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Cannabidiol’s (CBD) Effect on Pediatric Epilepsy

What if I were to tell you that CBD was just as effective with helping children with epilepsy as medications that can have significant side effects?  Well, guess what?  It does.

An exciting new study (2019) by Ali et al published in Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology titled Efficacy of Cannabinoids in Paediatric Epilepsy discusses this topic in great detail.

The study discusses THC and CBD but it focuses mostly on CBD, as it safe for child use and it does not have the side effects of THC. The review study analyzed ‘three randomized, placebo-controlled, double blind trials in Dravet syndrome (developmental and epileptic encephalopathy that develops in children between 3 and 15 months of age) and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (severe seizures that begin early in life) found that CBD produced a 38% to 41% median reduction in all seizures compared to 13% to 19% on placebo.

What is absolutely phenomenal is that the CBD reduced convulsive and drop-seizures by 50%…yes, 50%.  WOW!  In comparison, the placebo only resulted in a 14% to 27% reduction.  Of course, the CBD was well tolerated with the only side effects being its sedative effect, diarrhea, and decreased appetite.  These side effects are extremely minimal compared to the side effects from prescription medications.

The conclusion of the review was that CBD provides ‘similar efficacy’ to established antiepileptic drugs.

I found it interesting that the authors admit that they do not know the mechanism of how CBD works when it’s well known that THC directly affects the CB1 receptor.  My take is as I’ve discussed many times before in other blogs: CBD eats away at FAAH and MAGL, thus allowing Anandamide and 2-AG levels to increase.  With the CB1 receptor, the endocannabinoid that triggers CB1 activity is Anandamide.  This is a self-regulatory process.  This action is quite different from THC, which hits the CB1 receptor directly and overloads it.  By doing this, the user feels ‘high’.  CBD is different in that it diminishes, in this case, the enzyme FAAH.  By doing so, the body’s own levels of Anandamide go up and the body is then able to regulate its interaction with the CB1 receptor. Being the CB1 receptor is most active in the brain, CNS, and organs, it makes sense that this is at least part of the mechanism as to how CBD affects epilepsy.  I guess we’ll have to wait for future studies to fully prove/disprove this issue.

I hope this information gets to parents who have children who can benefit from this information.  I do not think there is a question that using a natural and safe product like CBD is far safer than using prescription medications, when we compare side effects. Being the efficacy of CBD and prescription medications are on par, it only makes sense to start with CBD.

As always, speak with your child’s pediatrician about how CBD can help your child with epilepsy.  Please share the study discussed above if they are unfamiliar with the research.

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