Cannabis drug can help children with epilepsy -
A drug made from cannabis may prevent seizures in children who suffer from severe forms of epilepsy, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Orrin Devinsky of NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, United States, said this is the first time that "solid, rigorous scientific data" has been obtained that a cannabis compound is safe And effective in epilepsy in children.
The specialist in neurology, who has been working for years on epilepsy, said research into medical uses of cannabis has been hindered by legal restrictions and demanding special licenses, as well as false notions of how cannabis is risky.
"Opiates kill more than 30,000 Americans a year, alcohol kills more than 80,000 a year and cannabis, as we all know, is likely to kill less than 50 people a year," he said.
For years, parents of patients have advocated more research and broader access to cannabis. However, studies have been few and unreliable.
This study did rigorous and large-scale testing. One group received the drug, another obtained a fake version, and neither patients, parents, or doctors knew which patients took the therapy or the placebo until the study ended.
In particular, the liquid form of cannabidiol, one of more than 100 marijuana ingredients, called Epidiolex, (eh'-pih-DYE'-uh-lehx) was studied. This does not contain THC, the hallucinogenic ingredient.
This substance is not yet sold, although its manufacturer, GW Pharmaceuticals of London, has already requested authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Patients involved in the study have Dravet syndrome (drah-VAY), a type of childhood genetic epilepsy characterized by frequent and drug-resistant seizures, some of which are so long-lasting that they require emergency care and can be fatal.
Source: "DN" Journal website and author on May 25, 2017