how long for cbd oil to reduce siizures

Cannabis oil can reduce seizures in kids, University of Sask. study suggests

Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan say preliminary results suggest medicinal cannabis oil can reduce or completely stop seizures in children experiencing severe and drug-resistant epilepsy.

The study, funded by Jim Pattison's Children's Hospital Foundation, monitored seven children with severe pediatric epilepsy, a debilitating condition that can cause children to suffer as many as 1,200 seizures a month.

Dr. Richard Huntsman, a pediatric neurologist at the university's college of medicine and one of the study's authors, said the results are nascent but encouraging. The overall reduction in seizures was close to 75 per cent on average.

"Some people might say that's not perfect, that's not 100 per cent, but you have to take into consideration these are kids that have failed multiple anti-seizure medications, multiple treatments. The likelihood of getting a good result with another medication is really, really low."

Three of the seven children stopped having seizures altogether during the study.

During the study, the children were administered their typical medication in addition to the cannabis. No participant was administered a placebo.

After one month of observing their seizures, the children received increasing doses of a herbal cannabis extract. The dosage was then increased each month for six months.

A major barrier to the study was the notion that the cannabis-based medicine would make the children intoxicated.

But the actual medication consisted of 95 per cent cannabidiol (CBD) and five per cent THC. CBD is derived from cannabis plants but does not create a high, whereas THC can be intoxicating.

"What we were able to show is that the THC levels, even at the highest doses in this study, remained low," Huntsman said. "Based on this β€”and, again, this [is] preliminary data for seven patients of study so we have got to keep that in mind β€” but what we're able to show so far is that the concerns about THC intoxication, maybe it's not as much of a concern."

Part of the study attempted to outline a framework on how to administer cannabis-based medicine, as there was no evidence-based dosage guideline, Huntsman said.

Novel Molecules Discovered in CBD Oils May Reduce Seizures

Three different cannabinoids acting in aggregate may reduce seizures.

Key points

  • The use of cannabis plant extracts for the treatment of seizures dates back many millennia.
  • CBD is often sold as a substitute cannabis treatment for epilepsy in adults and children.
  • Commercial CBD products have measurable levels of THC as well as many other cannabinoids that may reduce seizures more effectively.
  • Three different cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis plant acting alone or in aggregate may be reduce seizure incidence.

The use of cannabis plant extracts for the treatment of seizures dates back many millennia. Its effectiveness was imperfect; however, nothing else was available. The components of the cannabis plant that reduce the incidence of seizures are not fully known. The internet, and those hoping to make a profit on this current state of ignorance, claim that one particular molecule, CBD, can effectively reduce seizures frequently. The data to support these claims is limited and often unreliable. Caregiver bias still remains a significant problem in most clinical trials.

In recent trials that report positive outcomes, CBD has been used in addition to standard epilepsy medications. Therefore it remains to be determined whether CBD alone is antiepileptic, a potentiator of traditional antiepileptic medications, or simply a placebo. Another nagging problem has also undermined confidence in the effectiveness of CBD β€” contamination of samples with other molecules from the cannabis plant.

Commercially available CBD products are prepared by one of three extraction methods β€” using cold carbon dioxide, oils, or ethanol. These methods indiscriminately extract any molecule that is lipid-soluble; the cannabis plant contains over 160 different lipid-soluble molecules. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that commercial CBD products have measurable levels of THC as well as many other cannabinoids.

A recent pair of studies investigated the anti-epileptic efficacy of three cannabinoids that are also found in commercial extracts from the cannabis plant, including cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), cannadivarinic acid (CBDVA), and cannabigerovarinic acid (CBGVA). CBGA is the precursor molecule to the production of both CBD and THC. Cannabinoid acids are fairly plentiful in cannabis but have received much less scientific attention.

The anticonvulsant potential of each of the cannabinoid acids was tested using a mouse model of Dravet syndrome. The authors confirmed that all three cannabinoids were readily and substantially absorbed into the brain. The level in the brain was measured to be up to six times higher than in the blood. This is to be expected when using such lipid-soluble molecules.

The study reported that all three acidic cannabinoids significantly reduced seizure incidence. The authors further reported that CBGA interacts with many epilepsy-relevant drug targets and was more effective than CBD in their seizure model. These positive results need to be taken in context; the drugs were given to mice who had induced seizures. Although this animal model may be valid and predictive, much more research needs to be conducted to confirm the effectiveness of these molecules in human epilepsy patients.

In conclusion, a series of three different cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis plant acting alone or in aggregate, and that are often found in common artisanal cannabis oils, may underlie the claimed anticonvulsant actions commercial CBD preparations.

Wenk GL (2019) Your Brain on Food, 3rd Edition, (Oxford University Press)

Anderson LL et al, (2021) Cannabichromene, related phytocannabinoids, and 5-fluoro-cannabichromene have anticonvulsant properties in a mouse model of Dravet Syndrome. ACS Chemical Neuroscience. 12: 330-339

Anderson LL et al, (2021) Cannabigerolic acid, a major biosynthetic precursor molecule in cannabis, exhibits divergent effects on seizures in mouse models of epilepsy, Br J Pharmacol. DOI: 10.1111/bph.15661