Several early studies have indicated that CBD oil can be an effective treatment for epilepsy. This past summer, the FDA approved EPIDIOLEX®, a CBD (cannabidiol) oral solution, for the treatment of seizures associated with two epilepsy syndromes — Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome — in people two years of age or older. It marks the first time the FDA has approved a plant-based drug derived from the cannabis plant.
New research, however, suggests CBD oil alone may not be as effective as treatments that contain at least a little THC as well.
Yet a recent study from the University of Sydney suggests that CBD oil is most effective when paired with THC (though at a relatively minute dose). Researchers found that illicit “black market” tinctures may be effective at treating epilepsy in children.
Some THC Presence May Be Best
The two-year study found that 75% of parents who tried the illicit oils on their children reported effective results. It should be noted, however, that the oils contained too little THC to produce intoxicating effects.
Science Daily reports:
“The study found that the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and the closely related compound THCA, were present in most extracts, although the quantity was generally not enough to produce intoxicating effects. Just over half the extracts were associated with a seizure reduction of 75-100 percent, which reinforces observations from animal studies and case reports of anticonvulsant effects of THC and THCA. As well, 65 percent were associated with other beneficial effects like improved cognition (35 percent) and language skills (24 percent).”
Researchers emphasize that the entire cannabis plant may have some benefits.
“Although the illicit extracts we analyzed contained low doses of CBD, three in four were reported as ‘effective’, indicating the importance of researching the cannabis plant in its entirety for the treatment of epilepsy,” said Professor Iain McGregor, Corresponding author and academic director of the Lambert Initiative “And despite the overwhelming presence of generally low levels of THC, concentrations did not differ between samples perceived as ‘effective’ and ‘ineffective.’ Our research indicates there is a potential role for other cannabinoids, alone or in combination with conventional drugs, in treatment-resistant epilepsy — and this warrants further investigation so we can hopefully develop safer and more effective medicines.”
The full report can be read in Nature.
Cannabis Still Banned by Feds
Marijuana continues to be categorized as a Schedule 1 drug by the Federal Government as having no accepted medicinal value. Its use therefore continues to be illegal under federal law and medical studies of its effectiveness are extremely limited.
Medical Marijuana in Ohio
Medical marijuana has been approved for use in Ohio. Patients may legally use cannabis under state law if they have a medical marijuana recommendation from a physician. To qualify for a MMJ card, you must get a recommendation from a medical marijuana doctor authorized by the state of Ohio. The cards will become available from the State for a fee when the registration program starts.
Dr. Blatman can make medical marijuana recommendations and authorizes a medical marijuana card for qualifying patients.
Conditions that have been approved for treatment with marijuana include:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
- Crohn’s disease
- Epilepsy or another seizure disorder
- Hepatitis C
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable
- Parkinson’s disease
- Positive status for HIV
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Sickle cell anemia
- Spinal cord disease or injury
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Traumatic brain injury
- Ulcerative colitis
Children who suffer from epilepsy, as well as any of the other conditions, can qualify with the recommendation of an authorized physician and the approval of a parent or guardian.