a human brain

Epilepsy: what helps fight the disease

Epilepsy is a chronic disease that causes seizures to recur. These seizures are the result of a sudden overexcitation that affects the brain. The overexcitation spreads throughout the body, causing muscle contractions and seizures.

A human brain

Back in the 1970s, researchers concluded that cannabidiol had anticonvulsant properties. Anticonvulsants are used for epileptic seizures. About one-third of patients have what is called a therapeutically resistant form. A 2013 study published in the journal Epilepsy and Behavior examined the effects of CBD on children with treatment-resistant epilepsy. Of the 19 participants, 13 had Dravet syndrome, 4 had Dawes syndrome, and one child each with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and idiopathic epilepsy.

Phase III clinical trials of cannabidiol showed the effectiveness of the preparation as adjunctive therapy for severe epilepsy. Treatment with cannabidiol reduced the number of seizures in drug-resistant patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome by almost half. Results of a randomized placebo-controlled trial published in the journal Lancet.

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Up to four percent of epilepsy cases involve Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy with frequent seizures and cognitive impairment. A number of preliminary trials have shown that cannabidiol (CBD) has a significant anticonvulsant effect and is a promising antiepileptic agent. English pharmaceutical company GW Pharmaceuticals has developed a medication based on 99% cannabidiol (Epidiolex) for the treatment of severe forms of epilepsy, including Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.