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Study Proves Marijuana-Based Oil Helps Battle Epilepsy in Children

The American Epilepsy Society will introduce new evidence that cannabidiol (CBD) significantly reduces seizures in as many as half of children with epilepsy, according to US News & World Report.

Cannabidiol, a marijuana-derived oil, is a major chemical component of marijuana. Dr. Orrin Devinsky, a neurologist at NYU Langone Medical Center's Comprehensive Epilepsy Center explained. He believes that this oil may interact with a brain receptor that plays a role in the development of seizures.

Since CBD doesn't produce intoxication like pot's other major chemical compound, THC, children with epilepsy whose seizures aren't controlled by approved medications are among the target audience who may benefit from the oil.

When previous studies proved that the oil induced some benefit in adults with epilepsy the news spread. Families with adults and children with epilepsy have flocked to states where medical marijuana is legal to seek treatment, according to Dr. Amy Brooks-Kayal, American Epilepsy Society president.

"There is a fairly active and vocal group of families in Colorado who are using cannabidiol oils that are made artisanally," Brooks-Kayal, who wasn't involved in either study, commented.

A second study from the University of California at San Francisco, explored the long-term effectiveness of cannabidiol for children with epilepsy, by adding the marijuana-derived oil to the regular drug regimen of about 25 kids for one year.

The study found that the treatment resulted in a 50 percent reduction in seizures for 10 participants — about 40 percent of the group over a one-year period. One child remained seizure-free, but 12 of the initial participants dropped out of the study because the cannabidiol didn't seem to do them any good.

Although he said he would prescribe CBD to people with uncontrolled seizures, Devinsky said he is "very anxious" to see the results of ongoing randomized, controlled clinical trials. The results of one major trial are expected in the first quarter of 2016, he added.

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