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This article was published in October 2013. The information may be out of date. Please check our epilepsy information or our site A-Z.

Cannabidiol for seizure control attracts growing numbers to Colorado

29 Oct 2013

According to online reports, an increasing number of US families with children who have Dravet Syndrome, are moving to Colorado. They are doing this to benefit from the state’s more relaxed laws on the medicinal use of cannabis (marijuana).

Dravet Syndrome is a rare form of extreme epilepsy in children, with frequent seizures that are hard to control.

A non-profit making organisation, called Realm of Caring, has developed a strain of the cannabis plant. They claim it can provide relief from seizures where AEDs have not worked.

This ‘medical migration’ began in 2012. Charlotte Figi, who has Dravet Syndrome, got a dramatic reduction in the frequency of her seizures after taking the medicinal cannabis. Charlotte’s doctors had tried everything to control her condition. Nothing helped. She was in hospital constantly. Twice her heart stopped. Not wanting to prolong their child’s suffering, her parents signed a ‘do not resuscitate’ order. As a last-ditch effort, they decided to try cannabis.

Charlotte’s mother found out about the Realm of Caring group and got in touch. The group had developed a new strain of the cannabis plant that was very low in THC (the narcotic substance that gets users ‘high’), and very high in a chemical called cannabidiol. Cannabidiol has no intoxicating effects, but has been seen to be effective in suppressing seizures – although there have been no recent scientific studies to prove this.

Willing to try anything, Charlotte’s mother mixed the cannabis with her food. Almost immediately, Charlotte’s seizures stopped. She went from having around 300 seizures a week to one.

How the cannabis works to reduce seizures is still not known. However, once news of the success spread, it has been in great demand. Medical cannabis is legal in around 20 US states. A community is developing in Colorado, where Realm of Caring is based. The Realm of Caring brand is seen to be one of the most pure and effective that is available.

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