Compound in Pot Eases Severe Form of Epilepsy

WEDNESDAY, May 24, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- A landmark clinical trial has shown that a compound in marijuana can ease life-threatening seizures in children with a rare and devastating form of epilepsy.

Cannabidiol -- a non-intoxicating chemical -- reduced seizure frequency by 39 percent in patients with Dravet Syndrome, researchers report.

This is the first randomized, controlled trial to show that cannabidiol (CBD) can help control seizures in some people with epilepsy, said study author Dr. Orrin Devinsky. He is director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.

"It's a big landmark in the scientific study of cannabis, and it's a major landmark in epilepsy care," Devinsky said. "After four millennia of using cannabis to treat epilepsy, we now have for the first time scientifically rigorously obtained data that this specific compound works in this specific form of epilepsy."

Brandy Fureman, vice president of research and new therapies for the Epilepsy Foundation, agreed that the new trial provides "gold standard" evidence of cannabidiol's effectiveness.

WebMD News from HealthDay SOURCES: Orrin Devinsky, M.D., director, Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City; Brandy Fureman, Ph.D., vice president, research and new therapies, Epilepsy Foundation; Samuel Berkovic, M.D., director, University of Melbourne's Epilepsy Research Center, Australia; May 25, 2017, New England Journal of Medicine Copyright © 2013-2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.