On May 24th, the New England Journal Of Medicine published the results of a study on the use of Cannabidiol (CBD) in the treatment of Dravet Syndrome, a rare but debilitating epileptic disorder with a high mortality rate.

What is Dravet Syndrome?

Dravet syndrome is a chronic disorder that results in drug-resistant seizures, sometimes hundreds a month in a single child with the highest frequency at 1,717 seizures in a month. Caused by a mutation in a SCN1A gene, a patient’s electrical signaling systems in the brain are unregulated. Dravet syndrome affects one in 16,000 people, and 10-20% of patients do not survive to adulthood.

What is CBD?

CBD is one compound found in cannabis plants, and can also be derived from hemp. It is non-psychoactive, unlike THC another active component in medical marijuana. Hemp derived CBD is legal in various states and is increasingly being recognized as a valid treatment for a multitude of ailments.

While there have been limited studies and clinical trials in the past, The New England Journal Of Medicine is the most respected medical journal in the world, so this signals a huge leap in the understanding of cannabinoids in the treatment of epilepsy. The use of cannabis to treat epilepsy has been documented as early as 1800 BC.

In the study, 120 children in the US and Europe afflicted with the untreatable epileptic disorder were given either the CBD based drug Epidolex or a placebo. In the CBD group seizure frequency dropped by 39% with 5% experiencing no seizures at all during the length of the study.

Dr Orrin Devinsky, director of the New York University Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, who participated in the trial explained that while it is not exactly clear how CBD works, he explains that it appears to attach to brain cells.

“”The CBD binds with a novel receptor in the brain and thereby dampens down too much electrical activity,” he said. “It seems to be a relatively unique mechanism of action that’s not shared by any of the existing seizure medications.”

The trial was sponsored by GW Pharmaceuticals, the marker of Epidolex a CBD oil based drug that is presently fast tracked for approval by the FDA.

Dr. Samuel Berkovic who works at the University of Melbourne said much more testing is needed. “”This trial represents the beginning of solid evidence for the use of cannabinoids in epilepsy,” Indeed, doctors are already preparing studies on the use of cannabinoids in the treatment of auto-immune disorders, PTSD, Anxiety and Autism.

MDelivers offers numerous CBD options both with and without THC.