By Oscar Pascual |
Children suffering from severe epilepsy can find hope in the form of cannabis oil, a recent study shows.
A cannabis extract concentrated with the therapeutic compound cannabidiol (CBD) caused a dramatic reduction in seizures in more than half of their subjects, according to preliminary data from the American Academy of Neurology.
Using a 99 percent pure liquid cannabis extract known as Epidiolex, researchers at the NYU Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center administered the drug to 137 children and young adults suffering from serious seizure disorders such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, which can cause more than 100 attacks a day.
After 12 weeks, 51 percent of the children had only half as many seizures as before. A 54 percent decrease in seizure frequency was seen in all patients, and those suffering from Dravet syndrome saw an even greater improvement by 63 percent.
In fact, nine percent of all patients — including 16 percent of patients with Dravet syndrome — had no seizures at all after three months.
“What’s exciting is that there is more evidence that these types of drugs can be used to treat these conditions,” said Dr. Angus Wilfong, a pediatric neurologist who leads Epidiolex research at Texas Children’s Hospital, in an interview with Huffington Post. “But it’s not proof — that’s what the scientific studies that are happening now are looking at.”
While CBD oil isn’t 100 percent proven to treat epilepsy, the new research adds anecdotal evidence from children treated by Charlotte’s Web — an effective cannabis extract named after Dravet patient Charlotte Figi, who experienced tremendous relief from the oil.
Despite the lack of scientific studies, the current evidence is enough for thousands of families to leave their homes to treat their children with cannabis oil, effectively turning them into marijuana refugees.
Steve DeAngelo, whose medical marijuana collective is helping Harborside Health Center treat epileptic children, believes this trend will continue until major pharmaceutical companies decide to produce CBD oil.
“There is currently no pharmaceutical product available that can treat severe epilepsy in children,” DeAngelo told the Post. “Unless and until those pharmaceuticals are available at affordable prices, it is irresponsible for doctors to condemn parents who can only watch their children suffer and possibly die.”
Photo credit: askdrgarland.com