Cannabis Epilepsy,The use of extracts from marijuana plants (cannabis) to treat children with epilepsy has been in the national spotlight since CNN’s Sanjay Gupta featured in August 2013 the story of Charlotte Figi, a Colorado child with Dravet syndrome. Charlotte’s seizures declined dramatically after she began taking a product called “Charlotte’s Web” extracted from cannabis. Charlotte’s Web oil differs in composition from standard marijuana in that it has a high level of cannabidiol (CBD), the component that appears to be frequently effective in controlling seizure activity, and very low levels of THC, the psychoactive component that makes marijuana users high.
Colorado has been at the epicenter of this development because the Stanley brothers, the producers of Charlotte’s Web, are located here. In fact, families from around the United States moved to Colorado in order to access Charlotte’s Web for their children, since federal law prohibits transporting marijuana across state lines, even to other states that permit use of marijuana for medical purposes. That influx has declined since the Stanleys and others have begun mailing their product to other states, on the basis that it contains less than 0.3% THC and thus qualifies as “industrial hemp,” which may be legally transported across state lines.
This summary provides information about CBD-related products, the status of related research, and resources for families, medical professionals, and others contemplating treatment decisions.