The results of a preliminary study have proved that when compared to artisanal cannabidiol (CBD), pharmaceutical CBD is better at controlling seizures in children and teens who are suffering from epilepsy.
The research team is going to present its results at the 72nd annual meeting of AAN in Toronto, Canada. CBD is a component of cannabis that has anti-seizure properties and the ability to reduce anxiety and stress.
Unlike another component of cannabis, known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol is preferable as it doesn’t produce a “high”. THC isn’t present in pharmaceutical CBD that is used for the treatment of epilepsy.
This pharmaceutical CBD has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the management of two severe types of childhood epilepsy that aren’t well controlled by other medications. These two forms are known as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
In contrast to pharmaceutical CBD, THC and CBD are present in variable amounts in artisanal CBD that are made using different methods. Nathan T. Cohen is the study’s author and a member of the AAN (American Academy of Neurology), currently working as a managing director at Children’s National Hospital, Washington D.C.
According to him, there has been an increase in the trend of medical cannabis during the last few years for the purpose of treating different medical conditions. On the contrary, though artisanal CBD isn’t always legal, it has been available for use for quite a long time.
Artisanal CBD is even being used for years by some patients suffering from epilepsy. Cohen added that such patients may switch towards the use of pharmaceutical CBD after knowing the results of this study proving that it is no doubt more effective in controlling epilepsy seizures than artisanal CBD.
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This study involved 31 children and teens, aged almost 10, followed for approximately one year. Their medical charts were assessed by the research team and it was found that all of them were suffering from some form of epilepsy.
Among these participants, 6 percent had Dravet syndrome and 32 percent had Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. On further analysis, it was found that 9 of these participants were using artisanal CBD while pharmaceutical CBD was used by the remaining participants.
Information like seizure history, medication doses, CBD levels in the blood, medication side effects, and improvement in seizure control with medication, was noted by the research team.
The average CBD level in the blood of patients taking artisanal CBD was 31 nanograms per milliliter. Whereas, the CBD level was 124 nanograms per milliliter in patients who were using pharmaceutical CBD for the management of epilepsy.
The overall results comparing artisanal CBD and pharmaceutical CBD showed that the latter one was better for epilepsy management. During the study, there was a 70 percent increase in seizures in children and teens using artisanal CBD. Whereas, the use of prescribed or pharmaceutical CBD led to a 39 percent reduction in epilepsy seizures.
But the side effects such as low appetite, diarrhea, nausea, and sleepiness were also reported in 11 children and teens taking prescribed CBD. And their use was stopped by 6 of the participants as a result of these side effects.
Cohen stated that there is a dramatic difference in seizure control and it is an alarming situation as several epilepsy patients continue using artisanal CBD.