We have previously spoken about medicinal cannabis and epilepsy. This post aims to address the use of medicinal cannabis to treat Dravet syndrome, a form of severe epilepsy. Symptoms can start to appear in infants below the age of one meaning Dravet syndrome affects the growth of the sufferer. People diagnosed with this disease can also suffer from convulsions. It is common for people who are affected to be resistant to antiepileptic drugs, which is why it is such a difficult condition to treat. Other symptoms commonly associated with this disease include frequent and prolonged convulsions, delayed behavioural development and language, speech, growth and nutritional problems.
The cause of Dravet syndrome is related to the SCN1A gene. When this gene does not work normally, sodium channels in the brain (which help the brain to work) stop functioning properly, causing problems in the brain. This leads to prolonged convulsions (of 2 minutes or more). Dravet syndrome affects 1 in 30,000 / 40,000 people.
Studies on medical cannabis to treat Dravet syndrome
Recently, researchers have studied the use of therapeutic cannabis to treat Dravet syndrome. Many studies have shown that cannabinoids of the Cannabis Sativa plant (especially CBD and THC) have beneficial properties such as being antiepileptic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory as well as many more.
Studies conducted in a double-blind manner have attempted to find out if cannabinoids can reduce the intensity and frequency of convulsions suffered by people with this type of epilepsy. In one study participants were divided into two groups. The first set of patients received an oral solution of cannabidiol (20mg of CBD per kg of body weight) and the latter took a placebo. Participants were monitored closely. The results showed that the mean convulsion frequency of those taking CBD decreased from 12.4 to 5.9 compared to a decrease of 14.9 to 14.1 for patients on the placebo. After 14 weeks of the trial, 43% of CBD patients experienced a 50% reduction in convulsion frequency.
In New England, another trial showed the benefits of cannabidiol and its ability to improve the daily lives of people with Dravet syndrome. The remaining percentage observed a reduction in the recurrence and severity of their convulsions.
These studies have shown the benefits of medicinal cannabis for treating Dravet syndrome. CBD is a natural treatment which has very low-risk side effects and can alleviate the symptoms of many other diseases, some of which have been explained in these testimonials from people who have undergone a cannabinoid treatment with Kalapa Clinic.