Cannabidiol Helps Control Seizures in Patients with Refractory Epilepsy, Study Finds

A study has discovered that cannabidiol or CBD helps control seizures in patients with refractory epilepsy, with the effect lasting for up to 5 years of treatment.

Photo: Cannabidiol or CBD | InStyleHealth


A retrospective study utilized data from the Massachusetts General Hospital’s open-label expanded access program for CBD as a new treatment for epilepsy. A total of 54 patients used CBD for up to 60 months with median of 45.5 months usage.

The cannabidiol led to a reduction in the frequency of seizures, and this benefit lasted from the first year of treatment to the most recent study visit. Over the follow-up period, the number of seizure responders remained similar (41.7 – 42.6%), as was the seizure response rate.

The efficacy was also noticed across a broad range of dose, up to 50 mg/kg/day. Seizure-control benefit of CBD was more prominent in the setting of tuberous sclerosis complex and in patients with epileptic spasms and absence seizures.

Cannabidiol, while falling short of decreasing requirement for concomitant antiepileptic drug or AED use, led to most patients lowering their AED use to at least one relative to baseline.

Regarding safety, cannabidiol or CBD was generally well tolerated. Most common adverse reactions were drowsiness and diarrhea.

Generally, the current data reveal that cannabidiol/CBD is effective and safe for use in the long-term treatment of refractory epilepsies.

 

Source: Epilepsia 2021;doi:10.1111/epi.16936

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