A key ingredient in marijuana curbs epilepsy seizures by more than 50 percent, new research suggests. Taking the marijuana-derived supplement cannabidiol (CBD), alongside commonly-prescribed medications, can more than halve the frequency of epilepsy patients’ seizures, a study review found today.
The dual treatment also causes nearly one in 10 patients to be seizure-free, while up to half report an improved quality of life after incorporating the supplement into their drug regimen, the research adds.
This comes after research released last month by Vanderbilt University supported similar outcomes.
CBD is a nutritional supplement that is thought to possess a range of medicinal benefits and has been reported to help people suffering from migraines, psoriasis, acne and depression.
It does not contain any THC, which is the psychoactive component of cannabis that makes users ‘high’.
Nearly one in three epilepsy patients are resistant to existing treatments and continue to endure seizures.
Further research is required
The researchers, from the University of New South Wales, stress their findings are only in young patients, adding investigations should be carried out in people of varying ages with different forms of epilepsy.
The review was conducted by analysing six studies with a total of 3,420 epilepsy patients.
The participants, who had an average age of 16, had rare forms of the condition that had not responded to standard treatments, such as valproate and carbamazepine.
CBD’s effectiveness as an add-on to standard epilepsy treatment was investigated.
The findings were published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.
Alcohol damages the brain more than cannabis
This comes after research released last month suggested alcohol damages the brain more than cannabis.
Unlike booze, marijuana does not affect the size or integrity of white or grey matter in the brain, even after years of exposure, a study found.
Grey matter enables the brain to function, while white controls communication between nerve clusters.
Study author Professor Kent Hutchison from the University of Colorado Boulder, said: ‘While marijuana may also have some negative consequences, it definitely is nowhere near the negative consequences of alcohol.’
The scientists add, however, research into cannabis’ mental effects are still very limited.
Lead author Rachel Thayer said: ‘Particularly with marijuana use, there is still so much that we don’t know about how it impacts the brain.’
In the US, 44 percent of those aged 12 or over have used cannabis at some point in their lives.
Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska and Colorado have legalised marijuana for medical or recreational use.