NOV 04, 2021 6:38 AM PDT

Can Cannabidiol Be Used to Treat a Wide Variety of Seizure Disorders?

In 2015, it was estimated that nearly half a million children had active epilepsy, otherwise known as a seizure disorder, in the United States. Seizure disorders can be very debilitating, and when seizures frequently occur during child development, they can lead to devastating consequences such as impaired neurological and cognitive development. In some cases, a severe seizure disorder known as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome may be diagnosed in infancy or early childhood. Those with this disorder have different types of seizures at a high frequency. Treatment for this condition involves a combination of anti-seizure medications, lifestyle changes, and specific procedures performed in some cases. However, seizures are often treatment-resistant with this disorder, and many anti-seizure medications are very sedating. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a component of cannabis, and its anti-seizure properties have been well studied. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of highly purified CBD to treat certain seizure disorders, including Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

systematic review published in March 2021 reviewed 42 studies that included both adult and pediatric participants. A variety of study designs were reviewed, including randomized controlled trials. Endpoints included seizure reduction and seizure frequency. Improvements in these outcome measures were noted across studies examining the use of CBD to treat treatment-resistant epilepsy. 

Small study sizes can limit the statistical power associated with studies focused mainly on CBD to treat rare seizure disorders. The available literature suggests that no harmful impacts to cognitive function occur due to treatment with CBD and the tolerability profile is generally favorable. The above review strongly suggests that purified CBD may help treat many seizure disorders beyond rare disorders targeted in regulatory trials. Given the significant negative impact on public health associated with uncontrolled epilepsy, future trials should focus on broadening the use of purified CBD to treat a larger spectrum of seizure disorders. 

 

Sources: CDCCNS Drugs

About the Author
MD
Dr. Christopher DiMaio is a Science Writer at Labroots. He received his MD from Penn State College of Medicine in 2014. His academic and professional interests include Neuroscience, Behavioral health, Immunology, and Healthcare improvement, among others. He is an active part of his community.
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