By Justin Gardner
Last December we reported on a landmark study that made history at the annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society. The study found that a cannabis extract called cannabidiol (CBD) has dramatically positive effects for children with seizures.
Clinical trials are continuing to confirm that CBD is likely a far better treatment for epileptic seizures than any pharmaceutical product. This non-psychoactive ingredient of cannabis is proving to have many diverse medical benefits.
The evidence is so compelling that even Deep South states are beginning to acknowledge the facts. There are hints that Louisiana may become the first in the region to legalize cannabis. Alabama took a brave step forward when it passed Carly’s Law in 2014, which allowed doctors to use CBD oil for treating epileptic seizures.
Lo and behold, the first clinical trial in the state, conducted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), has brought incredible benefits for patients. 90 percent of patients have experienced “some improvement.”
Dr. Jerzy Szaflarski, head of the Division of Epilepsy at UAB and a principal investigator in the study, told AL.com:
“We have noticed that at least 50 percent of the patients have more than 50 percent reduction in seizures, which is very nice. Some of these patients have multiple seizures per day. They report on CBD that they have days without seizures, which is great.”
The UAB study–the largest of its kind to date–could have a profound influence on the medical research into epilepsy treatments. It will be presented to the American Academy of Neurology in April, where more than 10,000 neurologists from around the world will be present.
“It will be presented to a large number of physicians, who will then go to their communities and have additional knowledge about CBD. There is a lot of interest in CBD for treatment for various types of epilepsy and we are collecting a lot of data that will allow us to decide if some patients will respond to this type of treatment or not,” said Dr. Szaflarski.
Funding for the research has been extended for a year, with the ultimate goal of producing an ideal form of CBD oil in prescription form to patients with severe seizures. The improvement in quality of life for some patients is nothing short of astounding, and the negative cognitive effects of pharmaceutical treatments are avoided.
“Many patients or families report to us that the patient or their child is more attentive and more interested in their environment, which is something that is very important in addition to seizure control or improved seizure control that these patients have positive, rather than negative, cognitive effects of the treatment,” said Dr. Szaflarski. “The majority of the seizure medications that are on the market have some negative effects of cognition. Here, we observe something to be different.“
One Alabama lawmaker is already attempting to bring Alabama into a more enlightened state. When Rep. Mike Ball saw that a 4-year-old girl who suffered from seizures had to move to Oregon to gain access to the CBD treatment that worked so well, he was prompted to introduce a bill decriminalizing medical cannabis oil.
With results such as the UAB study and others taking place around the country, it is downright criminal for government to prevent struggling patients from accessing the healing powers of cannabis.