Apr 6, 2016 4:10 PM

York Hospital Makes Successful Medical Marijuana Studies on Children With Epilepsy

According to the experiment at Wellspan Health in York County, Pennsylvania, medical marijuana can effectively alleviate seizures in children. This can turn to be one of the most successful studies on marijuana.

Since the beginning of the previous year, Dr. Todd Barron, child neurologists in York, has been running a series of experiments on a dozen patients who suffer from Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS). This is a severe difficult-to-treat form of epilepsy that in the majority of cases appears in 2-6 years old children. LGS is characterized by frequent seizures and serious intellectual impairment.

CBD treatment results

Wellspan doctors were using Epidiolex, which is CBD oil (an extract of certain marijuana strains), and the results were not long in coming. According to Dr. Barron, three patients got completely free from seizures, while the health state of the rest improved by “40 to 50 percent.” And this result is actually better than the once any other pharmaceutical has shown.

Not only the seizures were eliminated or decreased, the children's cognition and interaction also improved. The changes were especially obvious in the case of one girl who managed to get out from the very heavy state: she started to walk steadier, notice what happens around her, get interested in it, she even began to smile! And with every month as the CBD treatment went on, her state was steadily improving.

As any scientific research, Wellspan's experiment was extremely secretive. Neither the doctors nor the patients knew who got Epidiolex and who got a placebo. The drug was stored all the time in a double-locked safe, so nobody except a few had access to it. Dr. Barron refuses to name patients' name in order to keep their disease history private.

The hospital wants to continue the studies. As they now see the amazing results of the medical marijuana treatment, scientists' desire to finish the tests is stronger than ever before. All they want is to provide their patients with evidence-based treatments, and that would be possible only if they keep on testing the medicine.

Legal background

Though Wellspan's studies on medical marijuana were approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the drug is still not legalized in Pennsylvania, and it is still unknown whether it ever will happen.

During last two weeks, the state Senate was busy with adding 200 amendments to the Senate Bill 3. The members of the Senate are still unsure, though, whether the bill will be implemented after it will be passed on to the desk of Governor Tom Wolf. It is not the same SB3 as it was a month ago when it was passed by a vote of 40-7; the state lawmakers left only four pages from the Senate's version and added 150 new ones.

The question of drug's regulation is also unclear yet. How will local dispensaries function? How far should they be situated from schools and day care centers? If not all the problematic issues are highlighted in the new version, it is quite possible that SB3 will again be sent back for correcting; it can take another ten months.

On the other hand, if the Senate and Governor Wolf will be satisfied with the current version of SB3, Pennsylvania can become the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana.

Luckily, the medical marijuana studies do not depend on the politics, so they will continue their work anyway. The question is, whether other patients with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, who are not the clients of the Wellspan hospital, will be able to get the treatment if it really turns out to be super-efficient.

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