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Marijuana component fights epilepsy

Severe seizures reduced with cannabidiol, but more testing is needed

4:41pm, April 13, 2015

GREEN OPTION  A no-buzz component of marijuana can reduce severe epileptic seizures, a study suggests.

A buzz-free component of marijuana can benefit epilepsy patients who have particularly severe seizures, a new study suggests. Taking an extract of the cannabis compound cannabidiol substantially cut the patients’ number of seizures over nearly three months.

Cannabidiol seems to mitigate the psychoactive effect of THC, the main euphoria-inducing chemical in cannabis. But cannabidiol also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that earlier work suggested could benefit people with multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease (SN: 6/19/2010, p. 16).

The new study followed 137 epilepsy patients, with a median age of 11, who had seizures that had resisted treatment. Each received cannabidiol daily in liquid form. After 12 weeks, the average number of seizures dropped by about half.

Up to one-fifth of patients reported some diarrhea, drowsiness, fatigue or loss of appetite, and 12 people stopped

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