A chemical in weed can treat a devastating form of epilepsy

Doctors who treat Dravet syndrome can’t stop their patients’ seizures—but a chemical in weed may help.

Dravet syndrome is a rare, genetic form of epilepsy that affects less than one in 16,000 children. It’s diagnosed when infants who are perfectly healthy start having seizures around their first birthday. From there, doctors can prescribe medications that try to control recurrent seizures that take over the entire body. Even with treatment, though, patients have seizures several times a month for the rest of their lives. Most patients don’t reach adulthood, often as a result of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy; most adults with the condition can’t live independently.


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