Great news for people with epilepsy: new clinical trials prove that cannabis is effective in treating seizures. The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a study that examines the effect of cannabidiol therapy in sufferers of Dravet Syndrome. The results of the clinical trials were groundbreaking and could lead the way to more accessible medical marijuana.
Dravet Syndrome is a rare, genetic epilepsy disorder that manifests in infancy. Infants with the disorder may have typical development before it starts. However, frequent seizures lead to developmental delays in most cases. Although the infant’s first seizure is typically associated with a fever, the subsequent events can be triggered by changes in temperature, flashing lights, illness, and even emotional stress.
Children with Dravet Syndrome often exhibit developmental delays. This may improve or stabilize in early childhood, but cognitive impairment can persist. Other issues include motor problems, chronic infections, and nutritional problems.
The participants of this study were a group of 120 children and young adults who suffer from Dravet Syndrome and drug-resistant seizures. Some participants took an oral cannabidiol solution in addition to standard antiepileptic treatment over a fourteen-week period. The others received a placebo with the standard treatment.
This was a double-blind study, which means that neither the participants nor the researchers knew who was getting the cannabidiol and who was getting the placebo.
At the end of the fourteen-week clinical trial, only the group who received the cannabidiol therapy showed a significant improvement. 43% of those in the cannabidiol group had at least a 50% reduction in the frequency of convulsive seizures. In the placebo group, 27% of participants could say the same.
5% of patients in cannabidiol group became seizure-free. 0% of the placebo group did.
In laypersons terms, the new clinical trials prove that cannabis is effective in treating seizures.
It is important to note, that many of the participants in the cannabidiol group experienced adverse side effects. However, the researchers speculate that this could be a result of the combination of medication, and not a result of the cannabidiol alone.
Final Hit: New Clinical Trials Prove That Cannabis is Effective in Treating Seizures in Children
This clinical trial is important for a lot of reasons. Dravet Syndrome is notoriously difficult to treat and can be fatal, especially in young children. Because the new clinical trials prove that cannabis is effective in treating seizures, it can lead the way to more research and more clinical trials. This could, in turn, play a part in making medical cannabis more accessible to more people and more caregivers.