A new study gives some hope that medical marijuana might help with childhood seizures. 200 children suffering from seizures were given an extract from marijuana. Specifically the extract contained no THC or the stuff that makes you feel high. Instead, it was formulated into marijuana oil containing CBD or cannabidiol. Seizure frequency was reduced by about 50%-a remarkable result to be sure.
Other studies have suggested that CBD might be an effective measure against seizures. All currently available antiseizure medications have side effects, some serious. So why not jump on the bandwagon and use CBD?
Well for one thing in this particular study all the children (and by inference their parents) knew that they were receiving CBD. In other words the study was not double blinded. Why is that important? Just knowing that you are receiving a drug can cause a placebo effect. Whether the drug CBD is truly effective against seizures or whether the results were just due to placebo is unclear.
And many of the kids had varying frequency of seizures. Was the reduction seen in the study due to chance (ie that during the study they would have suffered fewer seizures anyways) or was it from the study medication CBD? Finally,a study with only 200 participants cannot really determine whether CBD works for a much larger population of pediatric seizure patients.
Understandably parents of epileptic children are desperate to find anything which will help their kids. Yet trying a drug which really only has not been adequately studied is a mistake. Some side effects may take months or even years to occur.
FDA approved drugs take years and years of multiple rigorous studies these drugs are allowed to be sold. The active ingredients are exactly what has been studied. Patience although incredibly difficult is a virtue. Let’s wait for better studies before trying CBD.