The Newest Condition Cannabis May Treat
In the world of alternative medicine, a veritable wild west of pills and powders, marijuana is king. It’s toted as the cure for everything from headaches to cancer. While many of these claims are dubious at best, there’s mounting scientific research to back up marijuana’s medical benefits.
Newest among these is a New York University study which gauged the effects of canabidiol, better known as CBD, on various forms of childhood epilepsy. CBD is the second most prevalent chemical in marijuana, falling just short of THC. It’s also the chemical responsible for pot’s analgesic and sedative effects.
Dr. Orrin Devinsky, the director of NYU’s Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, led the study and lauded the results as “extremely important.” He may be onto something, as his research examined CBD’s impact on two of the most extreme forms of epilepsy – Lennox Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome.
The Shocking Results
Dr. Devinsky’s twelve-week study was comprised of more than 213 individuals suffering from various forms of epilepsy. In total, the effects of medical marijuana on twelve different types of epilepsy were studied.
Throughout the study, participants recorded positive and negative responses to CBD and medical marijuana in general. A total of 10% of those taking CBD reported “mild to moderate” side effects. These were things like drowsiness and fatigue.
Overall, 137 of the initial participants made it through the whole twelve-weeks. The data gathered from their experience has been nothing short of shocking. What exactly happened? How do CBD and marijuana impact childhood epilepsy?
Well, those with Lennox Gastaut Syndrome reported 55% fewer instances of seizure. Those with Dravet Syndrome reported 53% fewer instances of seizure. The remaining participants reported a 54% drop in epileptic seizures during the study. That’s an average drop of over 50%! That’s real hope for those struggling with all forms of epilepsy. It looks like marijuana may indeed help to end childhood seizures!
What about the side effects of marijuana though? What are the ramifications of giving children CBD? Remember, about 10% reported mild to moderate side effects.
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Is it Safe to Give Children Marijuana?
That, readers, is the question. Do the benefits of CBD and medical marijuana on childhood epilepsy outweigh the negative consequences? What about introducing a mind-altering chemical to still developing brains? Will there be long-term damage?
Well, various studies suggest that prolonged marijuana use can damage young brains. That’s certainly something to consider when discussing the use of CBD to treat childhood epilepsy. It’s worth noting that this study examined a measured dose of CBD over a three-month period. That’s a far cry from prolonged pot abuse. Still, it’s something to take into consideration.
What about the risk of children being given medical marijuana developing an affinity for drug use later in life? Again, that’s certainly something to consider, though I’d wager it’s a rare occurrence. Remember, CBD is different from THC.
Although both produce psychoactive effects, CBD produces much milder ones than THC. CBD primarily acts as an analgesic or painkiller (not to be confused with opioid painkillers) and a sedative (not to be confused with benzodiazepines).
So yes, using CBD to treat childhood seizures has some risks associated with it. We can’t ignore the drastic impact it’s had on epilepsy though. Anything that can reduce the occurrence of seizures by over 50% should be examined further and, perhaps, that’s just what the doctor ordered – further testing on CBD as an effective childhood epilepsy deterrent.