Chalk up another victory for common sense – weed has once again shown how downright brilliant it can be in treating some of the world’s most horrific illnesses.
Chances are it’s going to be some time before bureaucratic types relent and admit they’ve been wrong all along…it’ll probably take even longer for weed to be made universally available for research purposes. But while we might not see this happen for our own generation, there’s still hope for those that follow a wee bit further down the line. With each new discovery comes a new ‘gold star’ for weed and sooner or later, they’ll see sense and set it free.
In this latest instance, a new drug based wholly around a cannabis extract has shown incredible potential in reducing seizure rates in kids affected by some of the worst forms of epilepsy out there. On average, those that were given the drug experienced a reduction in seizure rates of around 53%, and while there were of course some (10%) who experienced unpleasant side-effects, none of the participants came to harm or were left with any ill-effects if they stopped taking the drug.
Or, in other words, pretty much like every approved drug on the face of the Earth.
For the purposes of the study, 213 severe epilepsy sufferers were followed over a 12-week period in order to gauge their reaction to the drug. A total of 12 different types of epilepsy were covered by the study, including Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome which both have the potential to be life-affecting and disabling into adulthood. Each of the participants was given a measured dose of cannabidiol to take during the three-month period, during which time they were required to record their experiences and seizure rates.
Of the participants that continued taking the drug for the full 12 weeks (137), the average decrease in seizure rates across the board was an amazing 54%. Those with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome reported a drop in the number of atonic seizures suffered at a rate of 55%, while those with Dravet syndrome suffered 53% fewer seizures than they had prior to the trial’s commencement.
In terms of side-effects, as is the case with all drugs there were some (6%) who had to pull out of the trial as the cannabidiol made them feel too unwell, while around 10% in total reported suffering side-effects of an unpleasant nature during the trial. Or to put it another way, the positive response rate was 90%.
'So far there have been few formal studies on this marijuana extract,’ remarked study author Dr Orrin Devinsky, of New York University Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Centre.
'These results are of great interest, especially for the children and their parents who have been searching for an answer for these debilitating seizures.'
Not only do the study’s findings hold incredible significance for serious epilepsy sufferers the world over, but once again reinforce arguments that being too restrictive when it comes to medicinal marijuana research is wholly against the best interests of the public. Even in areas where lawmakers don’t want to see the public in general suddenly start toking away by the thousand on every corner, there’s really nothing to gain by preventing research being carried out on the positive health benefits of marijuana.
Still, it’s all likely to fall on deaf ears on the part of those that have already outlined policies to never under any circumstances consider decriminalisation, despite having been told by the world’s leading health groups and scientific researchers that doing so would benefit the greater good.