The oral administration of CBD (cannabidiol) reduces seizure frequency in children with intractable epilepsy, according to placebo-controlled, randomized trial data published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
A team of investigators from the United States and England evaluated the effects of pharmaceutically standardized cannabidiol extracts (aka Epidiolex) versus placebo in 120 children and young adults with treatment-resistant Dravet syndrome.
“The median frequency of convulsive seizures per month decreased from 12.4 to 5.9 with cannabidiol, as compared with a decrease from 14.9 to 14.1 with placebo.”
In April, researchers announced similar results in patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, another severe form of epilepsy.
The lead author of the new study, Dr. Orrin Devinsky, director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at New York University Langone Medical Center said that the findings warrant the immediate rescheduling of marijuana under federal law. “Cannabis is approved in 20 countries for spasms in multiple sclerosis,” he said. “So to say there’s no evidence of efficacy is simply untrue. … They have to de-schedule this drug. It’s just not fair to the research and clinical communities, or to the patients. It’s medieval.”
The manufacturer of Epidiolex, British biotechnology company GW Pharmaceuticals, is seeking FDA approval for its product for the treatment of severe seizure disorders.
Full text of the study, “Trial of cannabidiol for drug resistant seizures in the Dravet syndrome,” appears in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Additional information regarding the efficacy of cannabis and cannabinoids in the treatment of epilepsy is available online from NORML.
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