As legalization spreads and attitudes change, but perhaps the most important shift that’s occurred is that we now better understand which parts of the plant are psychoactive and which aren’t. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a marijuana compound that doesn’t get you high — but, as researchers showed Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, it has powerful effects elsewhere in the brain.
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In the study, the researchers from New York University School of Medicine show that administering a dose of CBD to people with a severe form of epilepsy can significantly reduce the number of seizures they experience. Lennox-Gastaut syndrome usually begins in childhood, manifesting in clusters of extreme seizures that cause people to suddenly drop or stiffen. People with the illness are often unresponsive to existing anti-epileptic medications. “These are real medications with real side effects, and as providers we need to know all we can about a potential treatment in order to provide safe and effective care to our patients,” said study leader Dr. Orrin Devinsky, director of NYU Langone’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center,
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