Belfast Telegraph

Cannabis pill offers hope to thousands of epileptics

By John von Radowitz

A cannabis drug offers new hope to thousands of Britons with untreatable forms of epilepsy, a new study has shown.

The cannabidiol compound reduced seizures by nearly 40% in teenagers and children with Dravet syndrome, a rare and severe epileptic condition that does not respond to existing treatments.

In 5% of cases the debilitating fits that afflicted some patients every day stopped altogether.

The drug's British manufacturers hope the product will be licensed for treating Dravet syndrome in the UK within months.

But its full potential could be much bigger if future research shows it can control the symptoms of other forms of epilepsy.

Orrin Devinsky, from New York University, who co-led the international trial, said: "Cannabidiol should not be viewed as a panacea for epilepsy, but for patients with especially severe forms who have not responded to medications, these results provide hope that we may soon have another treatment option."

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