It is estimated that 1% of the world’s population has epilepsy, and of these, one third of drug-resistant patients considered unable to control their seizures with current drugs. The same happens to those with the Dravet syndrome, which affected mostly children, suffer a very aggressive epilepsy that can cause death.
For them the solution could be in the cannabis. It comes to ‘Epidiolex’, a new derivative medicine of cannabis that could serve to stop treating these patients who fail to control their seizures with drugs currently available.
Neurologists and patients with European epilepsy will meet on May 22 in Madrid in an international meeting to discuss the benefits of the new drug, a purified from cannabis that has been developed by GW Pharma.
Already being tested in a hundred children with drug-resistant epilepsy in the United States to confirm its safety before clinical trials which could also be initiated in Europe before year end.
“This is not to promote the use of cannabis to treat disease, but to assess whether the purified cannabidiol could become the drug to thousands affected by drug-resistant epilepsies expect ” argues Ana Mingorance, Director of Research at the Dravet Syndrome Foundation Spain and head of the meeting.
From this foundation remember that when talking about marijuana or medical cannabis is to refer to strains highly enriched in cannabidiol, believed responsible for its medicinal activity and low levels of tetrahidrocannabidiol (THC), the psychoactive compound responsible for its recreational purposes.
“Like any compound intended for use as a drug, cannabidiol must pass a rigorous evaluation through clinical trials to test not only effectiveness but safety and it is for which we have called the medical community and patients to this meeting,” insists Mingorance.
The main problem for medical use, as added, lies in the variation between different cultures and legal problems arising from its psychoactive activity, for what must be purified.
In Spain there is only a precedent of approved drug derived from cannabis, the ‘Sativex‘, also developed by GW Pharma, containing cannabidiol and THC equal parts and used for the treatment of pain and spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis.