British researchers have determined that a little-studied chemical in the cannabis plant could lead to effective treatments for epilepsy, with few to no side effects.
The team at Britain’s University of Reading, working with GW Pharmaceuticals and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, tested cannabidivarin, or CBDV, in rats and mice afflicted with six types of epilepsy and found it “strongly suppressed seizures” without causing the uncontrollable shaking and other side effects of existing anti-epilepsy drugs.
According to the findings, reported this week in the British Journal of Pharmacology, CBDV also delayed and reduced seizures when used in conjunction with two common anti-convulsant drugs.
“There is a pressing need for better treatments for epilepsy,” said Dr. Ben Whalley, the lead researcher. “It’s a chronic condition with no cure and currently, in around one third of cases, the currently available treatments do not work, cause serious side-effects and increase fatalities.”