Researchers say cannabis may help treat epilepsy

Researchers say cannabis may help treat epilepsyA team of researchers have said that they might be able to use cannabis-based products to treat Epilepsy effectively.

The researchers at the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at NYU Langone Medical Centersaid that they might use extracts from marijuana to offer treatment of the disease. They are using a liquid form of cannabidiol, which is one of the key compounds of marijuana. The medicine is currently undergoing clinical trials in the United States and some other countries. They are aiming to study the effectiveness of the experimental medicine, called Epidiolex.

In a new study, researchers provided the medicine to 261 people with severe epilepsy for three months. They included children as young as 4 months and adults as old as 41 while the average age of participants was 11 years. They added Epidiolexto the participants' regular anti-epileptic drug treatments and found a reduction in the number of seizures in the people after three months.

The researchers said that the frequency of seizures in the people in the study was reduced by 45 percent. They also said that the frequency of seizures was reduced by at least 50 percent among 47 per cent of the participants while 9 per cent stopped having seizures completely after three months. On the other hand, 12 percent of the people stopped taking the medicine during the study stating they did not feel any change in symptoms while 5 percent of the participants experienced side effects including altered levels of liver enzymes and diarrhoea.

Lead author Dr. Orrin Devinsky, director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at NYU Langone Medical Center said, "The new study significantly extends the number of children and young adults with treatment-resistant epilepsy who received CBD."

The study was presented at the meeting of the American Epilepsy Society in Philadelphia.