CBD is an alternative remedy for drug-resistant epilepsy in children

by in About CBD 11 March 2019

Epilepsy is a neurological disease that involves sudden, excessive and violent discharges of nerve cells in the brain that occur unpredictably and spontaneously. Epilepsy results from altered activity or physiological state of the whole or part of the brain. It is believed that around 50 million people suffer from this disease in the world. Epilepsy can occur in everyone, regardless of age; however, it has been observed that most epileptic seizures occur in children up to 1 year of age, whereas in older people, the incidence increases after the age of 65. Epilepsy is a disease with a very diverse etiology and can derive from head injuries, cancers, brain tissue damage or even strokes and triggers generalized or partial seizures. Treatment of epilepsy first requires a diagnosis to find out the basis of the disease and apply the appropriate medicine and then individualize the therapy with the appropriate drug, dose and time of admission. Unfortunately, often only basic medicines are refunded in the fight against classic epilepsy, and these have many side effects. New generation drugs require additional reimbursement for reimbursement, that this is a case of drug-resistant epilepsy. Dorota Gudaniec met with such and other adversities a few years ago trying to save her son’s health. Mrs. Dorota decided to give him drugs illegal in Poland at her own risk. This medicine turned out to be an infusion of dried cannabis.


CBD in the fight against epilepsy

Mrs. Dorota Gudaniec decided to treat her son’s epilepsy with hemangium because she was inspired by the history of Charlotte Figi – a small girl from the United States who was diagnosed with drug-resistant epilepsy. Less than five years old Charlotte suffered from a type of epilepsy, in which there are up to 1,200 attacks a month. In her case marijuana treatment was used, and 15 months later the number of seizures dropped from a thousand two hundred to just … Three.

Mrs. Dorota Gudaniec found hope in the history of a girl from across the ocean and decided to try despite her son being in critical condition in the hospital. She illegally imported drought to Poland and supplemented it in various forms to the child. Her son – Max – left the hospital a few weeks later. The boy’s epilepsy fits were significantly reduced. Today, Max is doing well and Mrs. Dorota Gudaniec has been involved in the promotion of treatment with the use of hemp.


CBD and epilepsy according to scientific research

There are more than 700 mutations identified in the isoforms of the brain with voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSC) in patients with pronounced epileptic phenotypes. Most of these mutations occur in the Nav1.1 coding gene (SCN1A), resulting in a phenotype known as generalized epilepsy with febrile seizures. They can even lead to a heavy variety of drug-resistant epilepsy, the so-called Team Dravet [1]. These mutations lead to inhibition of the activity of sodium channels, which leads to the reduction of the excitability of GABAergic neurons and, consequently, the increase of peripheral excitability [2,3,4,5,6].

About 30% of patients with epilepsy are refractory to treatment, which is why there is a great need to develop alternative anti-epileptic drugs. Cannabidiol has been shown to be effective in the treatment of epilepsy in children [7]. Cannabinoids proved to be aimed at the peak transient currents produced by VGSC [8,9,10].

Severe epilepsy in children is characterized by frequent seizures, delayed development of the nervous system and a decrease in the quality of life. In treatment-resistant epilepsy, families often look for alternative treatments. In a study in which children with a diagnosis of drug-resistant epilepsy using cannabis treatment (additionally enriched with cannabidiol), the following results were obtained: thirteen children had Dravet syndrome, four had Doose syndrome, and one of them had Lennox and Gastaut syndrome and idiopathic epilepsy. The average number of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) tested before cannabis use enriched with cannabidiol was 12. In sixteen children, there was a decrease in the frequency of seizures when cannabis-cannabis enriched cannabis was used. Of these, two children showed a complete suppression of seizures, eight had a reduction in seizure frequency by more than 80%, and six of them had a reduction in seizures of 25-60%. Other beneficial activities included increased alertness, improved well-being and improved sleep. Side effects included drowsiness and fatigue [11].

Research and authentic stories show that treating epilepsy with cannabidiol-enriched cannabis as a treatment for children with drug-resistant epilepsy may be a key solution.


References and research used in the article:

  1.    Aberrant epilepsy-associated mutant Nav1.6 sodium channel activity can be targeted with cannabidiol. Reesha R. Patel, Cindy Barbosa, Tatiana Brustovetsky, Nickolay Brustovetsky and Theodore R.
  2.       Reduced sodium current in GABAergic interneurons in a mouse model of severe myoclonic epilepsy in infancy. Yu FH, Mantegazza M, Westenbroek RE, Robbins CA, Kalume F, Burton KA, Spain WJ, McKnight GS, Scheuer T, Catterall WA.Nat Neurosci. 2006 Sep; 9(9):1142-9.
  3.       Nav1.1 localizes to axons of parvalbumin-positive inhibitory interneurons: a circuit basis for epileptic seizures in mice carrying an Scn1a gene mutation. Ogiwara I, Miyamoto H, Morita N, Atapour N, Mazaki E, Inoue I, Takeuchi T, Itohara S, Yanagawa Y, Obata K, Furuichi T, Hensch TK, Yamakawa K. J Neurosci. 2007 May 30; 27(22):5903-14.
  4.   Specific deletion of NaV1.1 sodium channels in inhibitory interneurons causes seizures and premature death in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome. Cheah CS, Yu FH, Westenbroek RE, Kalume FK, Oakley JC, Potter GB, Rubenstein JL, Catterall WA. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Sep 4; 109(36):14646-51.
  5.       Preferential inactivation of Scn1a in parvalbumin interneurons increases seizure susceptibility. Dutton SB, Makinson CD, Papale LA, Shankar A, Balakrishnan B, Nakazawa K, Escayg A. Neurobiol Dis. 2013 Jan; 49():211-20.
  6.       Impaired action potential initiation in GABAergic interneurons causes hyperexcitable networks in an epileptic mouse model carrying a human Na(V)1.1 mutation.

Hedrich UB, Liautard C, Kirschenbaum D, Pofahl M, Lavigne J, Liu Y, Theiss S, Slotta J, Escayg A, Dihné M, Beck H, Mantegazza M, Lerche H. J Neurosci. 2014 Nov 5; 34(45):14874-89.

  1.    Cannabidiol in patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy: an open-label interventional trial. Devinsky O, Marsh E, Friedman D, Thiele E, Laux L, Sullivan J, Miller I, Flamini R, Wilfong A, Filloux F, Wong M, Tilton N, Bruno P, Bluvstein J, Hedlund J, Kamens R, Maclean J, Nangia S, Singhal NS, Wilson CA, Patel A, Cilio MR. Lancet Neurol. 2016 Mar; 15(3):270-8.
  2.       Inhibition of Navβ4 peptide-mediated resurgent sodium currents in Nav1.7 channels by carbamazepine, riluzole, and anandamide. Theile JW, Cummins TR. Mol Pharmacol. 2011 Oct; 80(4):724-34.
  3.       Inhibition of voltage-gated Na⁺ channels by the synthetic cannabinoid ajulemic acid. Foadi N, Berger C, Pilawski I, Stoetzer C, Karst M, Haeseler G, Wegner F, Leffler A, Ahrens J. Anesth Analg. 2014 Jun; 118(6):1238-45.
  4.   The endocannabinoid anandamide inhibits voltage-gated sodium channels Nav1.2, Nav1.6, Nav1.7, and Nav1.8 in Xenopus oocytes. Okura D, Horishita T, Ueno S, Yanagihara N, Sudo Y, Uezono Y, Sata T. Anesth Analg. 2014 Mar; 118(3):554-62.
  5.   Report of a parent survey of cannabidiol-enriched cannabis use in pediatric treatment-resistant epilepsy. Brenda E. Porter and Catherine Jacobson.

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