May 14, 2015 – A recent study conducted at New York University has found that cannabidiol is a safe, well-tolerated and effective treatment for two types of severe childhood epilepsy.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is an endocannabinoid found in cannabis and can be sourced either from medical marijuana or industrial hemp. CBD does not deliver a psychoactive effect i.e. does not get the user “high”.
Existing treatments for epilepsy include heavy sedatives, anti-psychotics, and brain surgery — the side effects of which can be catastrophic.
According to findings presented at the recent American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting, 213 test subjects of all ages living with often untreatable epilepsies including Dravet syndrome and Lennox Gastaut syndrome, showed an average of a 54 percent decrease in their number of seizures while taking a medical marijuana extract. Only 12 patients did not finish the trial due to side effects like tiredness, decreased appetite or diarrhea.
The study was conducted by Dr Orrin Devinsky, director of the New York University Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. It was designed to test the safety and tolerance of Epidiolex, a cannabidiol drug produced by GW Pharmaceuticals.
The test subjects took a compound derived from marijuana plants rich in cannabidiol, or CBD, the second most common active ingredient in cannabis. Since Cannabidiol is the predominant endocannabinoid in industrial hemp, lab-tested, CBD-rich extracts are already available for sale in all 50 states both online and in dispensaries.
Study author Orrin Devinsky, MD, of New York University Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, said that these are early findings and larger, placebo-controlled, double-blind trials are needed to measure the effectiveness of the drug. “So far there have been few formal studies on this marijuana extract,” Devinsky said. “These results are of great interest, especially for the children and their parents who have been searching for an answer for these debilitating seizures.”
Epidiolex was approved for testing by the US Food and Drugs Administration even though cannabis is illegal in the United States.
Despite decades of evidence to the contrary, the federal government lists marijuana and CBD at the top of their list of dangerous drugs, and states cannabis has no medical use. Yet the U.S. government has also patented CBD to protect against brain damage.
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