Research Under Way to Test Marijuana Extract as an Epilepsy Treatment • High Times
Tuesday, Apr 14, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — Even as some states are allowing use of certain marijuana extracts to treat severe epilepsy, the rigorous research needed to prove if one of these compounds really works is just getting under way.

Monday, researchers said new findings from a small safety study suggest the extract cannabidiol should be put to the real test. That next-step experiment began enrolling patients earlier this month, and will compare a highly purified version named Epidiolex to a dummy drug, said lead researcher Dr. Orrin Devinsky, who will discuss the safety study at an American Academy of Neurology meeting next week.

“There’s a dire need” for better epilepsy medications, said Devinsky, who directs New York University Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. “We may start to get some answers within a year.”

Cannabidiol, or CBD, doesn’t cause a high and, when mixed with an oil for patients to swallow, has been widely touted as a potential therapy for hard-to-treat forms of epilepsy. Two drug companies are studying the possibility, but doctors’ groups say there’s little medical evidence yet to show if the compound is effective or even safe.