GW Pharmaceuticals has announced the results of the first of four trials with marijuana extract drugs it is conducting in the United States. In the phase 3 clinical trial, the marijuana-based drug Epidiolex significantly reduced seizures in children with Dravet syndrome – a rare form of genetic epilepsy with particularly prolonged or frequent seizures.
For the trial, researchers gave 120 patients either Epidiolex (made from cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating extract) or a placebo, in addition to other anti-epileptic drug treatments. The participants were an average of 10 years old, and 33 percent were under age 6, and the children had a median 13 seizures per month.
The researchers report a 39 percent reduction in seizures for children on Epidiolex, with results seen after about a month of treatment.
The results add scientific credence to a treatment that has commonly been used for several years but largely unsupported by clinical trials.