The University of Nebraska Medical Center is set to launch research into efficacy of CBD in the treatment of epilepsy.
The new study will look at the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on patients with intractable epilepsy. To be considered for the study, patients must have treatment-resistant seizures and have exhausted all traditional treatments.
According to an article on Live Well Nebraska, 3,000 of the estimated 20,000 patients with epilepsy in Nebraska suffer from intractable forms that do not respond to the FDA’s currently accepted treatments.
Participants for the two-year study will be between the ages of 1 to 60 and be residents of the state of Nebraska. The inclusion of young children points to the difficulty many parents are facing in treating their sons and daughters diagnosed at an early age with forms of epilepsy. Often these conditions are life threatening, increasing the necessity for an effective treatment.
Letters will be sent to physicians across the state educating the healthcare community on how to refer their patients for the study. Participants for the study will be selected by a university committee made up of clinicians and scientists and will be required to make 15 in-person visits to the medical center. The subjects chosen will be closely monitored to establish a baseline for their seizures before being given two doses of CBD for each day of the study.
A University of Nebraska press release revealed, “Information gained from the study will be used to better understand the potential role of cannabidiol as a novel treatment for epilepsy. The hope is that this information will ultimately facilitate development of approaches to better treat patients with treatment-resistant seizures.”
According to Sue Crawford, a Nebraska State Senator, legal and regulatory difficulties drew the approval process out for years: “It took awhile to build support for CBD research because it was linked to marijuana.”
Recent changes in federal law, however, now allow universities to begin studies on cannabinoids if they are extracted from hemp instead of marijuana. Following these changes, Crawford sponsored Legislative Bill 390, allowing UNMC to conduct the research. The bill would gain the support of Gov. Pete Ricketts, who would go on to sign the bill authorizing the study. To fund the research, the bill allocated $500,000 in state funding to cover the clinical and administrative costs of the university.
Dr. Chris Kratochvil, UNMC’s associate vice chancellor for clinical research, referred to previous research that has shown CBD to be effective in the treatment of seizures. There has also been reams of anecdotal evidence from patients and their families discussing the benefits of CBD for epilepsy. All this suggests that there is real promise in the use of CBD for neurological disorders.
Several Latin American countries have already approved CBD hemp oil products from Medical Marijuana, Inc. as prescription medications for epilepsy, and Medical Marijuana, Inc. was the first company to have a cannabis product imported by patients in Brazil, Mexico, and Paraguay, as well as the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.
Although CBD from marijuana is legal only in a limited number of states in the U.S., CBD oil extracted from hemp is legal for purchase in all 50 states and in 40 countries around the world. However, FDA regulations prevent manufacturers of CBD oil supplements from indicating specific conditions benefited from these products. Much needed research into cannabinoids like UNMC’s study should demonstrate the efficacy of CBD for human health and homeostasis.