New Study Shows CBD is Effective Treatment for Convulsive Seizures But Has Side Effects

By William Stash Jones
Oregon Cannabis Connection


In a new study just released by The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found a significant decrease in convulsive seizures for Dravet Syndrome patients receiving Cannabidiol (CBD). Although the decrease in frequency of seizures was substantial, there were some significant side effects that were identified in the study.

Dravet Syndrome was spotlighted by Sanjay Gupta on CNN in 2013 when he traveled to Colorado and reported on Charlotte Figi, a little girl who suffers from the disease and was receiving treatment with high CBD cannabis extracts. A now famous high CBD strain, Charlotte’s Web, was named after her by the company that produced her medicine.

Funded by GW Pharmaceuticals and published online on May 25, 2017, researchers showed the median frequency of seizures per month dropped by over half, from 12.4 to 5.9 in the CBD group of patients. 43% of patients had more than a 50% drop in frequency during the 14 week long study.

The Clinical Global Impressions (CGI) Scale allows a clinician to quantify and track patient progress and treatment response over time. In this study, researchers found that CBD patients’ overall condition was improved by one category—on the seven category CGI scale—in 63% of patients.

However, there were significant side effects in the CBD group that occurred more frequently than in the placebo group. The adverse effects included diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, pyrexia, somnolence, and abnormal results on liver function tests. The results also showed no significant reducing in non-convulsive seizures.

Also, there more CBD patients actually withdrew from the trial due to these side effects. The dose patients were administered was 20mg of CBD per kilogram of body weight. At that proportion, a 50-pound child received about 450mg of CBD in the study.

The study concludes, “Among patients with the Dravet syndrome, cannabidiol resulted in a greater reduction in convulsive-seizure frequency than placebo and was associated with higher rates of adverse events.”

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William Stash Jones

William "Stash" Jones is a medical marijuana patient and medical cannabis advocate. He focuses on medical cannabis and its benefits, and believes that medical cannabis is the solution to many problems in medicine today.

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