Cannabis-based magistral formulation is highly effective as an adjuvant treatment in drug-resistant focal epilepsy in adult patients: an open-label prospective cohort study


“Introduction: The safety and efficacy of a formulation high in cannabidiol (CBD) and low in ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to treat drug-resistant epilepsy have been examined previously in children, but not in adult population. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether CBD-rich oil, as an add-on treatment to conventional antiepileptic drugs, was effective, safe, and well-tolerated in adults with drug-resistant focal epilepsy (DRFE).

Methods: An open-label, prospective cohort, single-center in adult patients with DRFE, were receiving stable doses of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). A cannabis based-magistral formulation (CBMF) (100 mg/ml CBD and THC <1.9 mg/ml) was administrated 0.1 ml sublingually every 12 hours, up-titrated weekly. The primary outcome was to establish a reduction in seizures frequency >50% at 12 weeks. Adverse-drug reactions monitoring was done. p-value <0.05 was statistically significant.

Results: Between August 2020 and July 2022, 44 (38.6%) patients completed >3 months of follow-up. The median daily dose of CBD was 200 mg, that of THC was 4 mg, and that of CBD per kilogram of weight was 3.7 mg. The median number of seizures per month before CBD treatment was 11, and after CBD treatment was 2.5 (p<0.001). A reduction in seizures >50% at 12 week was achieved in 79.5% of the patients. The median percentage change in seizure frequency per month was 84.1% at 12 weeks. Five patients reported any adverse-drug reactions.

Conclusion: The CBMF is a highly effective and safety therapy to treat adult patients with DRFE. The reduction in seizures frequency is maintained over time.”

Cannabidiol effect in pentylenetetrazole-induced seizures depends on PI3K


“Background: The phytocannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) has previously shown to have anticonvulsant effects in preclinical and clinical studies. Recently, CBD has been approved to treat certain types of drug-resistant epileptic syndromes. However, the underlying mechanism of action remains unclear. The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling pathway has been proposed to modulate seizures and might be recruited by CBD. Thus, we tested the hypothesis that the anticonvulsant effect of CBD involves PI3K in a seizure model induced by pentylenetetrazole (PTZ).

Methods: We employed pharmacological and genetic approaches to inhibit PI3K and quantified its effects on seizure duration, latency, and number.

Results: PI3K genetic ablation increased the duration and number of seizures. CBD inhibited PTZ-induced seizures in mice. Genetic deletion of PI3K or pretreatment with the selective inhibitor LY294002 prevented CBD effects.

Conclusion: Our data strengthen the hypothesis that the CBD anticonvulsant effect requires the PI3K signaling pathway.”

Children and adolescents with ASD treated with CBD-rich cannabis exhibit significant improvements particularly in social symptoms: an open label study

Translational Psychiatry

“In recent years there has been growing interest in the potential benefits of CBD-rich cannabis treatment for children with ASD. Several open label studies and one double-blind placebo-controlled study have reported that CBD-rich cannabis is safe and potentially effective in reducing disruptive behaviors and improving social communication. However, previous studies have mostly based their conclusions on parental reports without the use of standardized clinical assessments.

Here, we conducted an open label study to examine the efficacy of 6 months of CBD-rich cannabis treatment in children and adolescents with ASD. Longitudinal changes in social communication abilities and restricted and repetitive behaviors (RRB) were quantified using parent report with the Social Responsiveness Scale and clinical assessment with the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS). We also quantified changes in adaptive behaviors using the Vineland, and cognitive abilities using an age-appropriate Wechsler test. Eighty-two of the 110 recruited participants completed the 6-month treatment protocol.

While some participants did not exhibit any improvement in symptoms, there were overall significant improvements in social communication abilities as quantified by the ADOS, SRS, and Vineland with larger improvements in participants who had more severe initial symptoms. Significant improvements in RRB were noted only with parent-reported SRS scores and there were no significant changes in cognitive scores.

These findings suggest that treatment with CBD-rich cannabis can yield improvements, particularly in social communication abilities, which were visible even when using standardized clinical assessments. Additional double-blind placebo-controlled studies utilizing standardized assessments are highly warranted for substantiating these findings.”

“Accumulating evidence, mostly from open-label uncontrolled studies suggest that CBD-rich cannabis may yield benefits for some individuals with ASD. In this study we demonstrate that this benefit includes improvement in social communication abilities, particularly for participants with high initial severity of core ASD symptoms. Moreover, this is the first study to examine the efficacy of cannabis treatment using both standardized clinical assessments (i.e., ADOS), parent interviews (i.e., Vineland) and questionnaires (i.e., SRS). Despite differences in individual scores reported by parents and clinicians, the convergence of evidence regarding overall improvements following treatment strengthens the conclusions. These positive findings motivate further double-blind placebo-controlled studies for determining the efficacy of treatment with specific cannabis strains and/or synthetic cannabinoids.”

Effects of Cannabidiol on Adaptive Behavior and Quality of Life in Pediatric Patients With Treatment-Resistant Epilepsy


“Background and purpose: Data regarding the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on the quality of life (QOL) are currently inadequate. We assessed the QOL of pediatric patients with epilepsy who were treated with CBD.

Methods: This prospective, open-label study included pediatric and adolescent patients (aged 2-18 years) with Dravet syndrome or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Oral CBD was administered at 10 mg/kg/day. The Korean version of the Quality Of Life in Childhood Epilepsy (QOLCE) questionnaire was administered when CBD treatment began and again after 6 months. Adaptive behavior was measured using the Korean versions of the Child Behavior Checklist (K-CBCL) and the second edition of the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (Vineland-II).

Results: This study included 41 patients (11 with Dravet syndrome and 30 with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome), of which 25 were male. The median age was 4.1 years. After 6 months, 26.8% (11/41) of patients experienced a ≥50% reduction in the number of seizures. The total score for the QOLCE questionnaire did not change from baseline to after 6 months of CBD treatment (85.71±39.65 vs. 83.12±48.01, respectively; p=0.630). The score in the motor skills domain of Vineland-II reduced from 48.67±13.43 at baseline to 45.18±14.08 after 6 months of treatment (p=0.005). No other Vineland-II scores and no K-CBCL scores had changed after 6 months of CBD treatment.

Conclusions: CBD is an efficacious antiseizure drug used to treat Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. However, it did not improve the patient QOL in our study, possibly because all of our patients had profound intellectual disabilities.”

Cannabidiol and epilepsy in Brazil: a current review

SciELO - Wikipedia

“Background: Cannabidiol (CBD) has become a promising therapeutic option in the treatment of epilepsy. Recent studies provide robust evidence that CBD is effective and safe. Limitations in current knowledge and regulatory issues still limit CBD use. CBD use regarding epilepsy types still lacks clear guidelines.

Objective: To critically review the main current pharmacological features and clinical issues regarding CBD use in epilepsy, to provide current regulatory background regarding CBD use in Brazil, and to suggest a practical CBD therapeutic guide in Brazil.

Methods: Non-systematic literature review (up to February 2022) of current concepts of CBD and epilepsy, including the authors’ personal experience.

Results: Five pivotal trials have led to CBD approval as an adjunctive treatment for Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes, and for the tuberous sclerosis complex. Efficacy of CBD in other drug-resistant epilepsies remains not completely understood. CBD adverse event profile and drug interactions are better understood. CBD is well tolerated. In Brazil, CBD is not classified as a medication, but as a product subject to a distinct regulatory legislation. CBD is still not offered by the National Brazilian health system, but can be purchased in authorized pharmacies or imported under prescription and signed informed consent.

Conclusion: CBD is a recognized novel treatment for epilepsy. Future well-designed studies and public health strategies are needed to offer widespread access to CBD, and to improve the quality of life of people living with epilepsy in Brazil.”

“In conclusion, epilepsy burden, especially medically refractory epilepsy, affects patients and families, particularly for medically refractory epilepsy. CBD offers hope in treating epilepsy. Current evidence demonstrates efficacy and safety in prescribing CBD for Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Tuberous Sclerosis Complex.”

Safety and efficacy of cannabidiol-cannabidiolic acid rich hemp extract in the treatment of refractory epileptic seizures in dogs

Archive of "Frontiers in Veterinary Science". - PMC

“The use of cannabidiol (CBD) in childhood refractory seizures has become a common therapeutic approach for specific seizure disorders in human medicine. Similarly, there is an interest in using CBD, cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) or cannabinoid-rich hemp products in the treatment of idiopathic epilepsy in dogs.

We aimed to examine a small cohort in a pilot investigation using a CBD and CBDA-rich hemp product for the treatment of refractory epileptic seizures in dogs.

Fourteen dogs were examined in a 24-week randomized cross-over study being provided placebo or CBD/CBDA-rich hemp extract treatment at 2 mg/kg orally every 12 h for each 12-week arm of the study. Serum chemistry, complete blood counts, serum anti-seizure medication (ASM) concentrations and epileptic seizure frequency were followed over both arms of the cross-over trial.

Results demonstrated that besides a mild increase in alkaline phosphatase, there were no alterations observed on routine bloodwork at 2, 6, and 12 weeks during either arm of the study.

Epileptic seizure frequency decreased across the population from a mean of 8.0 ± 4.8 during placebo treatment to 5.0 ± 3.6 with CBD/CBDA-rich hemp extract (P = 0.02). In addition, epileptic seizure event days over the 12 weeks of CBD/CBDA-rich hemp treatment were 4.1 ± 3.4, which was significantly different than during the 12 weeks of placebo treatment (5.8 ± 3.1; P =0.02). The number of dogs with a 50% reduction in epileptic activity while on treatment were 6/14, whereas 0/14 had reductions of 50% or greater while on the placebo (P = 0.02).

No differences were observed in serum zonisamide, phenobarbital or bromide concentrations while on the treatment across groups. Adverse events were minimal, but included somnolence (3/14) and transient increases in ataxia (4/14) during CBD/CBDA-rich hemp extract treatment; this was not significantly different from placebo. This further indicates that providing CBD/CBDA-rich hemp extract during refractory epilepsy (only partially responsive to ASM), in conjunction with other ASM appears safe.

Based on this information, the use of 2 mg/kg every 12 h of a CBD/CBDA-rich hemp extract can have benefits in reducing the incidence of epileptic seizures, when used concurrently with other ASMs.”

“Since the 1970’s or earlier, cannabinoids have been found to have anti-epileptic effects in animal seizure models. In conclusion, there appears to be a population of dogs that respond favorably to CBD/CBDA-rich hemp products for epileptic seizure reduction similar to other human, dog and rodent data.”

Prophylactic administration of cannabidiol reduces microglial inflammatory response to kainate-induced seizures and neurogenesis


“Microglia, the dynamic innate immune cells of the central nervous system, become activated in epilepsy. The process of microglial activation in epilepsy results in the creation of an inflammatory environment around the site of seizure onset, which contributes to the epileptogenic process and epilepsy progression. Cannabidiol (CBD) has been effective for use as an adjunctive treatment for two severe pediatric seizure disorders. Newly recognized as an Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drug treatment in epilepsy, it has gained in popularity primarily for pain management. Although CBD is readily available in stores and online retailers, its mechanism of action and specifically its effects on microglia and their functions are yet fully understood. In this study, we examine the effects of commercially available CBD on microglia inflammatory activation and neurogenic response, in the presence and absence of seizures. We use systemic administration of kainate to elicit seizures in mice, which are assessed behaviorally. Artisanal CBD is given in different modes of administration and timing to dissect its effect on seizure intensity, microglial activation and aberrant seizure-related neurogenesis. CBD significantly dampens microglial migration and accumulation to the hippocampus. While long term artisanal CBD use does not prevent or lessen seizure severity, CBD is a promising adjunctive partner for its ability to depress epileptogenic processes. These studies indicate that artisanal CBD is beneficial as it both decreases inflammation in the CNS and reduces the number of ectopic neurons deposited in the hippocampal area post seizure.”

A nutraceutical product, extracted from Cannabis sativa, modulates voltage-gated sodium channel function

ISRCTN - Publish with BioMed Central

“Background: Purified cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid, has gained regulatory approval to treat intractable childhood epilepsies. Despite this, artisanal and commercial CBD-dominant hemp-based products continue to be used by epilepsy patients. Notably, the CBD doses used in these latter products are much lower than that found to be effective in reducing seizures in clinical trials with purified CBD. This might be because these CBD-dominant hemp products contain other bioactive compounds, including phytocannabinoids and terpenes, which may exert unique effects on epilepsy-relevant drug targets. Voltage-gated sodium (NaV) channels are vital for initiation of neuronal action potential propagation and genetic mutations in these channels result in epilepsy phenotypes. Recent studies suggest that NaV channels are inhibited by purified CBD. However, the effect of cannabis-based products on the function of NaV channels is unknown.

Methods: Using automated-planar patch-clamp technology, we profile a hemp-derived nutraceutical product (NP) against human NaV1.1-NaV1.8 expressed in mammalian cells to examine effects on the biophysical properties of channel conductance, steady-state fast inactivation and recovery from fast inactivation.

Results: NP modifies peak current amplitude of the NaV1.1-NaV1.7 subtypes and has variable effects on the biophysical properties for all channel subtypes tested. NP potently inhibits NaV channels revealing half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) values of between 1.6 and 4.2 μg NP/mL. Purified CBD inhibits NaV1.1, NaV1.2, NaV1.6 and NaV1.7 to reveal IC50 values in the micromolar range. The CBD content of the product equates to IC50 values (93-245 nM), which are at least an order of magnitude lower than purified CBD. Unlike NP, hemp seed oil vehicle alone did not inhibit NaV channels, suggesting that the inhibitory effects of NP are independent of hemp seed oil.

Conclusions: This CBD-dominant NP potently inhibits NaV channels. Future study of the individual elements of NP, including phytocannabinoids and terpenes, may reveal a potent individual component or that its components interact to modulate NaV channels.”

Long-term cannabidiol treatment for seizures in patients with tuberous sclerosis complex: An open-label extension trial

“Objective: To evaluate the long-term safety and efficacy of add-on cannabidiol (CBD) in patients with seizures associated with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) in the open-label extension (OLE) of the randomized, placebo-controlled phase 3 trial GWPCARE6 (NCT02544763). Results of an interim (February 2019 data cut) analysis are reported.

Methods: Patients who completed the randomized trial enrolled to receive CBD (Epidiolex® in the United States; Epidyolex® in the EU; 100 mg/mL oral solution). The initial target dose was 25 mg/kg/day, which, based on response and tolerability, could be decreased or increased up to 50 mg/kg/day. The primary end point was safety. Key secondary end points included percentage reduction in TSC-associated (countable focal and generalized) seizures, responder rates, and Subject/Caregiver Global Impression of Change (S/CGIC).

Results: Of 201 patients who completed the randomized phase, 199 (99%) entered the OLE. Mean age was 13 years (range, 1-57). At the time of analysis, 5% of patients had completed treatment, 20% had withdrawn, and 75% were ongoing. One-year retention rate was 79%. Median treatment time was 267 days (range, 18-910) at a 27 mg/kg/day mean modal dose. Most patients (92%) had an adverse event (AE). Most common AEs were diarrhea (42%), seizure (22%), and decreased appetite (20%). AEs led to permanent discontinuation in 6% of patients. There was one death that was deemed treatment unrelated by the investigator. Elevated liver transaminases occurred in 17 patients (9%) patients; 12 were taking valproate. Median percentage reductions in seizure frequency (12-week windows across 48 weeks) were 54%-68%. Seizure responder rates (≥50%, ≥75%, 100% reduction) were 53%-61%, 29%-45%, and 6%-11% across 12-week windows for 48 weeks. Improvement on the S/CGIC scale was reported by 87% of patients/caregivers at 26 weeks.

Significance: In patients with TSC, long-term add-on CBD treatment was well tolerated and sustainably reduced seizures through 48 weeks, with most patients/caregivers reporting global improvement.”

“The results of our study show that add-on CBD can be an efficacious long-term treatment for TSC-associated seizures with manageable side effects and has been approved in patients as young as 1 year of age in the United States.”

Antiseizure Effects of Fully Characterized Non-Psychoactive Cannabis sativa L. Extracts in the Repeated 6-Hz Corneal Stimulation Test


“Compounds present in Cannabis sativa L. preparations have recently attracted much attention in the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy. Here, we screened two olive oil extracts from a non-psychoactive C. sativa variety, fully characterized by high-performance liquid chromatography and gas chromatography. Particularly, hemp oils with different concentrations of terpenes were administered at the same dose of cannabidiol (25 mg/kg/day orally), 1 h before the 6-Hz corneal stimulation test (44 mA). Mice were stimulated once a day for 5 days and evaluated by video-electrocorticographic recordings and behavioral analysis. Neuronal activation was assessed by FosB/ΔFosB immunoreactivity. Both oils significantly reduced the percentage of mice experiencing convulsive seizures in comparison to olive oil-treated mice (p < 0.050; Fisher’s exact test), but only the oil enriched with terpenes (K2) significantly accelerated full recovery from the seizure. These effects occurred in the presence of reduced power of delta rhythm, and, instead, increased power of theta rhythm, along with a lower FosB/ΔFosB expression in the subiculum (p < 0.050; Duncan’s method). The overall findings suggest that both cannabinoids and terpenes in oil extracts should be considered as potential therapeutic agents against epileptic seizures and epilepsy.”