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.
In a clinical trial published May 24 in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers at New York University Langone Medical Center found that cannabidiol, one of many active compounds found in the marijuana plant, can reduce the number of seizures Dravet syndrome patients. In