Doctors call for more study of pot for seizures

In this Feb. 7, 2014 photo, Matt Figi hugs and tickles his once severely-ill 7-year-old daughter Charlotte, as they wander around inside a greenhouse for a special strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte's Web, which was named after the girl early in her treatment, in a remote spot in the mountains west of Colorado Springs, Colo. A few years ago, Charlotte's doctors were out of ideas to help her. Suffering from a rare disorder known as Dravet’s syndrome, Charlotte had as many as 300 grand mal seizures a week, was confined to a wheelchair, went into repeated cardiac arrest and could barely speak. Now Charlotte is largely seizure-free, able to walk, talk and feed herself, with her parents attributing her dramatic improvement to this strain of medical cannabis. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
In this Feb. 7, 2014 photo, Matt Figi hugs and tickles his once severely-ill 7-year-old daughter Charlotte, as they wander around inside a greenhouse for a special strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte's Web, which was named after the girl early in her treatment, in a remote spot in the mountains west of Colorado Springs, Colo. A few years ago, Charlotte's doctors were out of ideas to help her. Suffering from a rare disorder known as Dravet’s syndrome, Charlotte had as many as 300 grand mal seizures a week, was confined to a wheelchair, went into repeated cardiac arrest and could barely speak. Now Charlotte is largely seizure-free, able to walk, talk and feed herself, with her parents attributing her dramatic improvement to this strain of medical cannabis. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

A medical group of epilepsy experts on Monday called on the federal government to reconsider classifying marijuana as a dangerous drug so its impact on seizures can be studied.

The American Epilepsy Society’s statement comes as a British pharmaceutical company is scheduled to begin tests of an ant-epilepsy drug derived from cannabis, with the hallucinogenic ingredients removed, and parents are flocking to Colorado to try a strain of pot they say has helped some children with seizures.

The group had previously warned against using marijuana to treat epilepsy but its latest statement does not contain that advice. However, it does caution that these are only anecdotal reports and that “we do not know if marijuana is a safe and effective treatment for epilepsy.”

That’s why the organization calls for reconsidering its classification as a Schedule 1 substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration, which prevents much research into pot’s effects on seizures.

“AES urges all people touched by epilepsy to consult with an epilepsy specialist and explore the many existing treatment options, so that they can make informed decisions with their specialist that weighs the risks and benefits of the different treatment options,” the statement concludes.

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