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CBD & Seizures
While most studies involved cannabidiol (CBD) and various health issues and concerns are still in
relatively early stages, CBD has been proven effective in treating certain types of seizures that have been resistant to traditional treatment. Epidiolex is the first and only CBD-based pharmaceutical approved by the Food and Drug Administration and is used to treat seizures associated with severe forms of epilepsy including Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Dravet syndrome and tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) for those one year and older. It is not approved for children younger than one. More than 15,000 patients have used Epidiolex to treat their seizures, with good results. In clinical trials, patients prescribed Epidiolex for treatment of TSC, experienced a 48 percent reduction in seizures when compared to a 24 percent decrease in patients given a placebo. Five percent of patients experienced complete freedom from seizures. And while Epidiolex, which is made from isolated, single-molecule CBD has provided relief for many, it can potentially come with a host of side effects. A study conducted in 2015 and published in the New England Journal of Medicine that compared single-molecule with whole-plant CBD, found the whole-plant CBD to be more effective and without the side effects of the single molecule CBD. Further studies have supported this outcome, underscoring that plant-based medicine that is less refined has a legitimate role to play in how we approach treatment.
For now, the presence of Epidiolex provides a singular treatment option approved by a regulatory agency and can be prescribed by medical professionals, criteria that some feel more at ease dispensing for themselves or their children. For those without that attachment, or who have less
concern if trace amounts of THC are present, are comfortable with whole-plant CBD as an option. The choice is highly personal and ongoing studies may soon lead to further FDA approved medications that use this approach.