When we think of prescription medications, rarely do we ever associate them with cannabinoids. However, did you know there is an FDA approved drug with a fixed ratio of CBD to treat various seizure disorders? The maker, GW Pharma, is also looking to create a newer and even better version, with CBDA. In 2015 they filed a patent application for the therapeutic use of CBDA for patients with various seizure disorders. Let’s take a deeper look at the patent and how CBDA can help patients experiencing seizures.
GW Pharma currently makes, Epidiolex, a plant-based oral solution with a fixed ratio of CBD to treat seizures for people 2 years of age and older with Dravet syndrome, and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, which are two rare forms of epilepsy. It received FDA approval in 2018 and was the first cannabinoid-based drug to receive approval in the United States. Since then it has helped a wide range of patients reduce the severity and frequency of their seizures.
In 2015 GW Pharma filed a patent to get a second drug approved with plant-derived cannabinoids to treat seizures, though this time it was for CBD’s precursor, CBDA. The research provided within the patent found CBDA offers an alternative anti-convulsant option then CBD, siting CBDA was more effective at treating seizures. Additionally, it was found patients will require much lower doses of CBDA to control their seizures, with doses less than 400mg and potential doses of 1mg-100mg.
What does research say about CBDA and seizures?
GW Pharma is correct in their patent that CBDA can be a powerful therapeutic for those suffering from various seizure disorders. Within the patent, they accredited CBDA’s superiority to its higher bioavailability. Bioavailability is the percentage or fraction of absorption of an administered drug or supplement that reaches the systemic circulation and can have an effect. A study published in the 24th Annual Symposium of the International Cannabinoid Research Society, found CBDA was 19x more bioavailable than CBD. This means when an equivalent amount of CBD and CBDA is ingested, the body absorbs much more CBDA. Thus, allowing patients to take lower doses of CBDA to be able to reduce the frequency of their seizures.
Research has also emerged in recent years demonstrating CBDA’s powerful effects on seizures. A 2019 study found CBDA can significantly reduce the temperature threshold at which Dravet Syndrome mice had generalized tonic-clonic seizures. Dravet Syndrome is a severe form of epilepsy characterized by frequent prolonged seizures, that can be triggered by high body temperature. By CBDA reducing the temperature threshold, it can then reduce the frequency and severity of seizures. (Anderson et al 2019)
In 2021, CBDA’s anti-convulsant effects were examined when introduced to a rat model with electroshock induced seizures. CBDA displayed dose dependent protection against the seizures, demonstrating its potential to help patients with chronic epilepsy. (Goerl et al 2021)
Seizures affect more than 65 million people globally and have a significant impairment on the patient’s quality of life. Seizures increase the risk of premature death in patients with epilepsy and makes their risk of mortality three times higher than those in the general population. The need for therapeutic options that patients can depend on is immediate, and CBDA offers a plant-derived option, that through research, has demonstrated great potential to help those suffering.