Cannabidiol reduced frequency of convulsive seizures in drug resistant Dravet syndrome.

BMJ Journals

“Study design

Design: Multinational double-blinded placebo-controlled trial. Patients randomised in 1:1 ratio to receive cannabidiol or placebo, in addition to stable antiepileptic treatment regime.

Study question

Setting: Twenty-three centres in Europe and USA.

 Patients: Patients aged 2 years to 18 years with established diagnosis of Dravet syndrome having at least four convulsive seizures during the 28-day baseline period despite regular antiepileptic medication.

Intervention: Adjunctive cannabidiol or placebo oral solution at 20 mg per kilogram of body weight per day.

Primary outcome: Percentage change in median frequency of convulsive seizures per month.

Follow-up period: Outcome measured over a 14-week treatment period in comparison to a 4-week baseline period.

Patient follow-up: One hundred and eight (90%) completed the trial: 85% (52/61) in the cannabidiol group and …”

http://ep.bmj.com/content/early/2017/09/22/archdischild-2017-313700

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The FAAH inhibitor URB597 suppresses hippocampal maximal dentate afterdischarges and restores seizure-induced impairment of short and long-term synaptic plasticity.

“Synthetic cannabinoids and phytocannabinoids have been shown to suppress seizures both in humans and experimental models of epilepsy.

However, they generally have a detrimental effect on memory and memory-related processes. Here we compared the effect of the inhibition of the endocannabinoid (eCB) degradation versus synthetic CB agonist on limbic seizures induced by maximal dentate activation (MDA) acute kindling. Moreover, we investigated the dentate gyrus (DG) granule cell reactivity and synaptic plasticity in naïve and in MDA-kindled anaesthetised rats.

We found that both the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) inhibitor URB597 and the synthetic cannabinoid agonist WIN55,212-2 displayed AM251-sensitive anti-seizure effects. WIN55,212-2, dose-dependently (0.5-2 mg/kg, i.p.) impaired short-term plasticity (STP) and long-term potentiation (LTP) at perforant path-DG synapses in naïve rats. Strikingly, URB597 (1 mg/kg, i.p.) was devoid of any deleterious effects in normal conditions, while it prevented seizure-induced alterations of both STP and LTP.

Our evidence indicates that boosting the eCB tone rather than general CB1 activation might represent a potential strategy for the development of a new class of drugs for treatment of both seizures and comorbid memory impairments associated with epilepsy.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28894217

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-11606-1

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[Cannabis use in Epilepsy. Current situation in Argentina and abroad].

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“Although at present we have over 20 different types of drugs for epilepsy, 30 to 40% of patients continue to have seizures.

Preliminary data from human studies suggest that cannabis, cannabidiol in particular, is effective in the treatment of some patients with epilepsy.

However, the available data are limited and do not allow defnitive conclusions. Only randomized clinical trials with controlled double-blind, placebo-controlled utilizing secure preparations and one or more cannabinoids, will provide comprehensive information on the effcacy and safety of use.

In order to perform these trials it is necessary to have legislation authorizing the use of cannabis on epilepsy.”

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Parent use of cannabis for intractable pediatric epilepsy: Everyday empiricism and the boundaries of scientific medicine.

Social Science & Medicine

“Cannabis is an increasingly sought-after remedy for US children with intractable (biomedically uncontrollable) epilepsy. However, like other complementary-alternative medicine (CAM) modalities, and particularly as a federally illegal, stigmatized substance, it is unsanctioned by mainstream medicine. Parents are largely on their own when it comes to learning about, procuring, dispensing, and monitoring treatments. Exploring how they manage is crucial to better assist them. Moreover, it can illuminate how ‘research’ done on the ground by laypeople variously disrupts and reinforces lay-expert and science-non-science divides. To those ends, in 2016, 25 Southern California parents who used, had used, or sought to use cannabis pediatrically for epilepsy/seizures were interviewed regarding their evidentiary standards, research methods, and aims when trying the drug. Parents generally described their work as experimentation; they saw their efforts as adhering to authorized scientific practices and standards, and as contributing to the authorized medical cannabis knowledge base. Findings subverted assumptions, based on an outdated stereotype of CAM, that cannabis-using parents do not believe in biomedicine. Indeed, parents’ desire for their children’s biomedical demarginalization, combined with biomedical dependency and a high caregiver burden, fueled a collaborative stance. Implications for understanding the boundaries of science are explored, as are norms for parent agency as ill children’s care managers, radicalization among people affected by contested illnesses, and the future of ‘medical marijuana.'”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28865255

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953617304756?via%3Dihub

 

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An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies.

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. publishers

“This literature survey aims to extend the comprehensive survey performed by Bergamaschi et al. in 2011 on cannabidiol (CBD) safety and side effects. Apart from updating the literature, this article focuses on clinical studies and CBD potential interactions with other drugs.

Results: In general, the often described favorable safety profile of CBD in humans was confirmed and extended by the reviewed research. The majority of studies were performed for treatment of epilepsy and psychotic disorders. Here, the most commonly reported side effects were tiredness, diarrhea, and changes of appetite/weight. In comparison with other drugs, used for the treatment of these medical conditions, CBD has a better side effect profile. This could improve patients’ compliance and adherence to treatment. CBD is often used as adjunct therapy. Therefore, more clinical research is warranted on CBD action on hepatic enzymes, drug transporters, and interactions with other drugs and to see if this mainly leads to positive or negative effects, for example, reducing the needed clobazam doses in epilepsy and therefore clobazam’s side effects.

Conclusion: This review also illustrates that some important toxicological parameters are yet to be studied, for example, if CBD has an effect on hormones. Additionally, more clinical trials with a greater number of participants and longer chronic CBD administration are still lacking.”

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Even High Doses of Oral Cannabidol Do Not Cause THC-Like Effects in Humans

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. publishers

“Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid of the cannabis plant devoid of intoxicating effects. It may be of therapeutic value in a large number of diseases, including epilepsy, anxiety disorders, depression, schizophrenic psychosis, inflammatory diseases, dystonia, nausea, and vomiting without causing relevant or severe side effects.

No biosynthetic enzyme or pathway exists in the human body to convert CBD to THC.

This short communication examines the question whether the experimental data presented in a study by Merrick et al. are of clinical relevance. These authors found that cannabidiol (CBD), a major cannabinoid of the cannabis plant devoid of psychotropic effects and of great interest for therapeutic use in several medical conditions, may be converted in gastric fluid into the psychoactive cannabinoids delta-8-THC and delta-9-THC to a relevant degree. They concluded that “the acidic environment during normal gastrointestinal transit can expose orally CBD-treated patients to levels of THC and other psychoactive cannabinoids that may exceed the threshold for a positive physiological response.” They issued a warning concerning oral use of CBD and recommend the development of other delivery methods.

However, the available clinical data do not support this conclusion and recommendation, since even high doses of oral CBD do not cause psychological, psychomotor, cognitive, or physical effects that are characteristic for THC or cannabis rich in THC. On the contrary, in the past decades and by several groups, high doses of oral CBD were consistently shown to cause opposite effects to those of THC in clinical studies. In addition, administration of CBD did not result in detectable THC blood concentrations.

Thus, there is no reason to avoid oral use of CBD, which has been demonstrated to be a safe means of administration of CBD, even at very high doses.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28861499

http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/can.2016.0036

“A Conversion of Oral Cannabidiol to Delta9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Seems Not to Occur in Humans.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28861507

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The potential role of cannabinoids in epilepsy treatment.

Publication Cover

“Epilepsy is one of the world’s oldest recognized and prevalent neurological diseases. It has a great negative impact on patients’ quality of life (QOL) as a consequence of treatment resistant seizures in about 30% of patients together with drugs’ side effects and comorbidities. Therefore, new drugs are needed and cannabinoids, above all cannabidiol, have recently gathered attention.

This review summarizes the scientific data from human and animal studies on the major cannabinoids which have been of interest in the treatment of epilepsy, including drugs acting on the endocannabinoid system.

Despite the fact that cannabis has been used for many purposes over 4 millennia, the development of drugs based on cannabinoids has been very slow. Only recently, research has focused on their potential effects and CBD is the first treatment of this group with clinical evidence of efficacy in children with Dravet syndrome; moreover, other studies are currently ongoing to confirm its effectiveness in patients with epilepsy.

On the other hand, it will be of interest to understand whether drugs acting on the endocannabinoid system will be able to reach the market and prove their known preclinical efficacy also in patients with epilepsy.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28845714   http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14737175.2017.1373019

 

“The role of cannabinoids and endocannabinoid system in the treatment of epilepsy. Cannabis has been used for thousands of years in the treatment of various diseases. Cannabinoids have been shown in preliminary animal model studies and in studies of patients with epilepsy to have antiepileptic activity. ” https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/joepi.ahead-of-print/joepi-2015-0034/joepi-2015-0034.xml
“Phytocannabinoids produce anticonvulsant effects through the endocannabinoid system, with few adverse effects.”
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Anticonvulsant effect of cannabidiol in the pentylenetetrazole model: Pharmacological mechanisms, electroencephalographic profile, and brain cytokine levels.

“Cannabidiol (CBD), the main nonpsychotomimetic compound from Cannabis sativa, inhibits experimental seizures in animal models and alleviates certain types of intractable epilepsies in patients.

Here we tested the hypothesis that CBD anticonvulsant mechanisms are prevented by cannabinoid (CB1 and CB2) and vanilloid (TRPV1) receptor blockers. We also investigated its effects on electroencephalographic (EEG) activity and hippocampal cytokines in the pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) model.

Pretreatment with CBD (60mg/kg) attenuated seizures induced by intraperitoneal, subcutaneous, and intravenous PTZ administration in mice. The effects were reversed by CB1, CB2, and TRPV1 selective antagonists (AM251, AM630, and SB366791, respectively). Additionally, CBD delayed seizure sensitization resulting from repeated PTZ administration (kindling). This cannabinoid also prevented PTZ-induced EEG activity and interleukin-6 increase in prefrontal cortex.

In conclusion, the robust anticonvulsant effects of CBD may result from multiple pharmacological mechanisms, including facilitation of endocannabinoid signaling and TRPV1 mechanisms. These findings advance our understanding on CBD inhibition of seizures, EEG activity, and cytokine actions, with potential implications for the development of new treatments for certain epileptic syndromes.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28821005

http://www.epilepsybehavior.com/article/S1525-5050(17)30322-0/fulltext

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Modulation of Astrocyte Activity by Cannabidiol, a Nonpsychoactive Cannabinoid.

ijms-logo

“The astrocytes have gained in recent decades an enormous interest as a potential target for neurotherapies, due to their essential and pleiotropic roles in brain physiology and pathology. Their precise regulation is still far from understood, although several candidate molecules/systems arise as promising targets for astrocyte-mediated neuroregulation and/or neuroprotection.

The cannabinoid system and its ligands have been shown to interact and affect activities of astrocytes. Cannabidiol (CBD) is the main non-psychotomimetic cannabinoid derived from Cannabis. CBD is devoid of direct CB1 and CB2 receptor activity, but exerts a number of important effects in the brain. Here, we attempt to sum up the current findings on the effects of CBD on astrocyte activity, and in this way on central nervous system (CNS) functions, across various tested models and neuropathologies.

The collected data shows that increased astrocyte activity is suppressed in the presence of CBD in models of ischemia, Alzheimer-like and Multiple-Sclerosis-like neurodegenerations, sciatic nerve injury, epilepsy, and schizophrenia. Moreover, CBD has been shown to decrease proinflammatory functions and signaling in astrocytes.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28788104

http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/18/8/1669

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Could Cannabidiol be a Treatment Option for Intractable Childhood and Adolescent Epilepsy?

 “Epilepsy is an important disease that affects brain function, particularly in those under 3 years old. Uncontrolled seizures can affect cognitive function and quality of life. For these reasons, many trials have been conducted to investigate treatments for pediatric epilepsy. Currently, many antiepileptic drugs are available for the treatment of epilepsy, but cases of intractable epilepsy continue to exist.

In the past, cannabis has been tested as a potential treatment of intractable epilepsy.

Since 2013, 10 epilepsy centers in America have conducted research regarding the efficacy of cannabis to treat epilepsy. Cannabis has many components, including cannabidiol (CBD) and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC has psychoactive properties exerted through its binding of the cannabinoid receptor (CBR) whereas CBD is a CBR antagonist. The inhibition of epilepsy by CBD may therefore be caused by various mechanisms, although the detailed mechanisms of CBD actions have not yet been well defined. In most studies, trial doses of CBD were 2-5 mg/kg/day.

Several such studies have shown that CBD does have efficacy for treatment of epilepsy.

Reported adverse effects of CBD were mostly mild, including drowsiness, diarrhea, and decreased appetite. Severe adverse reactions requiring treatment, such as status epilepticus, have also been reported but it is not clear that this is related to CBD. Furthermore, many previous studies have been limited by an open-label or survey design. In future, double-blind, controlled trials are required and the use of CBD to treat other neurological problems should also be investigated.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28775950

“Most studies suggest anticonvulsant effects of CBD, and consider most adverse effects to be mild. It must be borne in mind that CBD is still illegal in many contexts. However, it has the potential to treat various neurological problems, including epilepsy.” http://www.j-epilepsy.org/journal/view.php?doi=10.14581/jer.17003

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