A new study has demonstrated that CBD oil could help dramatically improve the lives of children living with a rare form of childhood epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome.
The findings, published in the latest issue of the journal Neurology, came from assessing 199 children who have this condition. They were split into three groups and either given a placebo, highly purified CBD at 10mg per day or highly purified CBD at 20mg per day. Their seizure frequencies were assessed during the four weeks prior to treatment and throughout the 14 weeks of treatment.
Researchers assessed that the children receiving 10mg per day of CBD had their total number of convulsive seizures reduced by an average of 49%, while those receiving 20mg per day of CBD had a 46% reduction. The placebo group recorded only a 27% reduction. Nearly 49% of the children in the 20mg per day group recorded a reduction of convulsive seizures that was greater than half.
Current medications for this severe condition are unable to completely remove or control seizures, which makes the findings encouraging for CBD eventually becoming part of an effective treatment plan for Dravet syndrome.
“The children in this study had already tried an average of four epilepsy drugs with no success, and [when the study was conducted] were taking an average of three additional drugs, so to have this measure of success with cannabidiol is a major victory,” said study author Ian Miller, a neurologist at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Florida. “It’s exciting to be able to offer another alternative for children with this debilitating form of epilepsy, and their families.”
Side effects including decreased appetite and fatigue tracked at around 90% for all three groups. However, only the group taking 20 mg of CBD per day had any participant dropouts from the study due to these effects. The authors concluded that while both 10 mg per day and 20 mg per day of CBD greatly reduced seizure frequency, serving size increases of CBD should not exceed 10 mg per day and should be tailored to the individual child.
In June 2018, the Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex, a prescription drug designed to help treat two rare forms of severe childhood epilepsy that include Dravet syndrome. Epidiolex contains CBD and was the first cannabis-based medication to ever be approved by the FDA.