Of the 300 million people worldwide who are affected by a rare disease, approximately 25-30 million live in the United States. That’s one in 10 Americans according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). Many of these diseases go undiagnosed and a majority of them have no known cure. On February 28, people and organizations around the world will raise awareness for such ailments in honor of Rare Disease Day.
Launched by Rare Diseases Europe (EURORDIS) and its Council of National Alliances, Rare Disease Day began in 2008 with just 18 participating countries. The U.S. joined in 2009, and last year’s observation saw over 90 nations taking part. The patient-led campaign seeks to raise awareness and generate action by getting the public involved and informing decision makers and influencers, such as policy shapers, industry representatives, and health professionals.
The theme for this year’s Rare Disease Day is “bridging health and social care,” which will bring attention to the coordination of medical, social, and support services to help those living with rare diseases overcome their own personal challenges. And as Canna Hemp also aims to bridge a gap—one between health care professionals and patients seeking alternative healing—we were curious if cannabidiol (CBD) could be effective in treating any rare diseases.
In the U.S., any disease affecting less than 200,000 people is considered rare, according to NORD. The organization also says that Americans are affected by over 7,000 different rare diseases, which are listed on its online database. Read on for more information on how cannabidiol may aid in the treatment of certain rare diseases.
A severe form of epilepsy, LGS can be difficult to treat due to its resistance to a number of antiseizure medications, according to NORD. While this is the case, a 2018 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests cannabidiol may aid in reducing seizures in LGS patients. The double-blind, placebo-controlled trial randomly assigned varying amounts of CBD to LGS patients, with one of the three groups receiving a placebo. The findings state that “the addition of cannabidiol at a dose of 10 mg or 20 mg per kilogram per day to a conventional antiepileptic regimen resulted in greater reductions in the frequency of drop seizures than placebo.”
DS is also a severe form of epilepsy, one that is characterized by frequent, prolonged seizures, according to NORD. A 2017 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine observed two groups of DS patients, one receiving doses of CBD (in addition to standard antiepileptic treatment) and the other a placebo. The results pointed to a positive effect, as the group using CBD saw “a greater reduction in convulsive-seizure frequency than placebo.”
Sturge Weber Syndrome
Acccording to NORD, symptoms of SWS can include neurological abnormalities such as seizures, a facial birthmark, and eye abnormalities such as glaucoma. The organization reports that individuals with SWS may be affected by all three of these symptoms, or only one or two of them. A 2017 study suggested that cannabidiol “may be well tolerated as adjunctive medication for seizure management” for individuals living with Sturge-Weber syndrome.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 60 organic compounds, called cannabinoids, that are found in the cannabis plants of hemp and marijuana. It has been studied extensively for potential health benefits, as it exhibits analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, targeting its receptors that are responsible for various biological processes. Cannabidiol has no psychoactive effect like that of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a more familiar cannabinoid found in marijuana.
Canna Hemp’s products are made with CBD oil derived from organic hemp. They are all third-party lab tested, confirming ingredient potency, cannabinoid profile, microbials, residual solvents, and quality assurance.