A new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine has determined CBD reduces the frequency of seizures by 39% in patients with a rare and severe form of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome. Led by Dr. Orrin Devinsky, researchers looked at the efficacy of CBD treatments over the course of 14 weeks across a group of 120 young people between the ages of two and 18 who suffered from Dravet syndrome. Participants' symptoms had been resistant to traditional medications. The study involved administering 20 mg of liquid CBD, or placebo, on top of their original medications. Those who received CBD went from around 12 convulsive seizures per month to only six, and three of the patients became seizure free. Over 90% of patients experienced side effects like vomiting, fatigue, or fever, but they were categorized as mild to moderate. Twelve children withdrew from the trial, nine from the CBD group and three from the placebo group.
While side effects are undesirable, Dr. Samuel Berkovic from the University of Melbourne's Epilepsy Research Center in Australia says, "Side effects are always an issue, but the drug was tolerated about as well as conventional anti-epileptic drugs." Devinsky's study is the first randomized, controlled trial demonstrating how effective CBD is for Dravet's syndrome, and he explains, “After four millennia of using cannabis to treat epilepsy, we now have for the first time scientifically rigorously obtained data that this specific compound works in this specific form of epilepsy.”