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Medical marijuana is safe and effective for epilepsy, study shows

By Oscar Pascual |

In a major breakthrough study, researchers have confirmed that the therapeutic compound found in marijuana known as cannabidiol (CBD) can be used as a safe and effective treatment for severe forms of epilepsy.

According to findings presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in 2015, 213 subjects of all ages were given an experimental compound derived from high-CBD cannabis plants to treat multiple types of epilepsy, including untreatable forms of childhood epilepsy. , such as Dravet. syndrome and Lennox Gastaut syndrome.

Participants showed an average 54 percent reduction in the number of seizures experienced when taking a liquid tincture titled Epidiolex, a CBD-rich drug currently in trial stages manufactured by GW Pharmaceuticals.

dr. Orrin Devinsky, director of New York University’s Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, conducted the study, calling the results promising, but stressing that more testing is needed.

The study of Dr. Devinsky agrees with preliminary data collected by the American Academy of Neurology, which also administered Epidiolex to 137 children and young adults. All patients also showed a 54 percent reduction in the number of seizures that occurred, while nine percent of all patients reported no seizures at all after three months of use.

“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 the Huffington Post. “But it’s not proof — that’s what the scientific studies that are happening now are looking at.”

Epidiolex reportedly contains nearly 99 percent CBD plus other cannabinoids, and could prove a safer alternative to current epilepsy treatments, including heavy sedatives, antipsychotics and even brain surgery – all of which could do more harm than good.

Photo credit: Aljazeera America

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