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   May 23

Another medical use for cannabis as scientists find it helps reduce seizures in people with severe epilepsy

In one child, the drug reduced seizures from 50 a day to three a month

There remains concern the drug can cause anxiety, schizophrenia and addiction when given to people who are epileptic

Cannabis could be used to help treat epilepsy, new research has revealed.

The potential of medical marijuana and pure cannabidiol – an active substance in the cannabis plant – for neurologic conditions is highly controversial.

However, U.S. research has now suggested the drug could help people with severe epilepsy.

Medical marijuana can reduce the number of seizures an epilepsy patient has, research suggests

A series of articles, published in the journal Epilepsia, examined the potential use of medical marijuana and pure cannabidiol (CBD) in treating the condition.

In a case study, Dr Edward Maa, Chief of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Programme at Denver Health, details one mother’s experience of providing medical marijuana to her child with Dravet syndrome – a severe form of epilepsy.

The treatment was given in conjunction with the child’s anti-epileptic drug course.

The report states that the child’s seizure frequency was reduced from 50 convulsions per day to two to three night-time convulsions per month.

Dr Maa said: ‘Colorado is “ground zero” of the medical marijuana debate.

‘As medical professionals it is important that we further the evidence of whether CBD in cannabis is an effective anti-epileptic therapy.’

In one child, the drug reduced the number of seizures they were having from 50 a day to two to three a month

Currently, 21 states in the U.S. and the District of Columbia (DC) have legalised cannabis for medical purposes.

And, another study in the series found that THC – the primary psychoactive substance – and CBD – the main non-psychoactive ingredient in cannabis – display anti-convulsive properties in animals.

Dr Orrin Devinsky, director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Centre at New York University Langone Medical Centre, said: ‘While cannabis has been used to treat epilepsy for centuries, data from double-blind randomised, controlled trials of CBD or THC in epilepsy is lacking.

‘Randomised controlled studies of CBD in targeted epilepsy groups, such as patients with Dravet or Lennox-Gastaut syndromes, are in the planning stages.’

However, some research has suggested medical marijuana, when given to epilepsy patients, can cause anxiety, schizophrenia and addiction.

Dr Maria Roberta Cilio, Director of Research in Paediatric Epilepsy of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Centre in San Francisco, said: ‘There is a critical need for new therapies, especially for childhood-onset treatment-resistant epilepsies that impair quality of life and contribute to learning and behavioural disorders.

‘Rigorous investigation of the safety and efficacy of medical marijuana or individual components such as CBD are necessary for patients with epilepsy before any conclusion is made.’

Medical marijuana has also been used to treat people with MS, post-traumatic stress disorder and nerve pain as well as to reduce nausea and vomiting in people being given chemotherapy.

Source: Daily Mail

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