Breakthrough: medicinal cannabis and severe epilepsy

A major scientific breakthrough finds that a type of medicinal cannabis significantly reduces convulsive seizures in children with a severe form of epilepsy.

Portrait of Professor Ingrid Scheffer

A form of medicinal cannabis has for the first time been shown to reduce seizures in a severe form of epilepsy, with a few children now seizure free after taking it.

A study of children suffering from Dravet syndrome, a severe epilepsy that begins in infancy with drug-resistant seizures and a high mortality rate, found that 5 per cent of subjects reported that seizures stopped after being treated with cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive form of cannabis.

An international team of researchers including University of Melbourne Chair of Paediatric Neurology and Austin Health Director of Paediatrics, Professor Ingrid Scheffer, studied cannabidiol for the treatment of seizures. The results are published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Additionally, Professor Scheffer co-heads the Department of Medicine & Radiology's Epilepsy Research Centre at the Austin Hospital. 

This article was first published on Pursuit. Read the full original article.