Medical researchers are excited, as they have discovered that a component of cannabis might be effective in the treatment of epilepsy. Some substances found in the marijuana plant could be beneficial for the patients with certain forms of epilepsy which are difficult to treat. The component in question is cannabidiol, which is not psychoactive.
Certain epilepsy forms are harder to treat
The main thing that epilepsy medicine does is reduce seizures and make them less frequent. However, there are certain forms of epilepsy (such as Dravet or Lennox-Gastaut syndromes) which are harder to treat. This happens because patients experience more frequent seizures than sufferers of other forms of the disease.
Besides the ineffectiveness, patients could also face severe adverse reactions from the medication. They could face changes in their behavior, delays in their development, and could even have their cognitive abilities impaired. This required a quick solution which could help these patients control and treat their severe disease.
Cannabis contains two main substances. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive component, while cannabidiol (CBD) is the non-psychoactive one. Both substances were found effective in the treatment of several ailments, but such treatments faced controversy.
After a girl from Colorado who suffered from Dravet syndrome treated her disease with cannabis oil which was richer in CBD, researchers were inspired to test such products and prove their effectiveness. Charlotte Figi showed great improvement with her condition. The number of seizures was reduced from 300 per week to two or three per month.
Cannabidiol proves effective in cases of refractory epilepsy
Thus, researchers decided to test medication rich in cannabidiol against epilepsy. They performed a trial on 225 people around the age of 16 who suffered from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. They administered the patients cannabidiol oil and a placebo and looked if the incidence of drop seizures was reduced. The trial lasted for 14 weeks.
The results indicated the effectiveness of this treatment. Around 40 percent of the patients experienced a significant reduction of seizures. More precisely, the number of drop seizures per month decreased by 42 percent, which is a huge progress.
The cannabidiol treatment was administered with no fixed dosage, while the placebo had a fixed dosage. Despite the apparently chaotic way of treatment, the patients treated with cannabidiol experienced a visible improvement in their condition.
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