Epilepsy is a disruptive condition with little in the way of effective treatments, but researchers in Britain have discovered that a compound in marijuana may be of benefit in managing the condition.
Epilepsy is a catch-all term for a series of neurological disorders characterized by seizures, but many of the commonly-used treatments to manage the condition carry serious side-effects as well as increased risk of death.
But a new report on epilepsy and a less-commonly studied cannabinoid compound published in the British medical journal British Journal of Pharmacology indicates that the compound may provide relief to epilepsy sufferers, and with little to no side effects to trouble them.
The research centered upon the compound cannabidivarin, or CBDV, and its impact on epilepsy symptoms. What researchers found was that CBDV seems to strongly suppress seizures in epilepsy sufferers, while the commonly found side effects associated with epilepsy drugs, such as shaking, were not observed.
Dr. Ben Whalley, lead researcher on the epilepsy research, explained:
“There is a pressing need for better treatments for epilepsy… It’s a chronic condition with no cure and currently, in around one third of cases, the currently available treatments do not work, cause serious side-effects and increase fatalities.”
Whalley says that the research highlights “the potential for a solution based on cannabinoid science” and that remarkably, it “has shown that cannabidivarin is the most effective and best tolerated anticonvulsant plant cannabinoid investigated to date.”
Researchers plan to expand the CBDV research for applications such as epilepsy to human trials beginning in 2013.