The Drug Enforcement Administration just rescheduled a cannabidiol drug called Epidiolex, used for epilepsy, from the very restricted Schedule I classification to Schedule V! This means that it now has the lowest degree of restriction, is accepted as having medical use, is considered incredibly safe and has low abuse potential, and is going to be available through prescription for patients with severe pediatric seizure disorders that fall into the category of “treatment-resistant epilepsy.”
This includes Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a disorder that usually starts at 3 years old, and Dravet syndrome, a frequent febrile seizure disorder starting in the first year of life that frequently continues as patients age. This CBD-based drug has undergone vigorous controlled clinical trials to obtain FDA approval, and is a HUGE win for the use of cannabis compounds for medicinal purposes! Clinical evidence shows it significantly improves adverse events profile of seizures, seizure severity, AND seizure frequency.
“We are pleased that the DEA has placed Epidiolex in the lowest restriction Schedule, because it will help ensure that patients with LGS and Dravet syndrome, two of the most debilitating forms of epilepsy, can access this important new treatment option through their physicians," Justin Gover, GW's chief executive officer, said in a news release.
Parents of children with epilepsy who use CBD as part of their treatment report an 85% reduction in seizure frequency, and 14% complete seizure freedom. Meaning no more seizures! Because I’m further geeking out on the data, one study showed that average patient seizure frequency decreased by nearly 2/3 from the first week of treatment to the 12th week, and then stayed stable. That’s huge! I'm so excited about the recent increase in access to data like this, and the access to treatment like this for patients who really need it!
*Though based in research, personal, and clinical experience, the opinions in this article should not be taken as medical advice. Botanical medicine and nutriceuticals should be treated with the same caution and care as pharmaceuticals, as both have the potential for strong, potentially adverse effects and allergic reactions. Please consult a trained herbal medicine practitioner, licensed Naturopathic Doctor, or licensed Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine before attempting treatment.
Hussain, S. A., Zhou, R., Jacobson, C., Weng, J., Cheng, E., Lay, J., ... & Sankar, R. (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.
O'Connell, B. K., Gloss, D., & Devinsky, O. (2017). Cannabinoids in treatment-resistant epilepsy: a review. Epilepsy & Behavior, 70, 341-348.
Szaflarski, J. P., Bebin, E. M., Cutter, G., DeWolfe, J., Dure, L. S., Gaston, T. E., ... & Thomas, A. E. (2018). Cannabidiol improves frequency and severity of seizures and reduces adverse events in an open-label add-on prospective study. Epilepsy & Behavior.
DEA Reschedules Cannabidiol, Paving the Way to Market - Medscape - Sep 27, 2018