We Need Proof on Marijuana
Many people have heard the story of Charlotte Figi, a young girl from Colorado with severe epilepsy. After her parents began giving her a marijuana strain rich in cannabidiol (CBD), the major nonpsychoactive ingredient in marijuana, Charlotte reportedly went from having hundreds of seizures per week to only two or three per month. Previously, her illness, Dravet Syndrome, was a daily torture despite multiple high doses of powerful anti-seizure drugs.
Based on studies showing that CBD can prevent seizures in animals and safety data from patients treated with a drug containing CBD and THC in Europe for multiple sclerosis spasms, we and other academic epilepsy centers are planning a controlled trial with pure CBD. As an initial step, we have approval from the Food and Drug Administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement to treat children with CBD derived from marijuana plants in order to understand its safety and tolerability and potential drug interactions. This information will help us plan the placebo-controlled trials that we hope will begin in 2014 and will be completed within two years. There is no reason such studies cannot be done with other products derived from marijuana, such as the oil with high CBD and low THC sold in Colorado that was used by Charlotte Figi. Read this entire New York Times article.[message type=”custom” width=”100%” color=”#CCCCCC” border=”#C9C9C9″ color=”#333333″] To foster research, we need to change compounds derived from marijuana from Schedule 1 to a less restrictive category. It is troubling that while few barriers exist for parents to give their children marijuana in Colorado, there are significant federal roadblocks preventing doctors from studying it in a rigorous scientific manner. When patients have not been able to get successful medical treatment, and they live in a state where the law allows medical marijuana for children — we are not suggesting they smoke the drug — compassionate use is reasonable.
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