Wherever you turn in the United States and around the world in recent years, the legislation and legality around marijuana has been in a state of perpetual change. Hemp-based products have had a familiar market presence for many years and medicinal marijuana may be a buzz term, but without a doubt there’s been an explosion in the questions around exactly what marijuana’s true potential is.
While it’s believed that marijuana can help with everything from anxiety to treating the symptoms associated with chemotherapy, there’s still very little that we know about the substance’s capabilities. With approximately 1.25 million people using medical marijuana in the United States in 2016, it should be no surprise that there are increasingly more studies available that relate to the ways in which marijuana may be able to improve our health.
Fortunately, a number of recent studies on children with epilepsy have shown that cannabidiol (CBD), a compound found in the cannabis plant, can actually lessen the frequency of seizures associated with the disease. As regulations around medicinal and recreational marijuana continue to change, what’s the potential hope for helping to treat epilepsy with cannabidiol?
What to Know About Cannabidiol
Commonly known as CBD, cannabidiol can be found in the seeds, stalks and flowers of the well-known cannabis plant. There are many cannabinoids present in the plant, but because CBD exists in such high quantities, it can be extracted in the form of oil and used in a variety of products. While CBD is appealing because it’s non-psychoactive and doesn’t produce the high associated with marijuana, it’s the interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system that can make for its potential health benefits. Because the endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating the functions of the body, including mood, sleep and the immune system, it’s believed cannabis, which contains cannabinoids, can stimulate balance in the body. Given this interesting link, how it can improve life for children experiencing epilepsy is offering up hope to many.
What Are the Studies Saying?
Marijuana’s status as a Schedule 1 drug with addictive potential has limited the ability for a variety of in-depth studies. Fortunately, as legislation continues to shift, there are always new possibilities on the horizon. According to a randomized 2017 study by the New England Journal of Medicine, there was a 23 percent decrease in the amount of seizures experienced by children who ingested an oral solution of CBD over those who consumed a placebo. The children tested had Dravet syndrome, a childhood-onset epilepsy that causes everything from language problems to behavioral issues to seizures that are severe in nature. While what has the potential for long-term solutions will need to be determined by a variety of comprehensive studies, Dr. Orrin Devinsky of NYU Langone’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center is pleased with the results. “After 3,800 years of cannabis use for epilepsy…we finally have solid evidence.” In addition, a study by the American Epilepsy Society titled “Efficacy and Safety of Epidiolex (Cannabidiol) in Children and Young Adults With Treatment-Resistant Epilepsy”, it was determined that patients who participated in treatment with cannabidiol experienced a reduction in seizures of 45.1 percent. In conjunction with other studies, the evidence points towards a resolution that paints cannabidiol as a potential solution for the extremes experienced by those with Dravet syndrome and epilepsy.
What Does the Future Hold for CBD Oil?
The studies show that things are certainly looking up for CBD oil as a solution to the seizures associated with epilepsy. However, it’s worth noting that many of the children in the studies experienced a variety of side effects including vomiting, fatigue and diarrhea. As Devinsky says,”CBD is an effective drug for this type of rare epilepsy but was not a panacea (or cure-all) for these children.” The 1970 Controlled Substances Act current classification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 drugs means that there are no current medical uses for it; unfortunately, this has created hindrances when it comes to studying its medicinal potential. While the promise of improvement is not without its merits, more research into CBD will be required in order to get a better idea of what it can do. As Wayne Hall at the Center for Youth Substance Abuse Research at University of Queensland, Australia says, “No one study decides an issue; the sample size is still relatively small (because this is a rare syndrome and so hard to study large numbers of cases) and the duration of treatment so far has been relatively short.”
Recent studies have shown a link between improving the symptoms associated with epilepsy in children and the use of CBD oil and marijuana seeds, but more studies are required in order to define how viable it is. Fortunately, as more research is done into determining how cannabidiol impacts epilepsy, there’s hope on the horizon for children experiencing the seizures associated with the disease.
Nancy R. Fernandez is an avid reader who enjoys getting lost in the world of books. Holding on to her passion for fitness, she is also curious about unconventional medicine. She is intrigued about various discoveries in the field of Marijuana and loves reading the latest researches on Florida CBD Connection.