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Does Cannabidiol Help a Rare Type of Epilepsy?

Cannabidiol, a component of cannabis without psychoactive properties, may reduce drop seizures in Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

Cannabidiol, a derivative of cannabis, reduced seizures by 50 percent in some patients with a rare type of epilepsy. The study included 225 children and adults with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a rare type of seizure disorder that usually begins when people are very young.

Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, a Rare Type of Epilepsy, Is Hard to Treat:

Lennox-Gastaut syndrome is hard to treat, as it does not respond well to most anticonvulsant medications. In particular, people with this type of disorder are susceptible to drop seizures, during which they crumple to the ground in a heap. The episodes don’t last long, but may result in injuries from the fall.

Fewer Drop Seizures:

In the randomized controlled trial, about two-fifths of the volunteers had at least 50 percent fewer drop seizures on cannabidiol. Those getting placebo had did not respond nearly as well. Side effects were very common. More than 90 percent of those on cannabidiol reported sleepiness, reduced appetite or other reactions. The rate of side effects was 72 percent among those on placebo.

Cannabidiol Does Not Make People “High:”

Cannabidiol does not produce the psychoactive effects such as euphoria that are associated with marijuana. The drug has not yet been approved by the FDA.

American Academy of Neurology annual meeting, April 25, 2017, Boston, MA

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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