The two drugs which will target epilepsy and multiple sclerosis have been approved for use by the National Health Service (NHS).
CBD is all the rage right now — but for all the hype and products that are popping up, there is surprisingly little research to back it all up. Most of the studies that have been made were not on humans or did not have a thorough and convincing design. The only high-quality evidence is for cannabidiol’s neurological effects — and even that is limited in scope.
Most of the products and advertisements you see in shops are essentially labeled as supplements, not drugs — and there are very few CBD-based drugs on the market.
Two CBD-based drugs, Epidyolex and Sativex, have now been approved for NHS use in the UK.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended Epidyolex, a purified cannabidiol (CBD) oral solution, for use in the NHS. Epidyolex has been approved for children with two types of severe epilepsy: Lennox Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, both of which can cause multiple seizures a day. In their report, NICE concluded that the drug reduces seizure frequency by at least 30% after 6 months of treatment. It does not contain THC, the active ingredient in cannabis
Sativex, is a mouth spray that contains a mix of THC and CBD. It is used to treat muscle stiffness and spasms, known as spasticity, in multiple sclerosis. Sativex. It was the first CBD drug to be approved in the UK in 2010, despite what some saw as unconvincing clinical evidence.
Now, both drugs will be implemented in the NHS system — they were previously available for purchasing, but the fact that they are now implemented in the state healthcare system is a major step forward for acceptance of CBD products.
The MS Society in Britain has been campaigning for the use of CBD drugs for years. Galia Wilson, chairwoman of Dravet Syndrome UK, also praised the move, saying:
“Many families come to us asking about the potential of cannabis-based medicines, particularly cannabidiol, and we are thrilled that one is now available on the NHS.”
However, many feel that the measures don’t go nearly far enough. CBD drugs have not been recommended for pain treatment, which is one of the major symptoms of MS.
“It is particularly devastating there is no positive recommendation that the NHS should allow prescribing of whole-plant medical cannabis containing both CBD and THC in appropriate cases of intractable childhood epilepsy,” Millie Hinton, from the campaign End Our Pain, which advocates THC usage for pain management said.”
“It is this kind of whole-plant extract that has been shown to be life-transforming for a significant number of children.”
The need for new treatment avenues for these conditions (and many more). CBD shows definite promise, but more research is required to see just how useful it can be — it’s not a silver bullet, but a potentially useful tool in treatments.