If You Think It Can –
May 14, 2019 – After meeting David and reading through the small body of published work on CBD, Jacobson changed postdoctoral directions once again, from primary research to the study of this community of parents who were treating their epileptic children with cannabis extracts. In reality, she was preparing to join it herself. One small, double-blind study particularly caught her attention. In 1980, scientists in Brazil treated eight epileptic patients with CBD and eight patients with sugar pills as a placebo. For half the group that received CBD, the seizures almost completely disappeared; another three experienced a reduction in the intensity of their seizures. Only one person in the placebo group got better. The epilepsy drugs that had been approved to date, none of which had helped Ben much, typically targeted the same few ion channels and receptors on the surface of neurons. But CBD worked on different and still somewhat mysterious pathways. If she could find a suitable CBD extract, Jacobson thought, she might have a truly new class of drug for Ben. The other experimental drugs and devices she had heard about at epilepsy conferences were under development, unapproved by the F.D.A. and thus largely unavailable. But medical marijuana had been legal in California since 1996, so CBD was theoretically accessible right away.