You’ve seen the videos on social media. The ones where someone suffering from a seizure (or from ALS) takes a hit of weed and instantly relaxes. Well, it was finally announced, following the release of an important study this week, that marijuana should now be manufactured into a medication to use on people with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS), a severe form of epilepsy.
Cannabidiol (found in marijuana) is a molecule that directly affects and reduces these seizures. And it isn’t the part of the plant that gets you high, which may help tone down the stigmas and allow the drug to be used in a very positive way. The clinical study on the subject is set to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology in Boston, April 22.
According to the study, “nearly 40 percent of people with LGS, which starts in childhood, had at least a 50 percent reduction in drop seizures when taking a liquid form of cannabidiol compared to 15 percent taking a placebo. When someone has a drop seizure, their muscle tone changes, causing them to collapse. Children and adults with LGS have multiple kinds of seizures, including drop seizures and tonic-clonic seizures, which involve loss of consciousness and full-body convulsions. The seizures are hard to control and usually do not respond well to medications. Intellectual development is usually impaired in people with LGS.”
“This is important because this kind of epilepsy is incredibly difficult to treat,” said study author Anup Patel, MD, of Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University College of Medicine. “While there were more side effects for those taking cannabidiol, they were mostly well-tolerated. I believe that it may become an important new treatment option for these patients.”
There is a plan in place to submit a New Drug Application to the FDA later this year.