The scientific community does not rely on the anecdotal evidence that has come forward in recent years to prove that cannabis treats and even cures epilepsy. The FDA recently approved a study into researching a drug derived from cannabis plants, which conclusively proves that cannabis helps to alleviate the symptoms of epilepsy.
The study included children and teenagers suffering from severe epilepsy, where no other treatment worked for them. It was undertaken over a four week period, although some participants continued for three months. Parents or caregivers kept diaries to record what was happening on a daily basis. The medication was administered daily, the dosage was gradually increased and tests were performed to monitor liver and kidney function. The research was led by Dr. Orrin Devinsky, a neurologist at New York University’s Medical Centre and was performed in order to establish the safety of cannabidoil on young patients.
According to the results of the study, nearly half the participants saw a reduction in seizures after 12 weeks of treatment and some patients saw complete seizure freedom after taking the medication, named Epidiolex.
Cost of pharmaceutical drugs versus natural therapies
GW Pharma (A British pharmaceutical company), the developers of Epidiolex, have focused on developing and commercializing therapeutic drugs from specially-bred cannabis plants. The company has been opposed to full legalization because of the potential for a negative impact on their share price, even going so far as to hire a high-profile marijuana expert to help it to differentiate its products from medical marijuana. The profitability of drugs like Epidiolex depend on cannabis remaining illegal under federal law, and depend on continued federal barriers to medical marijuana research.
It is interesting to note that the Florida Department of Health used its CBD research funds to research the patented cannabinoid drug, Epidiolex. Why did they do this instead of researching raw cannabis and/or CBD oils instead? Well, because of the money that can potentially come pouring in if Epidiolex becomes the standard treatment for epilepsy patients. As usual, those suffering from conditions such as epilepsy come in second place next to the almighty dollar. Raw cannabis oil would ultimately be more affordable and accessible for patients.
Although there is no fixed price for Epidiolex as yet, some families have been quoted prices of between $10,000 to $15,000 a year’s supply of Epidiolex. Other organization are making CBD rich extracts available to epilepsy sufferers charge less than $200 a month.