How CBD helped alleviate one’s child’s acute form of epilepsy
Any search for CBD online will lead you to ‘Charlotte’s Web’. It’s one of the most reported accounts of CBD and how it helped a child struggling with a severe form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome.
What makes the story so remarkable is not only the Charlotte’s age, but also immediate change in her condition after years of suffering seizures that modern medicine couldn’t alleviate.
Charlotte Figi’s seizures started at just three-months-old and got progressively worse. At two-years-old she was diagnosed with Dravet’s Syndrome and she was having so many seizures it was affecting her cognitive development.
Over the years, the Figis family tried everything in an attempt to not just treat her, but alleviate the seizures. They followed everything from drugs to diets, going to special children’s hospitals and consulting epileptic specialists. Some offered mild or temporary relief, but the seizures always returned.
Another two years went by and Charlotte was having up to 300 seizures a week and was losing the ability to walk, talk and eat. It was at this point that her parents, Matt and Paige, while urgently looking for alternatives, found a video of a young boy with the same condition who’d been successfully treated with medical marijuana.
After receiving the required recommendation from two doctors, Paige found a strain of marijuana high in CBD and low in THC and had a friend extract the oil. After having it tested at a lab, she nervously she gave Charlotte a small dose of non-psychoactive, plant extracted CBD oil. Incredibly it worked. The seizures stopped.
And this was only the start of the amazing story. Following the successful trial, the Figis discovered the Stanley brothers, a Colorado-based family growing cannabis high in CBD and willing to make it available for Charlotte. In fact, they renamed this particular strain of medical marijuana Charlotte’s Web.
You can view the CNN documentary by Dr Sanjay Gupta here.
Watch Josh Stanley’s TEDx Talk on CBD and their development of Charlotte’s Web after meeting the Figi family.
Read about the Stanley brothers and their medical marijuana company in The New York Times.
As more and more anecdotal evidence is reported, what is the scientific community’s response to these developments? Of all the benefits of CBD, its positive effect on alleviating epileptic seizures is the most conclusive.
Evidence concerning the potential anti-seizure efficacy of cannabinoids reached a turning point with the completion of the first high-quality, placebo-controlled trials of a purified oil-based liquid CBD preparation in patients suffering from acute epileptic seizures.
A research paper entitled ‘Cannabinoids in the Treatment of Epilepsy: Hard Evidence at Last?’ (December 2017) published in the Journal of Epilepsy Research, reported on the potential anti-seizure efficacy of cannabinoids with the completion of the first high-quality placebo-controlled trials of a purified oil-based liquid CBD preparation in patients with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
It concluded that there is now, for the first time, class 1 evidence that CBD improves seizure control when added on to other AEDs in patients with two difficult-to-treat epileptic encephalopathies.
Regarding guidance around prescribing cannabis-based products, the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), is drawing up formal guidance on the prescribing of medicinal cannabis. This is expected to be published in October 2019.
In the meantime, the British Paediatric Neurology Association (BPNA) has drawn up interim guidance around epilepsy on behalf of NHS England.
The Association of British Neurologists (ABN) has also drawn up interim guidelines for the use of cannabis-based products in neurology for adults.
In April 2018, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex (cannabidiol) [CBD] oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, in patients two years of age and older. This is the first FDA-approved drug that contains a purified drug substance derived from marijuana. It is also the first FDA approval of a drug for the treatment of patients with Dravet syndrome.