CBD may benefit children with epilepsy
A systematic review of studies on the use of CBD in childhood epilepsy shows that this component has great promise in reducing seizures.
In recent years, cannabinoids, the active chemicals in medical marijuana, have been increasingly touted as a potential treatment for a range of neurological and psychiatric disorders.
In a review of developmental medicine and childhood neurology, researchers compare their effectiveness with antiepileptic drugs for children with epilepsy.
A cannabinoid, called cannabidiol (CBD), has the most evidence of anti-epileptic efficacy and does not have psychoactive effects. There has been little evidence of its use outside of anecdotal reports, until last year. The review notes that in three randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trials of Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (two forms of childhood epilepsy), CBD produced a median reduction of 38% to 41% of all seizures versus 13% to 19% with placebo.
Likewise, CBD resulted in a response rate of 39-46% (50% reduction in seizures or gout attacks) compared to 14-27% with placebo. CBD was well tolerated, but sedation, diarrhea, and loss of appetite were common.
“The community debate over the use of CBD and access to this anti-epileptic therapy has been heated,” the authors wrote. “With further trials and a better understanding of its role, the place of CBD in our antiepileptic arsenal and its impact on co-morbidities will become clearer.”