The word epilepsy often brings feelings of discomfort and worry to any individual. What is worse is the fact that Epilepsies are one of the most common chronic neurological disorders. The distinction between epilepsies compared to seizures is that a seizure is a single occurrence, while epilepsy is a neurological condition that brings two or more seizures. Moreover, some cases of Epilepsy carry the abbreviation TRE that stands for treatment-resistant epilepsy. An individual is considered TRE once he or she fails to accomplish remission from the seizure after at least trying two different antiepileptic drugs (AED) that are suppose to help reduce the occurrence of Epilepsies; however, even if the usage of AED drugs reduces the occurrence of Epilepsies. It brings its own harm. The life of individuals who suffer from Epilepsy do not live an ordinary life. They are affected tremendously by the disease within them and the drugs they use to help reduce that disease. Individuals that take these drugs suffer side effects and possible seizures if they, for instance, miss a dosage, consume excessive amounts of alcohol, etc (O’Connell et al. 2017).
Yet, research scientists have not given up on seeking a different route to help individuals with treatment-resistant epilepsy. The goal of this new experiment was to establish whether adding cannabidiol to the already effecting antiepileptic drugs would be three main things, safe, tolerable and successful in young children and adults that suffer from TRE (Devinsky et al. 2016). Moving on, the trial included patients whose ages ranged from one to thirty years old that suffered from treatment-resistant epilepsy and who were at that moment on antiepileptic drugs for their epilepsy. The actual study consisted of patients getting oral cannabidiol at a very low amount (2-5 mg/kg) per day and as days passed the dosage would increase also up to about twenty-five mg/kg or even fifty mg/kg. They did this in the time frame of twelve weeks and monitored the tolerability, safety, and frequency of seizures within the patients that were a part of the study (Devinsky et al. 2016).
The results of the study comparing the usage of AED with CBD presented that 70 patients that had CBD with clobazam, an AED drug used to reduce the occurrence of seizures, had a reduction of 50% in motor seizures. Likewise, when patients used CBD with valproate another AED drug. They also witnessed a 50% reduction in motor seizures within the patients (Devinsky et al. 2016).
The outcomes of the study suggest that the usage of cannabidiol (CBD) can reduce the frequency of seizures. While also being safe to adults and children. This study is considered to be the first of many in the near future. Likewise, the experiment was the first in its area of research to provide real evidence that the usage of cannabidiol could be an effective treatment option for young adults and children that suffer from treatment-resistant epilepsy. That is why this study brings value because it provides factual data about the correlation between epilepsy and cannabidiol. This information can be used in the future to help future researchers find a way to help individuals with treatment resistance epilepsy (Devinsky O et al. 2016).
Complications with the study include no prior information about this type of study. Therefore, the research scientist could not have a sense of direction. They had to create their pathway and be the pioneers of this new study. Another limitation noted by the researchers was that it was an open-label type of study and it could not be controlled as they wished. The researchers wished to have a randomized controlled trial (Devinsky et al. 2016). These types of trials are considered to be the best at understanding the effects of a certain treatment. In this type of trial, it reduces the probability of certain biases that could occur within an experiment.
Even if the trial was not as perfect as planned. The end goal was to create an experiment that could possibly help people who suffer from treatment-resistance epilepsy. This goal was achieved by adding cannabidiol to patients that suffer from TRE and look at three main objectives, the safety of it, the tolerable amount, and the effect it would have on the occurrence of seizures. The results suggested that the use of cannabidiol can reduce seizure frequency and can also be safe for children and young adults to use. The trial was one of the first of its kind, therefore further studies are needed to explain the effects in a more controlled environment. The only thing for certain is that researchers are not giving up on helping people who suffer from epilepsies.
Devinsky O et al. 2016. Cannabidiol in patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy: an open-label interventional trial. The Lancet. 15(3): 270-278.
O’Connell B, Gloss D, Devinsky O. 2017. Cannabinoids in treatment-resistant epilepsy: A review. Epilepsy & Behavior. 70(Part B):341-248.