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Cannabis compound reduces seizures

Feb. 26, 2018, 8:00 AM

(iStock)

About one third of patients treated for epilepsy continue to have seizures. Cannabidiol (CBD), one of the many active compounds in the cannabis (marijuana) plant, has gained attention as a treatment for epilepsy. Purified CBD is being tested, but artisanal formulations of CBD (oils) are already available and being used by patients.

To evaluate the efficacy of artisanal CBD for patients with epilepsy, Robert Carson, MD, PhD, and colleagues performed a retrospective study of medical records obtained from Vanderbilt’s BioVU resource.

They found that among 108 pediatric patients with epilepsy, 39 percent who added CBD oil to their treatments experienced a 50 percent reduction in seizures, 10 percent became seizure-free, and 22 percent were able to decrease doses of other anti-seizure medications.

The findings, reported in Epilepsy & Behavior, support the efficacy of CBD oil for seizure reduction with few side effects. The authors suggest caution for patients who use unregulated natural products, such as artisanal CBD, and advise clinicians who treat epilepsy to actively inquire about CBD use.

The datasets used for this research were obtained from Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s BioVU, which is supported by institutional funding and by the National Institutes of Health (grants RR025141, TR000445).

Send suggestions for articles to highlight in Aliquots and any other feedback about the column to aliquots@vanderbilt.edu

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