Health and Welfare: CBD study making progress

Sean Adams has seen improvements since taking part in the study.

It's been a little over a year since the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare started studying the impact that cannabis oil, also known as CBD oil, can have on seizures. It's a part of a Federal Drug Administration study going on all throughout the country.

In February of 2016, KTVB introduced you to Sean Adams. A now 12-year-old boy who suffers from Lissencephaly. As a result, one of his symptoms is seizures.

"He used to have ones that would last from five to 20 minutes," said Wendy Adams, Sean's mom.

Adams tells KTVB they tried a number of medications and even a special diet, but were at wits' end.

"Trial and error with different medications. He was on like four or five different meds," Adams said.

Today, Sean is one of the 39 children in the Expanded Access Program. A program, which over the course of the last year, has given these children Epidiolex Cannabidiol, a CBD oil. Although, Epidiolex is derived from the marijuana plant, it does not contain any of the psychoactive chemical in marijuana, THC.

"Going into it, I didn't really have a lot of huge expectations. I just wanted to try and see if something would work. If something else would work," Adams said.

Adams though has now become a strong proponent of the oil. This as she says it's helped her son change his life.

"I've seen a huge improvement."

Sean's seizures have become less frequent and less severe.

"He has little seizures every couple of days that last about 10 to 15 seconds. Now, they're really quick," Adams tells KTVB.

Dr. Robert Wechsler, the epileptologist overseeing all the patients, says not everyone is seeing the same improvements Sean has. Dr. Wechsler says about a third have seen dramatic improvements like Sean, another third seeing some improvements, and some who haven't seen a dramatic reduction in the number of seizures at all.

"We're encouraged by the fact that all the children that started off in the program are currently still participating," Dr. Christine Hahn said.

Dr. Hahn and the Department of Health and Welfare are overseeing the study. Dr. Hahn says over the course of the last year it has shown a lot of promise.

"So the company is seeking FDA approval, so that it will hopefully become a licensed product. Early reports from clinical trials around the country, those early reports are very promising," Dr. Hahn said. "So the hope and the thought is this probably will be a licensed medication within the next year or so."

The Department of Health and Welfare says they have reached their maximum number of patients for the study, and can't take anymore.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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