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Is Cannabidiol Oil Helpful for Hard-to-Treat Epilepsy?

Researchers report that cannabidiol oil can reduce the frequency and severity of seizures suffered by people with hard to treat epilepsy.

Cannabidiol oil from marijuana may help control epilepsy. This has been suspected for a while. Some parents have even moved to states where medical marijuana is legal to treat their epileptic children. Researchers presented preliminary study results at the 70th Annual Meeting of the American Epilepsy Society.

Cannabidiol Oil Against Seizures:

They found that cannabidiol oil (CBD) reduced seizures in both children and adults. In addition, many patients also had less severe seizures. The 42 children and 39 adults all had hard-to-treat epilepsy and most achieved significant benefit with CBD.

Worries About Marijuana:

Many physicians are concerned about prescribing CBD, since it is derived from marijuana (Cannabis sativa). Cannabidiol does not have psychoactive properties, so people do not get high on it the way they would with THC-containing marijuana.

Potential for Interactions:

There are other concerns, however. Some researchers reported that CBD oil may interact with other drugs including the anticoagulant warfarin. It may also mix badly with other anticonvulsant drugs such as topiramate. That is why anyone considering CBD oil for intractable epilepsy should be under careful medical supervision. In such cases, it should not be used as a home remedy.

American Epilepsy Society 70th Annual Meeting

Preliminary research was reported earlier this year at the American Academy of Neurology. We delved into the larger topic of medicinal marijuana earlier this year as well. We spoke with Dr. David Casarett, author of Stoned: A Doctor’s Case for Medical Marijuana. 

You can also read a letter from a mother of a child with intractable epilepsy. Treatment with cannabidiol oil made a major difference for her son.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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