Cannabis-Based Medicine May Cut Seizures in Half for Those with Difficult-to-Treat Epilepsy; “It May Become an Important New Treatment Option for These Patients,” Physician States

Taking cannabidiol may cut seizures in half for some children and adults with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), a severe form of epilepsy, according to new information released today from a large-scale controlled clinical study that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 69th Annual Meeting in Boston, April 22 to 28, 2017. Cannabidiol is a molecule from the cannabis plant that does not have the psychoactive properties that create a "high. “ Nearly 40 percent of people with LGS, which starts in childhood, had at least a 50 percent reduction in drop seizures when taking a liquid form of cannabidiol compared to 15 percent taking a placebo. When someone has a drop seizure, their muscle tone changes, causing them to collapse. Children and adults with LGS have multiple kinds of seizures, including drop seizures and tonic-clonic seizures, which involve loss of consciousness and full-body convulsions. The seizures are hard to control and usually do not respond well to medications. Intellectual development is usually impaired in people with LGS.Although the drop seizures of LGS are often very brief, they frequently lead to injury and trips to the hospital emergency room, so any reduction in drop seizure frequency is a benefit. "Our study found that cannabidiol shows great promise in that it may reduce seizures that are otherwise difficult to control," said study author Anup Patel, M.D., of Nationwide Children's Hospital Lisa GW and The Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. For the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, researchers followed 225 people with an average age of 16 for 14 weeks.
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