Cannabidiol Eases Epileptic Seizures: Study

Around 40 percent of children with an uncommon disorder had 50 percent fewer seizures while taking the marijuana derivativ

Cannabidiol, a compound derived from marijuana, lessoned seizures in some children with a severe epileptic disorder, according to a double-blind, placebo-controlled study published yesterday (May 25) in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study was sponsored by GW Pharmaceuticals and, as STAT News reported, is the first rigorous study to demonstrate that cannabis components can successfully treat such seizures.

Cannabidiol is not psychoactive and thus does not affect cognition or make users high. Parents have been using it to treat their children’s seizures and have anecdotally noted its efficacy.

The study included 120 children ages two to 18 with Dravet syndrome—a genetic disorder that manifests itself in early childhood and results in frequent, prolonged seizures and developmental delays. Children were divided into two groups, and administered either cannabidiol or a placebo for 14 weeks. Cannabidiol reduced the median number of seizures that children experienced per month by about 50 percent, while placebo reduced median monthly seizures by about 5 percent.

“We now have solid, rigorous scientific evidence that in this specific syndrome, cannabidiol is effective at reducing seizures,”

neurologist and lead author Orrin Devinsky

Devinsky added that the treatment was “not a panacea.” Cannabidiol worked better for some versus others. The treatment was associated with various side effects including fever, sleepiness, diarrhea, and abnormal liver function, according to the study.

Resourse: The Scientist

Cannabidiol Quells Seizures

The marijuana-derived compound shows promise in treating rare forms of epilepsy that cause children to have seizures multiple times a day. Cannabidiol, one of dozens of active cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant, can reduce the frequency of seizures in patients suffering from two rare forms of epilepsy called Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes, according to a study to be presented next week (April 22) at a meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.

More than 135 participants, most of whom were children, have completed a 12-week course of a liquid form of the drug, and more than half have experienced a significant reduction in the number of seizures they suffered, which averaged a startling 95 per month prior to the trial. A dozen or so patients were completely seizure-free after three months.

“We’re very encouraged by the data,”

lead researcher Orrin Devinsky, director of the New York University Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, told The Washington Post. A larger, double-blind trial will be next, he added. More research is also needed to determine whether cannabidiol could benefit people with other forms of epilepsy.

Resourse: The Scientist

Medical Marijuana and Cancer

Studies have looked at the possible benefits medical marijuana can have on cancer symptoms and treatment side effects. Nausea and vomiting . A few small studies have found that smoking marijuana can ease these side effects of chemotherapy. The FDA has also approved dronabinol (Marinol, Syndros) and nabilone (Cesamet), man-made cannabinoids, to treat these symptoms when other nausea medications don’t work.

Some studies have found that smoked marijuana can ease cancer-related pain. It binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and other parts of the body. Marijuana may also ease inflammation, which can also help with pain. Nerve pain . Neuropathy is weakness, numbness, or pain caused by nerve damage. It can happen as a result of chemotherapy or other cancer treatments. A few studies have found that smoking marijuana can help this specific type of nerve pain.

Resourse: WebMD

Effectiveness Of Medical Cannabis

Outside of Canada and the Netherlands, there is no inherent difference between herbal cannabis used recreationally and that used medically. For that reason, medical cannabis may be best understood as the use of cannabis under ongoing medical supervision, with an established diagnosis of the target symptom-disease complex. Herbal cannabis is used in conjunction with, or in consideration of, other pharmacological and nonpharmacological approaches and with the goal of reaching prespecified treatment outcomes.

Medical cannabis is most frequently administered either by smoking or vaporization or in the form of edible preparations. None of these approaches has been standardized, however, and the effectiveness of edible cannabis preparations has not been evaluated in clinical trials. Smoked cannabis has been evaluated in a small number of randomized controlled trials involving patients suffering from neuropathic pain conditions.

In each of the trials, patients experienced a reduction in pain intensity at THC concentrations of 3.9 percent or higher. A zero percent THC dose was used as the placebo condition; this formulation was created with cannabis from which all cannabinoid substances had been removed by alcohol extraction. Adverse events from these studies were mild to moderate and included drowsiness, dizziness, and dry mouth.

No serious or severe adverse events were reported.

A major safety concern associated with medical cannabis is the possibility of medical use encouraging or transitioning into recreational use, which is associated with side effects that range from acute to chronic. Acute effects include intoxication, impaired cognition and motor function, elevated heart rate, anxiety, and psychosis in predisposed individuals. Chronic effects include bronchitis (from smoked cannabis), psychological cannabis dependency, loss of motivation, and cognitive deficits. By and large these effects seem to disappear on abstinence.

Resourse: Britannica