Cannabidiol, a compound found in cannabis, may be able to save lives. It has been found to reduce by half the number of seizures suffered by those with Dravet Syndrome. This form of epilepsy is particularly dangerous because two out of ten sufferers die before they reach twenty years. The seizures are severe and may even last for up to 30 minutes. This condition has a genetic origin.
A clinical trial of 120 participants carried out for 14 weeks. 60 participants were administered cannabidiol while the remaining half was given a placebo. Neither the researchers nor participants knew about who was in the placebo group and who was given the chemical extracted from cannabis. At the end of the trial, those treated with cannabidiol reported a drop in seizures from 12.4 per month to 5.9 per month. The results for the placebo group were almost unchanged.
Nearly 25 participants from the cannabidiol group reported a 50% or higher drop in the number of seizures. Three patients became totally seizure free.
Side effects of treatment with cannabidiol included fever, nausea, changes in the body’s metabolism, and drowsiness.
The trial holds promise for not only sufferers of Dravet Syndrome but also other forms of epileptic seizures.