Of all the various forms of epilepsy, Dravet Syndrome is perhaps one of the most frightening, less because of the symptoms that manifest, but because of the patients that it affects: children.
While other forms of childhood epilepsy are concerning, Dravet Syndrome has a disturbingly high mortality rate in those who suffer from it. Compounding this is the fact that the usual pharmacopia of anti-seizure medications does not seem to be effective in managing or preventing episodes.
Cannabidiol Can Help
Given these circumstances, researchers have been trying to find something which may help. And they may have recently found the basis for an effective treatment regimen in cannabidiol.
The New England Journal of Medicine recently published the results of a study where some participants were given cannabidiol alongside conventional medications. They observed a significant drop in convulsive seizures in participants that received the cannabidiol treatment versus those who only received the placebo, and a small percentage of participants who received the cannabidiol treatment became completely seizure-free. There did not seem to be any sort of impact on non-convulsive seizures, however.
Research is Ongoing
While these results are encouraging, and certainly worth further study, there are a couple of points that warrant caution from parents. The first, of course, is the lack of impact on non-convulsive seizures.
A seizure does not have to be convulsive in order to harm the patient, so this particular symptom will certainly require further research with regards to cannabidiol’s effects.
The second point is that a small number of participants who were receiving the cannabidiol treatment withdrew from the study, complaining of severe diarrhea, fever and fatigue. It is unclear whether this is merely a result of the dosage being too high for the patient (the dose was set at 20 milligrams for the study), a possible allergic reaction or the result of a unique biochemical interaction between the CBD, the standard anti-seizure medications and the patients’ own bodies.
Parents of children affected by Dravet Syndrome here in Arizona should be encouraged by these results, but should also approach them with concern. Right now, the sorts of CBD treatments mentioned in the study are not available in any medical cannabis dispensary, but consultation with a physician may lead to a comparable treatment regimen for epileptic children here in the Valley. Please contact Arizona Organix for more information.