The pediatric epileptic population numbers in the thousands in the U.S. and in the hundreds of thousands in the U.K. With such a large number of children affected by this debilitating condition, there is an understandably vocal – and growing – group of parents clamoring for governmental approval of affordable alternative treatment methods.
As of this writing, the Drug Enforcement Agency continues to be reluctant to legalize marijuana for recreational use, therefore many parents are forced to buy cannabis from black market dealers or move their families to another state in order to obtain treatment that actually helps reduce epileptic seizures in their children.
The good news is, there may be hope on the horizon for seizure sufferers. A British biotech company recently revealed positive findings from late-stage clinical trials of a cannabis-based drug called Epidiolex, a purified cannabinoid that comes in a liquid form and contains no THC. California researchers have also been experimenting with Epidiolex.
The University of California at San Francisco’s Pediatric Epilepsy Center has been at the vanguard of studying cannabis-based medication for the treatment of childhood epilepsy in recent years. Maria Roberta Cilio, director of research at UCSF’s epilepsy center, stated that the 12-week clinical study revealed that cannabidiol, or CBD, which does not contain psychoactive properties and has been shown to have positive effects on people suffering from various ailments, both reduces the frequency of epileptic seizures and has an adequate safety profile in children and young adults.
Although the medicinal properties contained in CBD appear to be undeniable, Epidiolex is considered a Schedule 1 substance with a high potential for abuse, and as such is currently being closely monitored and restricted by the Federal Drug Administration. Parents of children affected by epileptic seizures sincerely hope this won’t be the case for much longer.