A new study has found that marijuana extract may help in reducing severe epilepsy in people who fail to get better after trying other treatments.
For the study, the researchers examined 137 people, ranging in age from toddlers to adults, who all had severe epilepsy. The participants were made to take an extract made from cannabis plants daily for 12 weeks, and researchers observed that the number of seizures experienced by the participants fell by an average of 54 percent.
The researchers said the participants were informed they were receiving the extract. They added the study did not include a comparison group of people with severe epilepsy who were not given extracts or who were given a placebo instead.
"While the findings are promising, more research is needed, such as randomized-controlled trials to help eliminate the possibility of a placebo effect," said study author Dr. Orrin Devinsky, director of New York University Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center.
Devinsky added the people involved in the study had previously tried other treatments for their epilepsy, such as anti-epileptic drugs, diet changes, surgery and neurostimulation therapies. In fact, "about one-third of patients with epilepsy do not respond to medications."