A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine discovered that cannabis oil can reduce the frequency of seizures in children suffering from a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome. Cannabidiol (CBD) is the substance found in the plant which can influence the number of convulsive seizures.
Cannabidiol reduces the median number of seizures in children
There were 52 children who participated in the study and received medication containing cannabidiol for a period of 14 weeks. The median number of seizures they suffered decreased from 12.4 to 5.9. Also, 56 other children worked as a test method and received placebo medication. They, as well, experienced a drop in the median number of seizures from 14.9 to 14.1.
Orrin Devinsky, the lead author of the study and director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at NY Langone Medical Center, says this is not the first time when medical cannabis is documented as an effective treatment against epilepsy, and that the plant has a rich history in treating many illnesses.
This substance needs to become more accessible
Cannabidiol might help in reducing some of the social stigma which revolves around medical marijuana. This component is not psychoactive, unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, if administered to children younger than 10, it might have some side effects. These side effects include diarrhea, vomiting, or loss of appetite.
Finding a possible treatment for Dravet syndrome is a great achievement, as it causes frequent seizures and puts children at risk of death. However, cannabidiol is still hard to obtain. GW Pharmaceuticals is the only company that manufactures products with the substance. Also, only 1,500 children benefit from it, but they have to meet strict regulations and conditions.
This is why it is important to regulate cannabidiol as treatment for this syndrome. Epilepsy is a spectrum disorder, so other medication is usually ineffective for children with Dravet. Finding something that works is crucial for their survival and offers them a chance to live a normal life.
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