Cannabis drug slashes the risk of an epileptic fit by nearly 50%

  • Sufferers are 43.9% less likely to have a drop seizure if they take the medication
  • Drop seizures cause a lapse of muscle tone and usually last less than 15 seconds
  • The drug, Epidiolex, contains cannabidiol, a cannabis-derived supplement
  • Some 86% suffer side effects but these are usually mild, like loss of appetite
  • Cannabidiol does not contain any THC, which is what makes users ‘high’ 

Sufferers of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, which is a rare, severe form of the condition, are 43.9 percent less likely to have a drop seizure if they take the medication every day for 14 weeks, a US study found. Drop seizures cause a brief lapse of muscle tone and usually last less than 15 seconds.

Christina SanInocencio, executive director of the Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome Foundation, said: ‘Additional treatment options are desperately needed for patients who continue to struggle with uncontrolled seizures and these results offer much needed hope to those living with this debilitating condition.’

The drug, known as Epidiolex, contains cannabidiol, which is a cannabis-derived nutritional supplement that is thought to possess a range of medicinal benefits and has been reported to help people suffering from migraines, psoriasis, acne and depression.

A drug derived from cannabis reduces epilepsy patients' risk of a fit by nearly 50 percent

How the research was carried out 

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital analyzed 171 sufferers of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome aged between two and 55.

The scientists investigated the effectiveness of cannabidiol as an add-on therapy in controlling drop seizures in patients with a treatment-resistant form of the condition.

At the start of the study, the participants suffered at least two drop seizures a week every month.

They received either 20mg/kg of cannabidiol every day or placebo for 14 weeks.

‘These results offer much needed hope’

 Results further reveal placebo only reduced drop seizure frequency by 21.8 percent. Ms SanInocencio said: ‘Additional treatment options are desperately needed for patients who continue to struggle with uncontrolled seizures and these results offer much needed hope to those living with this debilitating condition.’

Although most side effects were mild, complications did affect 86 percent of the participants taking cannabidiol and included diarrhea, drowsiness and a reduced appetite.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5311065/Cannabis-drug-slashes-risk-epileptic-fit.html#ixzz55DeJfvKV

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