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Seizure Frequency and Severity Reduced by CBD Oil, Study Finds

CBD treatments reduced both the frequency and severity of seizures in children and adults with severe epilepsy in a new study.

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil reduces the frequency and severity of seizures in children and adults with severe epilepsy, a new study finds. The study’s team of researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham presented their findings at the American Epilepsy Society 70th Annual Meeting earlier this month.

The researchers, led by associate professor of neurology Jenifer DeWolfe, M.D., examined the effects of CBD oil on 81 patients, including 42 children and 39 adults, suffering from an intractable epilepsy disorder that caused at least four seizures per month. The adult component of the study was conducted at the University of Alabama, while the children’s side of the study was done at Children’s of Alabama.

Following a month of CBD therapy, 58 percent of the patients experienced a greater than 50 percent reduction in seizure frequency, while 68 percent of the patients experienced a greater than 25 percent reduction and 36 percent saw a reduction in frequency of at least 75 percent. Nine percent of the patients were completely free of seizures following the month of CBD treatments.

The severity of seizures was assessed several times throughout the period of CBD treatments. After three months, 67 percent of the patients that were followed experienced a more than 50 percent decrease in seizure severity. After six months, 64 percent of the patients followed had a greater than 50 percent decrease in seizure severity. The researchers used a questionnaire called the Chalfont Seizure Severity Scale to measure seizure severity.

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“It is encouraging that both frequency and severity of seizures appear to improve in the majority of patients in our study, patients who have limited treatment options,” said Department of Neurology professor and co-researcher Jerzy P. Szaflarski, M.D. “Our research adds to the evidence that CBD may reduce frequency of seizures, but we also found that it appears to decrease the severity of seizures, which is a new finding.”

“These are encouraging results, but it is important to note that each patient may respond differently to CBD, and the dose for optimal seizures control varies,” said Martina Bebin, M.D., professor of neurology and co-primary investigator of the CBD studies. “There appears to be an optimal CBD dose range where the patient achieves maximum benefit.”

Previous research examining CBD’s effects on seizures have also been promising. CBD has shown to have anticonvulsant effects in both preclinical and preliminary human studies, while one survey found CBD to reduce seizure frequency in nearly 85 percent of children with epilepsy disorders.

Most recently, a survey by renowned Mexican physician Dr. Carlos G. Aguirre Velazquez found CBD to reduce the frequency of seizures in 60 percent of 53 cases of children with refractory epilepsy, with 16 percent responding that they were completely free of seizures while undergoing CBD treatments.

Researchers at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children are about to begin a clinical trial using cannabis extracts to treat 20 children aged one to 18 that are suffering from severe epilepsy that has proven refractory to other treatment methods. The researchers will be treating the children with an oral substance containing both CBD and THC.

Weeks ago, a research review concluded that cannabis is beneficial for several mental health conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder, and for recovering from addiction. Keep up with the latest scientific developments regarding CBD and cannabis by regularly visiting our news feed.