In June of this year, the FDA approved the first ever CBD-based medication designed to treat two of the rarest and most severe forms of epilepsy in patients aged two or older: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. The approval was so novel that, when GW Pharmaceuticals—the company that developed and conducted numerous pre-clinical and clinical trials with the medication—presented the FDA with results from those trials, it was Fast-Tracked for approval. Recently, the company presented findings from a wealth of pre-clinical and clinical trials at the 13th European Congress of Epileptology in Vienna, providing further evidence of the drug’s effectiveness.
Additional Evidence to Support CBD-Based Drug’s Effectiveness
GW Pharmaceuticals provided the FDA with substantial information when it was seeking approval. Now, the company presented conference attendees with further evidence of the safety and efficacy of the CBD-based drug designed to treat the two treatment-resistant forms of epilepsy. The data delved further into the drug’s pharmacology and its anti-seizure properties. The findings will provide researchers with a richer understanding of CBD’s role in combating and managing the two types of epilepsy, as well as related diseases. The next step is being granted marketing authorization approval; GW’s application is currently being reviewed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
GW’s CEO, Justin Grover, said in a statement that, “GW is proud to be presenting a wealth of data on its CBD oral solution to the epilepsy community. Our comprehensive pre-clinical and clinical programs provide an understanding of the way in which CBD exhibits anti-seizure effects and further supports its efficacy and tolerability profile in patients living with two of the most difficult-to-treat forms of epilepsy.”
“There is still a huge unmet medical need for effective medicines that help people suffering from severe forms of treatment resistant epilepsy, and we believe that our CBD oral solution may present an important new therapeutic option in the future.”
Promising Applications for CBD and Epilepsy
While the GW’s breakthrough is a game changer for CBD-based medication (and for those suffering from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome), other trials unrelated to GW’s pre-clinical and clinical trials are providing insight into how CBD helps treat epilepsy. Recent studies have found that when CBD is administered in a low dose for roughly a month, it offered no psychological or physical effects—a major concern for researchers. In a separate study, researchers found that patients who suffered from secondary generalized epilepsy from antiepileptic drugs benefited from CBD.
Though further research is still needed to explore CBD’s role in treating epilepsy, researchers do believe that CBD has a significant interaction with the equilibrative nucleoside transporter and the 5HT1a receptor. This findings could be the clue to one of the next big breakthroughs in research on CBD and epilepsy, as research has shown that, when CBD binds to this and other receptors, it provides neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties—two major concerns in battling epilepsy.