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NY Health Department Sponsoring Medical Cannabis Study

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New York's Department of Health is sponsoring research on the use of a pharmaceutical-grade medical cannabis drug to treat children with severe epilepsy.

The department announced the studies Wednesday. They'll be open to 100 children and young adults whose epilepsy has resisted other treatments.

The drug, known as Epidiolex, is not yet FDA approved but is the subject of ongoing drug trials. It will be available free of charge to qualifying patients.

The five medical centers participating in the studies are Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo, New York Langone Medical Center, Mount Sinai Beth Israel and the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Health Commissioner Howard Zucker says his department is "thrilled" to provide the opportunity to children struggling with a devastating condition.

©2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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