Seizures present a major problem for individuals with MECP2 Duplication Syndrome. Most, if not all, will develop seizures at some point in their lives, and their seizures are typically extremely difficult to treat with conventional anticonvulsants. Some families have attempted to treat seizures with Cannabidiol (CBD) after widespread publicity has touted its apparent effectiveness in treating seizures in children and adults with uncontrolled epilepsy. Officially the verdict is still out on its effectiveness, but the good news is that their is now a flood of new scientific reviews and studies emerging and generally it is quite supportive of CBD. Listed here are a few recent publications and a brief summary of relevant findings.
Hussain, S. A., Zhou, R., Jacobson, C., Weng, J., Cheng, E., Lay, J., et al. (2015). Perceived efficacy of cannabidiol-enriched cannabis extracts for treatment of pediatric epilepsy: A potential role for infantile spasms and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Epilepsy & Behavior, 47, 138-141.
This was a survey of 117 parents who had tried CBD to with their children who had hard to control seizures. 85% of parents reported a reduction in seizures and 17% reported elimination of seizures. In addition 53% of parents reported that their child slept better, 71% reported improved alertness during the day, and 63% reported improvements in mood. The authors point out the potential for bias in this type of study and call for more controlled trials.
Saade, D., & Joshi, C. (2015). Pure cannabidiol in the treatment of malignant migrating partial seizures in infancy: a case report. Pediatric Neurology, 52(5), 544-547.
This case study reports on the use of CBD to treat a serious seizure disorder of infancy in 10-month old child. Adding CBD to the exisiting seizure control regimen decreased seizures and reulted in developmental gains.
Mao, K., You, C., Lei, D., & Zhang, H. (2015). High dosage of cannabidiol (CBD) alleviates pentylenetetrazole-induced epilepsy in rats by exerting an anticonvulsive effect. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, 8(6), 8820-8827.
This is a very interesting study. Rats dosed with a seizure inducing drug were treated with CBD. This allowed precise measurement of the effect of the CBD. The results showed that CBD clearly resulted in decreased seizure activity. Equally or perhaps more importantly, the CBD actually resulted in decreased damage to brain cells. This is a very encouraging finding, however, it should be noticed that the dose of CBD was quite high.
Gobira, P. H., Vilela, L. R., Goncalves, B. D., Santos, R. P., de Oliveira, A. C., Vieira, L. B., et al. (2015). Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent, inhibits cocaine-induced seizures in mice: Possible role of the mTOR pathway and reduction in glutamate release. Neurotoxicology, 50, 116-121.
This is a another animal study that demonstrated that mice given CBD were more resistant to seizures induced by cocaine.
Vilela, L. R., Gomides, L. F., David, B. A., Antunes, M. M., Diniz, A. B., Moreira Fde, A., et al. (2015). Cannabidiol rescues acute hepatic toxicity and seizure induced by cocaine. Mediators Inflamm, 2015, 523418.
Some of thesame authors also found that CBD reduced liver damage resulting from cocaine overdose.
Geffrey, A. L., Pollack, S. F., Bruno, P. L., & Thiele, E. A. (2015). Drug-drug interaction between clobazam and cannabidiol in children with refractory epilepsy. Epilepsia, 56(8), 1246-1251.
This article provides some early information about clinical trials of CBD in children, but was released primarily to caution about a potential interaction between CBD treatment and clobazam (Frisium, Onfi, Urbanol). The good news is that most children with refractory (difficult to control) seizures in this study had a reduction in seizures with CBD. The caution was that some side effects were observed that were attributed to the CBD, but it was actually found that blood levels of Clobazam increased when CBD was added and the side effects were actually because of the increased Clobazam levels. The side effects were corrected by reducing the clobazam. This points out the need for careful monitoring under medical supervision if trying CBD.
These are just a few of the recent studies, current clinical trials can be expected to result in the publication of many more articles in the coming months and years.