The treatment of seizure disorders — particularly Lennox–Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, which often respond poorly to medication — represents one of the most promising and scientifically supported uses of cannabidiol (CBD).
The story of 6-year-old Charlotte Figi, who suffered from intractable epilepsy, brought national attention to CBD’s potential as a seizure-disorder treatment when it was featured in the 2013 CNN documentary series Weed by neurosurgeon and medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, MD. Charlotte was the first of many children successfully treated for severe seizure disorders with a high-CBD medical-marijuana product, which was later christened Charlotte’s Web in her honor.
Epidiolex, a drug that treats rare and severe forms of epilepsy, is currently the only FDA-approved CBD medicine available in the United States. Clinical trials showed that patients who took Epidiolex experienced fewer seizures compared with those who received a placebo. The most common side effects included fatigue, suppressed appetite, and diarrhea. CBD may interact with anti-epileptic drugs, though, so consult with your doctor before trying any CBD-based treatment.
This originally appeared as “Understanding CBD” in the July/August 2019 print issue of Experience Life.