Nav: Home

CBD may alleviate seizures, benefit behaviors in people with neurodevelopmental conditions

September 18, 2019

CHAPEL HILL, NC - September 18, 2019 - A marijuana plant extract, also known as cannabidiol (CBD), is being commonly used to improve anxiety, sleep problems, pain, and many other neurological conditions. Now UNC School of Medicine researchers show it may alleviate seizures and normalize brain rhythms in Angelman syndrome, a rare neurodevelopmental condition.

Published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the research conducted using Angelman syndrome animal models shows that CBD could benefit kids and adults with this serious condition, which is characterized by intellectual disability, lack of speech, brain rhythm dysfunction, and deleterious and often drug-resistant epilepsy.

"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," said Ben Philpot, PhD, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Cell Biology and Physiology and associate director of the UNC Neuroscience Center. "Our results show CBD could help the medical community safely meet this need."

CBD, which is a major phytocannabinoid constituent of cannabis, has already shown to have anti-epileptic, anti-anxiety, and anti-psychotic effects. And in 2018, the FDA approved CBD for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare forms of epilepsy, but little is known about the potential anti-seizure and behavioral effects of CBD on Angelman symptom.

The Philpot lab is a leader in the creation of genetically modified mouse models of neurodevelopmental disorders, and they use these models to identify new treatments for various diseases, such as Rett, Pitt-Hopkins, and Angelman syndromes.

In experiments led by first author Bin Gu, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the Philpot lab, the UNC-Chapel Hill researchers systematically tested the beneficial effects of CBD on seizures, motor deficits, and brain activity abnormalities - as measured by EEG - in mice that genetically model Angelman syndrome, with the expectation that this information could guide eventual clinical use.

The researchers found that a single injection of CBD substantially lessened seizure severity in mice when the seizures were experimentally triggered by elevated body temperature or loud sounds. A typical anti-convulsant dose of CBD (100 mg/kg) caused mild sedation in mice but had little effect on motor coordination or balance. CBD also restored the normal brain rhythms which are commonly impaired in Angelman syndrome.

"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," Gu said.

Philpot and Gu added that patients and families should always seek advice from their physician before taking any CBD products, and that a human clinical trial is needed to fully understand its efficacy and safety.
-end-
Other authors were Madison Glass, Marie Rougié, Viktoriya Nikolova, Sheryl Moy, PhD, and Paul Carney, MD, all of UNC-Chapel Hill.

The National Institutes of Health and the Angelman Syndrome Foundation funded this work.

University of North Carolina Health Care

Related Seizures Articles:

Epilepsy: Seizures not forecastable as expected
Epileptic seizures can probably not be predicted by changes in brain wave patterns that were previously assumed to be characteristic precursors.
Predicting epileptic seizures might be more difficult than previously thought
By studying the brain dynamics of 28 subjects with epilepsy, scientists demonstrated there is no evidence for a previously suspected warning sign for seizures known as 'critical slowing down,' which refers to characteristic changes in the behavior of a complex system that approaches a theoretical tipping point; when this point is exceeded, there can be impactful and devastating changes.
Gene protective against fruit fly heat-induced seizures may explain some human seizures
Researchers identified a gene in fruit flies that helps prevent the hyperexcitability of specific neurons that trigger seizures.
Rethinking seizures associated with cardiac disease
Research from Washington University in St. Louis finds that mutations of a gene implicated in long QT syndrome in humans may trigger seizures because of their direct effects on certain classes of neurons in the brain -- independent from what the genetic mutations do to heart function.
UTSA reduces seizures by removing newborn neurons
Epileptic seizures happen in one of every 10 people who have experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Reducing seizures by removing newborn neurons
Removing new neurons born after a brain injury reduces seizures in mice, according to new research in JNeurosci.
Inducing seizures to stop seizures
Surgery is the only way to stop seizures in 30 per cent of patients with focal drug-resistant epilepsy.
New research could help predict seizures before they happen
A new study has found a pattern of molecules that appear in the blood before a seizure happens.
New drug could help treat neonatal seizures
A new drug that inhibits neonatal seizures in rodent models could open up new avenues for the treatment of epilepsy in human newborns.
Parents reassured febrile seizures following vaccination not dangerous
New University of Sydney research finds that febrile seizures after vaccination are rare, not serious and are no different to febrile seizures due to other causes such as from a virus.
More Seizures News and Seizures Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Mindset
In the past few months, human beings have come together to fight a global threat. This hour, TED speakers explore how our response can be the catalyst to fight another global crisis: climate change. Guests include political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac, diplomat Christiana Figueres, climate justice activist Xiye Bastida, and writer, illustrator, and artist Oliver Jeffers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Speedy Beet
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.