For a number of children and young adults with epilepsy, standard anti epileptic drugs are not treating their severe conditions. But another drug coming out of the medical marijuana industry may be able to help.
Researchers from the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco put this hypothesis to the test with a study of 162 children and young adults at 11 separate epilepsy centers across the country.
All of the subject were treated with Epidiolex, a cannabinoid that contains no THC, and therefore has no psychoactive effects on the children. The study went on for 12 weeks, and by the end of it, the had some impressive numbers.
The patients were showing a median of 36.5 percent reduction in monthly seizures. That also meant a median reduction of about 15 seizures per month, down from 30. Every patient was shown to be resistant to standard medications used to treat epilepsy.
“Better treatment for children with uncontrolled seizures is desperately needed. It’s important to get seizure control at any age, but in children, uncontrolled seizures may impact brain and neurocognitive development, which can have can extraordinary effect on quality of life and contribute to progressive cognitive impairment.”
Thanks to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco, these children and young people could have an answer. They were the first site to ever use Epidiolex for children with epilepsy, and they’re pioneering the work to make it a standard treatment.
Treatment for epilepsy is among the most compelling reasons for states to begin opening up to the medical marijuana industry. With absolutely no “getting high” effect, and only a substantial increase in quality of life and reduction in seizures, there is little excuse to legally bar the treatment.
The drug was supposed by GW Pharmaceuticals, though they had no input in the design of the experiment. The study was funded in part by the Epilepsy Therapy Project of the Epilepsy Foundation and Finding A Cure For Epilepsy And Seizures.