U.S.: New Review of Epilepsy and Medical Marijuana Provides Scientific Evidence
"Cannabis in the Treatment of Epilepsy" comes as demand grows for using the plant to treat intractable seizure disorders
The medical research group American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) has issued a new scientific review entitled "Cannabis in the Treatment of Epilepsy," which it is offering for free to the public. The review compiles much of the leading and historical research on epilepsy and cannabis (medical marijuana) for use by scientists, physicians, patients, and parents, as well as those producing and manufacturing it for treatment.
This newly compiled scientific information on epilepsy and medical marijuana comes as CNN correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta aired a follow-up documentary to last year's "Weed," both of which feature children whose parents use cannabis to help treat rare and sever forms of epilepsy unresponsive to medication. "Weed 2" highlights the plight of Vivian Wilson, a two-year-old who suffered 75 seizures a day, while Dr. Gupta's first documentary featured Charlotte Figi, a seven-year-old whose use of cannabis reduced her seizures from 300 per week to three or four a month.
"This review of cannabis and epilepsy provides scientific foundation for the claims being made by CNN correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta," said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. "This material provides us with the tools to increase our knowledge and build on the research that already exists."
The release by AHP is part of its soon-to-be-published Therapeutic Compendium on Cannabis, which along with the previously released Cannabis Monograph was developed in collaboration with ASA.
"Releasing this section of the monograph into the public domain at this time provides clinicians, patients, and their caregivers with a single document that comprehensively summarizes the scientific knowledge to date regarding cannabis and epilepsy," said Dr. Ben Whalley, director of research at the School of Pharmacy, University of Reading in the U.K., who also co-authored the review.
Last month, the Epilepsy Foundation urgently called for increased medical marijuana access and research in the U.S. In December, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved clinical trials to study the effects of cannabis on children with intractable epilepsy. The form of cannabis used in the trials will be Epidiolex, extracted from a strain of medical marijuana rich in cannabidiol (CBD), the second most prevalent chemical compound (cannabinoid) in the plant.
Such an intense focus has been placed on CBD that legislators in a number of states, including Alabama, Florida, Utah, and Wisconsin, are considering laws that exclusively promote CBD-rich cannabis. In reality, the therapeutic effects of cannabis arise from a synergistic effect between CBD, THC, and the dozens of other cannabinoids found in the plant.
Medical marijuana advocates argue that patients cannot be expected to rely on a single isolated compound like CBD, and such an approach fails to address their actual needs.
Graphic: Kottonmouth Kings