An essential compound found in cannabis may help to curb the frequency of epileptic seizures.
Epilepsy is a disorder in which nerve cell activity in the brain is disturbed, causing seizures.
Between 70 and 80 percent of people newly diagnosed with epilepsy manage to control their seizures completely using conventional drugs such as valproate and carbamazepine, but that still leaves up to a third whose condition is unresponsive to these treatments.
The study, published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, showed that cannabidiol, one of the cannabinoids found in cannabis, was more effective than a placebo drug at reducing seizure frequency by 50 percent or more, and improving quality of life.
“Pharmaceutical grade cannabidiol as adjuvant treatment in paediatric onset drug resistant epilepsy may reduce seizure frequency,” the researchers said.
“The study was mostly in paediatric samples with rare and severe epilepsy syndromes, examining other syndromes and cannabinoids are needed.”
Cannabidiol has shown promising results, especially in children and teenagers, whose epilepsy does not respond to the conventional drugs, according to the research led by Emily Stockings from the University of New South Wales in Australia.
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