Cannabis compound quells seizures in severe epilepsy syndrome

Leaf relief: Marijuana contains hundreds of chemicals, one of which seems to alleviate seizures.

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A component of marijuana called cannabidiol eased seizures in children with Dravet syndrome, a potentially fatal form of epilepsy, in a late-stage clinical trial1.

Dravet syndrome stems from mutations in sodium channels, most often in a gene called SCN1A. A gene in the same family, SCN2A, is a top autism candidate. About one in four children with Dravet syndrome also has an autism diagnosis.

Many children with Dravet syndrome take multiple epilepsy drugs to control their severe seizures. But some children do not respond to the drugs. Some parents of children with Dravet syndrome or autism turn to marijuana, based purely on anecdotal evidence.

The new study is the first rigorous trial to show that purified cannabidiol decreases seizures in children

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