Dravet syndrome can be a devastating diagnosis. It’s represented by frequent or long seizure episodes, which start in the first year of life. You may also hear it referred to as its previous name, SMEI or Severe Myoclonic Epilepsy of Infancy.
While developments delays are a problem, there is an extra level of concern about sudden unexpected death in epilepsy. A big concern is that this condition is typically drug-resistant. Luckily, CBD shows promise in helping children with this disorder.
Charlotte’s Web is high CBD, low THC strain produced by the Stanley Brother in Colorado, specifically made to reduce seizures and epilepsy. This was created in 2011 by crossing a strain of marijuana with industrial hemp. For this reason, the THC content remains under 0.3%, and as result, is classified as a dietary supplement by the federal government. For its high CBD properties, it was a prime candidate to help treat epileptic seizures in the young girl, Charlotte Figi.
One of the best ways to demonstrate how helpful CBD is in the treatment of Dravet Syndrome is the story of Charlotte Figi.
Charlotte started having seizures when she was only three months old. Her first seizure was sudden, lasted 30 minutes, but was considered an isolated incident. Unfortunately, the seizures continued and it wasn’t uncommon for Charlotte to have seizures lasting two to four hours at a time. Eventually, Charlotte was having as many as 300 grand mal seizures each week.
For a long time, she was on highly addictive, heavy-duty drugs including benzodiazepines and barbiturates at only two years old. Her heart eventually stopped multiple times and her parents ended up signing a do not resuscitate order.
Eventually, with a lot of hard work and convincing, the family tried the last treatment they had available to them – medical marijuana. They were surprised at how well the plant worked at controlling Charlotte’s seizures.
Of course, they wanted the benefits of CBD without giving their toddler THC. This turned into the development of a strain of cannabis called Charlotte’s Web that is high in CBD with no significant traces of THC.
Of course, there is more than just anecdotal evidence to support the use of CBD in treating Dravet Syndrome.
One study published in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at just that. They conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled study with 120 young adults and children. The CBD dose was measured out for non-placebo participants as 20 mg per kilogram of body weight.
They measured the median number of seizures of the group. In the placebo group, the number fell from 14.9 to 14.1 partially due to the placebo effect. For the CBD-taking participants, the frequency dropped from 12.4 to 5.9. This shows an impressive reduction in seizures by 53% compared to the only 5% of the placebo.
This reduction in seizures also helped with other problems associated with Dravet Syndrome. This includes an increased ability to sleep through the night and an increased quality of life. It also helped reduce the number of heavy-duty and addictive drugs that participants had to rely on.
Is CBD a Good Choice for Treating Dravet Syndrome?
At the end of the day, parents just want to make sure their children lead a long and happy life. However, a diagnosis like Dravet Syndrome can put that dream in jeopardy. This means that when something like CBD that can help manage this syndrome it’s a great choice for parents and their children.