- CBD has only been approved by the FDA to be used in the treatment of two kinds of adolescent epilepsy.
- The research on using CBD to treat Angelman syndrome was performed on mice in a trial.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is an extract that comes from the marijuana plant, and many studies have supported its use as an anxiety soother, sleep inducer, and pain reliever. While more evidence is clearly needed to make this possible, the UNC School of Medicine’s researchers have recently studied the substance as well. According to their findings, the use of CBD could potentially alleviate seizures and create normal brain rhythms in Angelman syndrome, which is a rate condition affecting neurological development.
The findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, showing that CBD stands to benefit both adults and children alike with this serious condition. Angelman syndrome presents with multiple symptoms, including lack of speech, brain rhythm dysfunction, intellectual disability, deleterious, and sometimes drug-resistant epilepsy.
Ben Philpot, Ph.D., Kenan Distinguished Professor of Cell Biology and Physiology and associate director of the UNC Neuroscience Center, believes that there is more that can be done for these sufferers.
“There is an unmet need for better treatments for kids with Angelman syndrome to help them live fuller lives and to aid their families and caregivers. Our results show CBD could help the medical community safely meet this need,”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved CBD for use in an anti-seizure medication, though some research shows that the substance can help with anxiety and psychotic issues. However, there is surprisingly little known about how CBD can impact Angelman syndrome, considering the positive effect it has on some type of epilepsy.
The UNC-Chapel Hill researchers tested how CBD affected seizures, motor deficits, and brain activity abnormalities in mice, specifically modeled after Angelman syndrome, with the use of the Philpot Lab. Bin Gu, Ph.D., the first author in the study, noted that the single injection of CBD into the mice was able to lessen seizure severity, and the seizures were triggered by loud sounds and increasing body temperature. With a 10mg/kg anti-convulsant dose of CBD, which is the typical amount, was able to cause mild sedation, but the mice did not experience any difficulties or changes in motor coordination or balance. CBD was also able to restore the brain rhythms that Angelman syndrome usually impairs.
“We’re confident our study provides the preclinical framework necessary to better guide the rational development of CBD as a therapy to help lessen seizures associated with Angelman syndrome and other neurodevelopmental disorders.”
Both Philpot and Gu noted that the patients and families in search of a solution would be wise to reach out to a medical professional before they turn to CBD to support themselves. Before CBD is considered to be a helpful remedy to Angelman syndrome, a human clinical trial is necessary for both efficacy and safety’s sake. However, no further notice has been given by the duo regarding the implementation of a human study.