What is Epidiolex?
Epidiolex is a ‘pure CBD’ plant extract, developed by British company GW Pharmaceuticals. The drug comes in the form of a viscous liquid to be dispensed in syringe droppers.
It contains 98% CBD, and no psychoactive THC (THCA). The remainder is made up of trace amounts of other cannabinoids. Epidiolex is specifically designed to target treatment resistant epilepsies, in particular Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut.
Is It Effective?
Studies funded by GW Pharma have already been undertaken in the U.S. using non-approved, ‘artisanal’ CBD preparations to control seizures.
84% of parents reported a reduction in their child’s seizure frequency. Of these, 11% reported complete seizure freedom, 42% reported a greater than 80% reduction in seizure frequency, and six 32% reported a 25–60% seizure reduction.
Systematic investigations exploring the efficacy and safety of Epidiolex have yielded similarly encouraging results for previously untreatable epileptic conditions. A recent 12 week clinical study of Epidiolex resulted in a third of participants being seizure free after undergoing this treatment.
In 56% of cases, seizure frequency was reduced by at least 50%; 44% of participants’ seizure-frequency was reduced by 70%, and 33% of participants’ seizure-frequency was reduced by 90%. 33% of participants with Dravet syndrome were seizure-free at the end of the 12-week trial.
Current treatments involve a myriad of mind-numbing medications, brain surgeries, invasively implanted electrical stimulation devices, diets and alternative therapies, with little to no relief of symptoms. CBD offers parents and children alike unprecedented hope.
Side effects from CBD are illustrated in this graph:
The biological mechanism by which CBD reduces seizures is not known, although there are many theories.
Its suspected that cannabidiol achieves this by modulating electrical excitability in the brain. This excessive activity between neurons can cause seizures in the form of muscle spasms, loss of consciousness, strange behavior and other symptoms.
Although findings are encouraging, well-powered double-blind randomised, controlled studies on the efficacy of pure CBD for any disorder are lacking.