Can medical marijuana reduce epilepsy in kids?

Listen Now
Photo: Marijuana leaf (overused. please avoid this one) (file)
Researchers want to know whether medical marijuana is effective in controlling seizures in kids.

In recent years, a growing number of parents have turned to medical marijuana in hopes of reducing seizures for their kids with epilepsy. Some families have even moved to Colorado to try a locally grown substance known as Charlotte's Web that's been touted as helping kids who have chronic seizures.

Until now, there's been very little scientific research on the subject. Now, researchers at Children's Hospital Colorado are embarking on a three-year study on the effectiveness of medicinal cannabinoids in helping control kids' seizures. Doctors will follow about 150 kids as they use their own medical marijuana.

While some parents say their kids have had fewer or less severe seizures with medical marijuana, other parents report the treatments haven't helped -- or that seizures got worse.

Kelly Knupp, who specializes in pediatric epilepsy, will lead the study. The research is one of several medical marijuana studies being funding by a pool of money set aside by the state. Other state-funded studies include one on the effectiveness of medical marijuana for post-traumatic stress disorder and another that looks at the merits of marijuana vs. Oxycodone as a painkiller.​