Epilepsy is a condition that can be very difficult to treat. Many people with epilepsy have their condition controlled with epilepsy medicines. For others - around 30 per cent of those with epilepsy - epilepsy medicines are not effective in controlling seizures.
Cannabis is made up of a number of components. It is thought that one of these may have anti-epileptic properties. This component, cannabidiol (CBD), is presently going through limited clinical trials. This study could give more of an insight into the possibility of using a component of cannabis to treat epilepsy. Epilepsy Action therefore welcomes research into this area. It could help our understanding of the anti-epileptic components of cannabis. It may also prove useful in the long term for people whose epilepsy does not respond to current anti-epileptic treatments.
Epilepsy Action’s online magazine Epilepsy Today has published a number of articles in recent years about the potential of cannabidiol as a treatment for epilepsy:
- After a lengthy pre-clinical research programme at the University of Reading, GW Pharmaceuticals has begun human trials of a chemical compound found in cannabis.
- Several US states are making medical marijuana legal while the American Epilepsy Society is calling for more research.
- A number of US families with children who have Dravet Syndrome, are moving to Colorado. They are doing this to benefit from the state’s more relaxed laws on the medicinal use of cannabis (marijuana).
Epilepsy Professional is Epilepsy Action’s magazine for health professionals interested in epilepsy. Our March 2014 edition featured an article by Benjamin J Whalley about the research and development of particular cannabis compounds.
Epilepsia is a professional journal about research on epilepsy. It is published by the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE). Epilepsia has printed articles talking about the arguments for and against using cannabis or cannabidoil.
- Editorial: "Cannabidiol and medical marijuana for the treatment of epilepsy"
- Article: "The case for medical marijuana in epilepsy"
- Article: "The case for assessing cannabidiol in epilepsy"
- Critical Review and Invited Commentary: "Cannabidiol: Pharmacology and potential therapeutic role in epilepsy and other neuropsychiatric disorders"