Several new studies on children with severe epilepsy who have been treated with the marijuana extract cannabidiol suggest some may be helped by the drug, NPR reports.
One study presented this week at the American Epilepsy Society meeting initially included 313 children from 16 epilepsy centers. Over three months, 16 percent of the children withdrew from the study because the cannabidiol was ineffective or had adverse effects.
Among the 261 children who stayed in the study, the number of seizures was reduced by about half on average, according to lead researcher Dr. Orrin Devinsky of New York University Langone Medical Center.
Some children continued to benefit from the treatment after the study ended. “In the subsequent periods, which are very encouraging, 9 percent of all patients and 13 percent of those with Dravet Syndrome epilepsy were seizure-free. Many have never been seizure-free before,” he says. Dravet syndrome is a rare and catastrophic form of intractable epilepsy that begins in infancy.