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marijuana oil and seizures

In 2013, reports that a chemical called cannabidiol (CBD) had reduced the seizures of a 6-year-old girl from near-death levels to almost zero sent desperate patients everywhere on a frenzied quest for treatment.

According to several media outlets, Charlotte Figi was suffering 300 grand mal seizures per week and had lost the ability to walk, talk, and eat. Existing epilepsy medication had failed her. But CBD—a component of cannabis that does not trigger the plant’s characteristic high—reduced her episodes to a few per month, and, as her parents told reporters, ushered in a full cognitive recovery.

The science on this promising marijuana extract is still uncertain

CBD reduced seizures by a monthly average of 36.5 percent; only five patients saw their motor seizures completely disappear during the study period, and only two patients became completely seizure-free.

Still, treatment-resistant epilepsy is a debilitating condition that can dramatically impede a person’s quality of life. In severe cases, it can be life-threatening.

By most estimates, existing seizure medications fail about one-third of all sufferers, either because the drugs don’t stop the seizures or because the side effects are too severe. As Figi’s story spread, families with loved ones suffering from this type of epilepsy (which can range from seriously debilitating to life-threatening) began relocating from states where CBD could not be legally obtained to states where it could. At least some of them reported similarly miraculous responses to it.

"We went from constant seizures and being in hospital all the time to her being happy and attending school," she says.

They were offered Epidoylex on the NHS, but did not want to risk giving it to Charlie after speaking to other families.

'We felt we had to break the law'

"We are so lucky, but we feel so bad for the other families in this terrible situation," she says.

She says: "Alfie goes for months at a time without seizures. It is not a cure, but we are not dealing with life-threatening emergencies every week.

Ms Montgomery says the family flew to the Netherlands to obtain it from a Dutch doctor, using a private UK prescription, because the NHS refused to pay for it.

In June 2018, the FDA approved Epidiolex allowing medical providers to prescribe this medication for Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes, similar to how they are able to prescribe other seizure medications. In late September 2018, the DEA rescheduled Epidiolex to Schedule V and all states and the District of Columbia have created pathways so that it can be brought to market for consumers. Read an FAQ to learn more.

While the carry-on quantity of liquids is less than 3.4 ounces/100mL, TSA allows larger amounts of medically necessary liquids in reasonable quantities for your trip. However, you must declare them to security officers at the checkpoint for inspection. In checked baggage, liquid medications are allowed without packing requirements, quantity limitations, or notification requirements. Learn more on TSA’s website.

A number of clinical trials are active and recruiting people, including studies using Epidiolex in people with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex and Sturge-Weber Syndrome.

What are the laws governing medical marijuana and cannabidiol?

*The Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2) legalizes hemp and hemp-derived CBD. The bill changes the definition of hemp to encompass any plant or product derived from the plant that contain less than 0.3% THC by dry weight and classifies them as exempt from the controlled substance restrictions applied to marijuana. The law further amends the Controlled Substances Act to exempt hemp from Schedule I drugs.

The Journal of Child Neurology hosted a special report podcast about cannabis on March 6, 2017. In the report, Dr. Alison Christy interviews Dr. Jackie Gofshteyn, a resident in pediatric neurology at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, about her article, “Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Febrile Infection-Related Epilepsy Syndrome (FIRES) in the Acute and Chronic Phases.” Dr. Christy also speaks with epilepsy.com’s medical cannabis editor, Dr. Anup Patel of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, about his article, “Medical Marijuana in Pediatric Neurological Disorders.” Margo Roemeling, a third year medical student at Oregon Health and Sciences University, shares the learning topic on the history and use of marijuana in the treatment of pediatric neurologic conditions.

This study was able to show that among people with the Dravet syndrome, CBD resulted in a greater decrease in convulsive-seizures than placebo. It also showed that CBD was associated with higher rates of adverse events.

Providers do not need a special license or certificate to prescribe Epidiolex. Epidiolex is the first and only plant-based treatment derived from cannabis for use as a treatment for seizures with FDA approval. Other formulations of medical cannabis have not been approved by the FDA.