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CBDV Looked At In Epilepsy Research

Dragana Komnenov PhD
Young Girl Having a Seizure

CBD and CBDV are stopping seizures where pharmaceuticals have failed.

Medicinal use of cannabis for the control of seizures has been documented since ancient times. The phytocannabinoid, CBD, has shown important anticonvulsant properties in animal models of acute seizures, and in patients with epilepsy. Small clinical trials conducted in the past further support its efficacy. Seizures are a core component of epilepsy, although they can be caused by other factors, including: drugs, cocaine, and pentylenetetrazole and pilocarpine.

Child undergoing EEG

Image Credit: Steve Buckley

What is the Latest Research for CBD and Seizures?

A group of researchers conducted a study in mice to test the efficacy of CBD in alleviation of cocaine induced seizures. The doses used were 15, 30, 60 and 90 mg/kg per day. All doses reduced the onset and duration of seizures. Interestingly, when they tried to decipher which receptor CBD acted through, they concluded that it was neither CB1 nor CB2. Rather, what appears to be the operating mechanism of action of CBD in reducing seizures involved reduction in release of the neurotransmitter glutamine.

Seizure in progress Man on pavement beside woman calling for help

Image Credit: Lisa S

This is an important contribution to the knowledge about cannabis’s modus operandi, underlining that it’s not only the receptor activated action that conveys medicinal properties but that it may also involve modulation of neurotransmitters.

CBDV is a Cannabinoid with Anti-Convulsive Properties

A less researched phytocannabinoid, cannabivarin (CBDV), which is an analogue of CBD, appears to also have anticonvulsant properties . A group of researchers recently tested various extracts from the Cannabis plant containing CBDV. They found that CBDV- and CBD-rich extracts exerted significant anticonvulsant effects in three different models of seizures in both rats and mice. Similar to previously published studies on CBD, they also found that these medicinal effects were not CB1 receptor mediated.

Young Girl Having a Seizure

Image Credit: Martin Bowra

How Effective is Cannabis at Stopping Seizures?

The therapeutic potential of cannabis for relieving seizures has been most intensely studied for epilepsy. A recent study surveyed parents of children with treatment-refractory epilepsy who opted to treat their children with cannabinoids. They disclosed that the dosage of CBD used was 1-28 mg/kg/day with up to 10% of THC intermixed. Complete cessation of seizures was observed in three children and in the remaining 80% of children seizure control became significantly improved. CBD was also tested in adults with epilepsy, and it was reported that 200-300mg/day of CBD resulted in seven out of eight patients reporting significant improvement, although there were no reports of instances where the patients were seizure-free.

Electrical activity in the brain

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Similarly, another study used CBD at 200mg/day and 75% of the patients reported improved outcomes. Pharmaceutical company GW Pharma released a low THC/high CBD product (Epidiolex) tested in 27 patients with epilepsy. At the end of the 12 weeks of treatment, 15% of patients reported they were fully seizure-free and almost 50% of patients reported at least 50% seizure reduction.

Seizures Word Cloud

Image Credit: Zerbor

Future of Cannabis for Seizure Treatment

The above evidence is pointing towards the potential therapeutic benefit of Cannabis in treating seizures, whether as manifestation of epilepsy or otherwise. There is also an increasing concern at this point about efficacy of various strains and preparations, correct dosing, as well as the potential short and long-term side effects. These gaps in knowledge will need to be addressed with future well-designed studies as efforts are underway by the industry and major academic centers.



Dragana Komnenov
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