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30 March 2020

Cannabinoids in medicine part 4: Epilepsy

In the fourth of a series of five articles, Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies discuss their expertise on cannabinoids in medicine. Following the previous articles where we discussed the treatment of cancer, pain, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis, this fourth piece focuses on the use of cannabinoids to treat epilepsy.

Epilepsy is a clinically-significant neurological condition that is diagnosed upon evidence of: at least two unprovoked seizures occurring less than 24 hours apart; one unprovoked seizure and a probability for further seizures of at least 60% occurring over the next 10 years; or an epilepsy syndrome1. Between 70-80% of epilepsy patients achieve complete seizure control using anti-epileptic drugs2. However, 20-30% of epilepsy patients are drug resistant3 and do not achieve sustained freedom from seizures using common anti-epileptic drug4. For these drug-resistant patients, the efficacy of alternative and adjunctive therapies is of significant interest.

Pre-clinical studies have shown that naturally occurring cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids) have anticonvulsant effects, that are mediated by the endocannabinoid system5, with cannabidiol (CBD) demonstrating anti-seizure effects in both in vivo and in vitro models6. In June 2018, the FDA approved GW Pharma’s Epidiolex (cannabidiol) CBD oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, in patients older than two years of age7. Epidiolex is the first FDA-approved drug that contains the purified substance derived from cannabis; and it is also the first FDA approval of a drug for the treatment of patients with Dravet syndrome.

Read the full article here

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