves other symptoms of epilepsy. Regulators at the US Food and Drug Administration are anticipated to grant market approval this summer to a proprietary formulation of CBD oil, known as Epidiolex, for the treatment of Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, two types of severe pediatric epilepsy.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Efficacy of CBD-enriched medical cannabis for treatment of refractory epilepsy in children and adolescents – An observational, longitudinal study,” appears in Brain & Development.

Review: Adjunctive Use Of Cannabinoids Efficacious In Patients With Treatment-Resistant Epilepsy

AUSTRALIA: The adjunctive use of cannabinoids, particularly CBD (cannabidiol), typically reduces seizure frequency and improves the quality of life in patients with intractable forms of epilepsy, according to a review of clinical data published in the Journal ofNeurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

Australian researchers reviewed data from six randomized, placebo-controlled studies, involving 555 patients, and from another 30 observational trials, involving an additional 2,865 patients. In the randomized trials, CBD administration was more effective than placebo in achieving complete seizure remission and in improving patients’ quality of life. In the observational trials, nearly half of patients achieved a greater than 50 percent reduction in seizure frequency.

Authors concluded: “We synthesized available evidence on the safety and efficacy of cannabinoids as an adjunctive treatment to conventional AEDs (anti-epileptic drugs) in treating drug-resistant epilepsy. In many cases, there was qualitative evidence that cannabinoids reduced seizure frequency in some patients, improved other aspects of the patients’ quality of life and were generally well tolerated with mild-to-moderate AEs (adverse events).

Earlier this year, FDA regulators announced that they will undertake a ‘priority review’ of randomized clinical trial data specific to the safety and efficacy of Epidiolex – a standardized, plant-derived CBD extract formulated by a British pharmaceutical company – for the treatment of pediatric epilepsy. The review is scheduled to be completed by June 27, 2018.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Evidence for cannabis and cannabinoids for epilepsy: A systematic review of controlled and observational evidence,” appears in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

New Jersey Teen With Epilepsy And Autism Wins Right To Take Medical Marijuana At School

NEW JERSEY: Genny Barbour, a New Jersey teen with epilepsy and autism, will return to school full time after winning the fight to have the medical marijuana oil she needs administered to her at school, her mother tells PEOPLE. 

“We never thought that it would happen,” says Lora Barbour, Genny’s mom. “It was Governor Christie who passed this bill. We thought we would have to battle everything through the court system.” 

Last week, Governor Chris Christie signed into law a bill – inspired by Genny – that authorizes parents or primary caregivers to administer edible medical marijuana to sick or disabled children at school, while protecting school districts from liability. This means Genny, 16, will be able to go back to school full-time – she’s been going for half-days so that she can get the dosage she needs. 

The Larc School in Bellmawr , which Genny attends, officially adopted the policy on Nov. 11 and appears to be the first school in the nation to permit medical marijuana on campus, executive director Susan Weiner told NJ.com

Texas Marijuana Legalization 2015: Cannabidoil Oil To Be Allowed For Epilepsy Treatment, Gov. Abbott Says

TEXAS:  Texas is expected Monday to loosen restrictions on a marijuana-related product for the first time in state hostory. Gov. Greg Abbott said Sunday that he will sign a bill that would legalize cannabis oil as a treatment for epilepsy, reported the San Antonio Express-News. The announcement came in the evening with a signing ceremony planned for Monday afternoon.

The legalization will have a very narrow scope. The legislation, Senate Bill 339, does not legalize marijuana for recreation or medical use — but rather specifies the single use of cannabis oil. Sponsored by Rep. Sen. Kevin Eltife and Rep. Stephanie Klick, the bill previously passed through both legislative chambers last month after emotional testimony from the parents of children with epilepsy.

The marijuana-derived cannabis oil has very little tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the active ingredient in pot. The dosage of THC is so low it does not produce the “high” associated with marijuana, reported KSAT in San Antonio. The product would be allowed for those who suffer from persistent and chronic seizures. Fourteen other states already have some sort of low-dose cannabis oil laws, reported KSAT. Support from marijuana advocates had previously been lackluster because of its wording — which could perhaps cause limitations in actually prescribing the oil — but it had also been hailed as a first step in in a long legalization process.

New Jersey School Won’t Let A Girl With Epilepsy Take Medical Marijuana

NEW JERSEY:  A school in New Jersey won’t allow a 16-year-old girl with epilepsy and autism to take medical marijuana, even if it helps reduce the seizures she experiences through the day.

“She could have Valium or oxycodone, but not medical marijuana,” her father, Roger Barbour, told NJ.com. “Other children can take their medicine. My daughter cannot.”

Since August, Genny Barbour has been taking three doses of cannabis oil throughout the day: in the morning, after school and before bed. Her mother and father say it’s transformed her life in ways that other medications — and brain surgery — couldn’t.

Genny’s doctor also recommended she take a fourth dose, during the school day. Although medical marijuana is legal for children in New Jersey, the Larc School — the private institution she attends in South Jersey’s Maple Shade School District — won’t allow it since marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

Virginia House Allows Marijuana Oils For Epilepsy

VIRGINIA:  Virginia’s Republican-dominated House of Delegates voted Tuesday for a bill that would protect users of a form of medical marijuana from state prosecution.

The legislation, which passed 98-0, would allow the use of two oils extracted from marijuana that lack the plant’s intoxicating properties but help alleviate debilitating seizures. The bill provides a way for epileptics or their legal guardians to avoid prosecution for possession of cannabidiol oil (also known as CBD) and THC-A oil.

“You can’t get high from it,” said David Albo (R-Fairfax), who sponsored the House bill.

The legislation has been pushed by parents of children with epilepsy, who they say their children could be helped by the oils.

 

Virginia Senate Approves Bill To Allow Marijuana Oils For Treating Epilepsy

VIRGINIA:  The Virginia Senate passed a bill Thursday that would allow people with severe epilepsy to possess a form of medical marijuana without fear of criminal prosecution.

The measure would allow the use of two oils extracted from marijuana that lack the plant’s intoxicating properties but help alleviate debilitating seizures. The bill provides a way for epileptics or their legal guardians to avoid prosecution for possession of cannabidiol oil (also known as CBD) and THC-A oil.

Sponsored by Sen. David W. Marsden (D-Fairfax), the bill passed with near-unanimous support. Sen. Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania) cast the lone vote against it.