Epilepsy (Epilepsy and other Seizure Disorders)

Affecting people of all ages, epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by unpredictable seizures. These seizures are caused by disturbances in the brain’s electrical activity. Also known as a seizure disorder, the condition has a wide range of seizure types and and a spectrum of effects.

Epilepsy and Medical Marijuana

Sixty-five million people around the world suffer from epilepsy. In fact, 1 in 26 people in the United States will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime. Now, research has shown that medical marijuana can bring relief to patients as young as two years old suffering from different forms of epilepsy. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, “A number of studies have shown the benefit of specific plant-based CBD product in treating specific groups of people with epilepsy who have not responded to traditional therapies.”

FDA Approval of Epidiolex

One of those products is Epidiolex. On June 25, 2018, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved Epidiolex, an oral cannabidiol (CBD) solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two epilepsy syndromes—Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome—in people two years of age or older. Both syndromes are rare and severe types of childhood-onset epilepsy.

While federal regulations often limit medical marijuana research, Epidiolex was tested in three randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials—showing promise for breakthroughs in future studies.

Dr. Billy Dunn, the director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said of the advancement, “In addition to another important treatment option for Lennox—Gastaut patients, this first-ever approval of a drug specifically for Dravet [syndrome] patients will provide a significant and needed improvement in the therapeutic approach to caring for people with this condition.”

The information provided should not be used as a substitution for physician knowledge. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment with medicinal marijuana.

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