MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Children suffering from extreme seizures may get some much-needed relief through a clinical trial.
A new drug derived from marijuana is being tested on young epilepsy patients.
The University of Mississippi Medical Center is hoping to make history with the first national study of oral cannabidiol, or CBD.
It's made from marijuana grown in Mississippi at a research center at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy.
Ten children suffering from extreme forms of epilepsy will participate in the 6-month trial.
Epilepsy specialist Dr. Brad Ingram said $10,000 children with the disease are treated in Jackson, Mississippi alone.
Thirty percent of those patients do not respond to drugs currently on the market.
"Very commonly these children have a very, very, sick brain and they epilepsy is not just causing them to seize but is also interfering with their ability to learn to walk or to read or to have good sleep,” Dr. Ingram said.
State Senator Josh Harkin (R) authored the bill that passed the state legislature in 2014, allowing UMMC to dispense CBD oil for treatment.
"I’ve had families from across the state when this first came out a couple of years ago call and really want to know how to get involved in this. they wanted the opportunity to try the medicine on their children,” Harkin said.
Physicians say some patients suffer up to 100 seizures per day.
The clinical trial will involve 5 to 19-year-olds.
The medication will be administered orally through a dosing syringe or through a tube inserted into their stomach.
Doctors and researchers say the CBD oil does not have psycho active affects meaning the patient will not get high and it is not addictive.
The clinical trial will be a pharmaceutically trackable study to determine if the product should be available for medical use.
"Any time I can come up with a new weapon to fight this disease, anytime I can make my kids quality of life better, I’m all for it,” Dr. Ingram said.
The trial required approval from the Federal Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Researchers and physicians want the trials to determine if seizures that are not regulated by conventional medication can be controlled by CBD.