For many years, medical professionals have sought safe ways to help control epileptic seizures in children. Emerging research suggests that one of the active ingredients in marijuana could provide a solution.

As many as 30 percent of all epilepsy patients experience seizures even while taking traditional medications designed to control them. In addition, there are several types of medication-resistant epilepsy, complicating treatment protocols. In children, recurring seizures can damage the growing brain, leading to long-term negative health effects. So, parents have turned to medical marijuana as a safe alternative.

CBD, known by its chemical name as cannabidiol, is one of many cannabinoid compounds found in marijuana. CBD doesn’t create the “high” sensations many people are familiar with when smoking or ingesting cannabis products. Instead, preliminary studies show that it can help control the electrical activity responsible for seizures. The exact action of the substance on the human body is unclear and warrants further research. Concentrates manufacturers and edibles producers in the medical marijuana community have begun to develop CBD-enriched products, including oils, waxes, and oral products. These offer the benefits of health symptom management with little or none of the debilitating effects of the psychoactive compound known as THC.

Federal regulations make studying the effects of medical marijuana on health conditions very difficult. Since cannabis is listed as a Schedule 1 drug, getting permission to conduct human tests and clinical trials is fraught with complexity. Still, researchers in other countries are sharing their research data with American scientists in the hope that this solution can reach more children struggling with epilepsy. The American Epilepsy Foundation, while not vocally supporting the use of cannabinoids in treating epilepsy, recommends that patients discuss CBD and other alternatives with physicians. Safe alternatives for epilepsy may be available, and medical marijuana could one day prove to be the miracle so many patients have been hoping for.