CBD can help your children with epilepsy?anej
New studies and clinical trials demonstrate the efficacy of CBD for the treatment of epilepsy.
The CBD oil is highly valued for its medicinal properties and therapeutic potential to alleviate the symptoms of many ailments. One of these is epilepsy, a serious chronic disease that causes severe seizures.
We will analyze the current state of researches regarding the medicinal potential of CBD, a natural and non-psychoactive component of the Cannabis sativa plant.
WHAT IS EPILEPSY?
Epilepsy is a chronic neuronal disorder characterized by an uncontrolled increase in electrical activity in specific groups of neurons. This causes so-called epileptic seizures, which are brief and occasional episodes of involuntary movements that can affect specific areas or even the entire body.
It is a disease known since ancient times and can affect people of any age. The data shows an incidence of 1.5% of the world population, of which almost a third suffer from refractory epilepsy and do not respond to traditional pharmacological treatments or other therapies such as ketone diets, Vagal stimulation or surgery.
This disease can be very disabling since it causes many associated physical problems and has a high percentage of premature deaths. Epilepsy usually appears in the first years of life and it is in these patients that traditional pharmacological treatments are least effective.
CHILDHOOD REFRACTORY EPILEPSY AND CBD
The most difficult cases to treat are those in which antiepileptic drugs are not effective or their side effects are too severe. This type of refractory epilepsy occurs especially in children, so the impact of the disease affects parents and family members especially hard. It is precisely in this type of epilepsy that a compound such as CBD, which has no adverse effects, shows its therapeutic potential.
Some of the main syndromes of infantile refractory epilepsy are:
- Lennox-Gastaut syndrome: usually occurs before the age of 4 and occurs with short-lasting tonic seizures in the neck, face, and extremities. This syndrome is resistant to anti-epileptic drugs and causes very strong and disabling side effects.
- Dravet syndrome: a type of childhood epilepsy of genetic origin and the symptoms usually appear during the first year. It presents with generalized clonic seizures and the patients can suffer an intellectual disability. There is no fully effective medication for this condition.
- West syndrome: occurs in children between 3 and 12 months. It can be due to malformations, dysplasias, infections or even have a genetic component. It presents with sudden and symmetrical seizures in the extremities. Currently treated with a dangerous cocktail of antiepileptic drugs, benzodiazepines, and corticosteroids.
- Does syndrome: occurs before the age of 5 and is usually resistant to antiepileptics. Almost half of the patients present with retardation or intellectual disability.
The anticonvulsant drugs usually are ineffective for this type of epilepsy and cause strong side effects, in many cases dangerous for the patient. Some of these side effects are confusion, dizziness, headaches, depression, lethargy, hair loss, and skin reactions.
In different clinical studies, CBD has shown its effectiveness as an anticonvulsant and a neuroprotective. Cannabidiol may be an effective and safe alternative in many of these cases, especially for children. Clinical studies demonstrate a reduction in the frequency and intensity of seizures. Likewise, the neuroprotective effect of CBD can improve cognitive, emotional, and psychomotor abilities diminished by the disease.
HOW DOES CBD WORK AGAINST EPILEPSY?
We know that CBD or Cannabidiol is capable of modulating neuronal hyperexcitability in epileptic patients. We also know that during epileptic seizures, brain damage occurs with a high associated neuronal mortality. These damages are mainly caused by inflammation and by the oxidative stress that occurs during seizures. CBD has anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties, which reduces these damages considerably. CBD achieves a modulating and protective effect, and not only reduces seizures but also improves the patient’s mood and cognitive state. This is especially important in the case of children since maintaining cognitive abilities allows the patient and their families a better quality of life.
It should be noted that a large number of patients respond better to treatment when CBD is accompanied by other cannabinoids and terpenes. The administration of CBD together with small doses of THC increases the effectiveness of the treatment in some cases due to the so-called entourage effect.
RESEARCHES ABOUT CBD AND EPILEPSY
These trials offer encouraging results with success rates exceeding 60% in cases in which pharmacological treatment is not possible or is not recommended.
- CBD and CBDV activate the vanilloid receptors involved in epilepsy according to an in vitro study carried out in 2014. This can help with the treatment of neuronal hyperexcitability.
- A recent 2016 study shows that CBD can improve epilepsy by acting on certain channels of the cell membrane.
- In 2013 was conducted a study of 19 cases of children with refractory infantile epilepsy resistant to traditional antiepileptic drugs. In this study, 16 of the 19 children experienced a reduction in the frequency of attacks, while more than half of them reported a reduction of more than 80%. A notable improvement in the cognitive abilities and mood of the patients was also
- A retrospective study carried out in 2016 in 5 centres in Israel yielded some truly positive data on the use of CBD Oil in children with refractory epilepsy. A decrease in seizures was observed in 80% of patients. Besides, a clear improvement in behaviour, language, motor skills or sleep was observed.
- An open clinical trial published in The Lancet Neurology in 2016 also provides hopeful data regarding the use of CBD oil in patients with refractory epilepsy. More than half of the patients reported a considerable reduction in seizures, both in frequency and intensity.
- A retrospective study with 117 interviews of parents with children affected by Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, shows that the administration of extracts rich in CBD improves seizures in more than half of the patients, even disappearing in 14% of patients. cases. Also, a high proportion reported an improvement in alertness, mood, and sleep.
- New York University School of Medicine analyzed 46 epilepsy patients between the ages of 1 and 30. These patients were treated with CBD doses for at least 10 weeks. In more than half of the cases, there was an evident reduction in seizures. The authors conclude that there is clear evidence regarding the safety and efficacy of Cannabidiol administration to treat this type of epilepsy that does not respond to conventional treatment with antiepileptic drugs.
When pharmacological treatment with conventional antiepileptics is not effective or is not recommended, CBD can decrease the frequency and the intensity of the seizures. Besides, in most cases, there is a clear improvement in cognitive, motor abilities and in the mood of patients.
CBD can be the answer for many patients with this terrible problem that especially affects children and adolescents. Scientific studies indicate this and, although much remains to be done, the first data is encouraging for many parents and family members.