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.

Families Prepare For New Georgia Medical Marijuana Law

GEORGIA:  People are gearing up to learn more about Georgia’s new medical marijuana law.

House Bill 1, known as “Haleigh’s Hope Act,” was overwhelmingly approved by the state legislature last month. It allows for patients to possess and use medical marijuana for a variety of illnesses…

Victoria Elizabeth was one of more than a dozen families who relocated to Colorado for access to cannabis oil they say eases the suffering of their children.

“I’ve heard other medical refugees say it’s like meeting your child or the first time,” Elizabeth said. “It almost sounds like a cliché until you actually get out there and you get your child on the medicine and finally get them to stop having seizures and you finally get to see the real child that’s been in there for 13 years.”

Georgia Boy Among First To Receive Experimental Medical Marijuana Drug

GEORGIA:  A 7-year-old boy is one of the first people in the country to receive a potent form of medical marijuana as part of an “extended use” clinical trial to reduce seizures.

Preston Weaver, who lives in Athens, Georgia, has Lennox-Gastaut syndrome which is a severe form of epilepsy. He experiences up to 100 seizures a day, although many are confined to his brain and aren’t noticeable to an observer. There is no known cure for the condition.

Many of the drugs available to treat the syndrome don’t work long term, especially for children. Even with more than a dozen medications Weaver has had no relief.

The active ingredient in Epidiolex, the experimental drug that Weaver and one other child are receiving, is called cannabidiol. It’s also the main active ingredient in marijuana though it doesn’t produce a high.

Moms’ Marijuana-For-Kids Campaign Seeks To Quiet Epilepsy

UTAH:  April Sintz is fighting to loosen marijuana laws for her 7-year-old epileptic son. She is one of hundreds of moms nationwide who have opened a new front in the drive to expand the drug’s legal use.

While supplying pot to a child is bound to raise eyebrows, Sintz said early evidence on the marijuana extract cannabidiol, also known as CBD, suggests it’s a potent anticonvulsant, with few dangerous side effects. That could help save the life of her son, Isaac, who has 30 seizures or so a day and suffers with kidney damage from his present treatments, she said.

“We’re probably going to lose our son to his kidneys or his seizures,” said Sintz, who lives in South Jordan, Utah, near Salt Lake City, and whose son had his first seizure at 6 months old. “We can’t find a medication to safely control those seizures, which is why we’re so excited for this oil.”