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Medical Cannabis and Epilepsy

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Contributors

  • Kelly Knupp, MD

    Kelly Knupp received her MD from the University of New Mexico - School of Medicine. She completed her residency in Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of New York followed by Pediatric Neurology Residency at Columbia University at Children’s Hospital of New York. After her residency, she trained as a Clinical Fellow in Pediatric Epilepsy at the Columbia Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Knupp now practices at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, CO. She is the Director of the Dravet Program. Her interests are epileptic encephalopathies including Dravet Syndrome and infantile spasms. She is on the steering committee for the Pediatric Epilepsy Research Consortium and through this group focuses on developing collaborative research across the country for children with epileptic encephalopathies. Dr. Knupp is also the principal investigator on the Colorado Department of Health Research Grant titled “Use of Medicinal Cannabinoids as Adjunctive Treatment for Medically Refractory Epilepsy (pediatric epilepsy)”

  • Ben Whalley , PhD

    Professor Benjamin J. Whalley studies neuronal processes that underlie complex physiological functions, specifically neuronal hyperexcitability states and their consequential disorders (e.g. epilepsy, ataxia and dystonias). As a registered pharmacist (1992-present), Dr. Whalley’s research in this area has primarily focused upon preclinical drug development in epilepsy. Here, he has primarily employed electrophysiological approaches with a variety of in vitro models of epileptiform activity and a number of in vivo rodent models of seizure and epilepsy.

    He has used these approaches to examine the cellular and neuronal network mechanisms that underlie the effects of anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) that are in clinical use or currently in clinical trials. More recently, his work has examined the effects of several non-psychoactive components of marijuana (‘phytocannabinoids’) upon hyperexcitability states. Here, he has demonstrated that several of these phytocannabinoids exert significant anti-epileptic effects and, since 2008, has worked with GW Pharmaceuticals and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals to develop these drugs to the point of translation to human clinical trials. This work has yielded 4 international patents and, in 2014, initiation of Phase 1 human clinical trials for one drug (cannabidavarin) and Phase 2 human clinical trials for another (cannabidiol) in drug resistant, pediatric epilepsies.

    Dr. Whalley’s expertise in this area is further reflected in his role as an expert witness in criminal trials involving cannabis, his invited authorship of The American Herbal Pharmacopeia’s monograph on Cannabis and Epilepsy and recent appointment to the UK Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. His work with non-psychoactive phytocannabinoids has also included work with colleagues that has revealed cannabinoid effects upon appetite and feeding behaviors, anti-ataxic mechanisms of action in the cerebellum and ongoing studies of the effect of these compounds in cachexic states.

April 8, 2015
Wed 3:00 PM EDT

Duration 1H 30M

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$25.00