Over the years, there have been different studies on the use of marijuana, and this has been known to the public due to its medicinal properties. Currently, up to thirty states have signed the use of marijuana legally into law in the United States as a means of treating debilitating diseases. One of the chronic diseases that medical cannabis can be used to treat is the epileptic seizures. This chronic illness affects the health and lives of millions of people all over the world. But how does marijuana help to reduce the effects or cure this debilitating condition?
What is Medical Marijuana?
Cannabis is known by many names, and one of the most common names is marijuana. Cannabis is the Latin name of marijuana, and it is the name used by botanists and pharmaceutical companies. Marijuana is the word that is often used for the female flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. When they say medical cannabis, they mean the whole plant marijuana or the chemicals present in the plant that is used for medical purposes.
The chemical substances that are present in the cannabis and act on the body cells (called cannabinoid receptors) when consumed are known as the cannabinoids. The two major ingredients in cannabis include the Cannabidiol or CBD which have some positive effects on different parts of the body and the Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC which creates the psychoactive effects of “getting high.” The CBD, on the other hand, does not cause psychoactive effects. The CBD is the part of cannabis that is very effective in helping to treat seizures in some people who have epilepsy.
What is a Seizure?
A seizure is said to occur when the electrical activity of the brain becomes dysregulated with the repeated firing of all the neurons at the same time. When this happens, the function of the part of the brain where the recurring synchronized firing is occurring is disrupted. Epilepsy is a condition of the brain that can lead to seizures and it has different ways of affecting people, according to CDC (Centers for the Control and Prevention of Disease). This is because there are many causes and different types of seizures. Some of what is associated with the development of seizures include Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and Head Injuries, brain tumors, meningitis, strokes, and encephalitis.
Can Medical Marijuana Be Used to Treat Seizures?
This answer is yes, and there has been a successful treatment of this seizure before. Charlotte Figi is a resident of Colorado, and he has suffered from uninterrupted seizures over the years. His case is one of the staple cases that show that medical cannabis can be used to treat seizures. After several attempts of solving this girl’s problem, her parents then resulted in the use of medicinal marijuana which is high in cannabidiol (CBD). After the addition of this drug, the seizures of this girl got reduced from 300 grand mal seizures weekly to only one to three seizures per month. Since this case has confirmed that medical marijuana can help to treat seizures, it is crucial to understand how this process worked and how to know whether you need to take note of this lesson.
Types of Seizures Caused by Epilepsy
There are two main categories of seizures, and these include the “Partial” and “Generalized” seizures. The partial seizures are caused by electrical impulses which are originating in a focused or specific area of the brain. This may lead to the loss of consciousness in the person, and it will cause some problematic dysfunction. On the other hand, generalized seizures occur when the recurring neuronal firing covers the whole brain. The generalized seizures lead to characteristic rhythmic limb movements (known as Tonic-Clonic Movements) and loss of consciousness.
Common Medications for Epileptic Seizure
There are different medications available in the market for treating epilepsy, and they are known as the “Anti-Epileptic Drugs,” or AEDs. Some of the commonly known AEDs include Clobazam (Frisium), Clonazepam (Klonopin), Carbamazepine (Tegretol), Phenytoin (Dilantin), Gabapentin (Neurontin), Topiramate (Topamax), Lamotrigine (Lamictal), Levetiracetam (Keppra), and several others. All these medications are effective in treating seizures, but they all come with negative side effects which are not that present with the use of marijuana.
Treatment of Seizures Using Medical Marijuana
The chemicals present in marijuana or more specifically cannabidiol (CBD), which is one of the most important chemicals that are responsible for different functions in the body including helping to reduce seizures. However, you should note that this treatment has only been shown in kids with erratic genetic seizure disorders. This is because these children have either Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome or Dravet’s Syndrome. Now, according to recent studies, the use of CBD can be used to relief seizures in these children.
One of the studies released in the Journal of Epilepsy Research showed that the use of purified CBD to improve the control of seizure in patients suffering from specific epilepsy syndromes. Also, please note that the dosage matters as small doses does not make any difference in these children and only high doses (around 10 to 20 mg/kg) are effective. With the different type of seizures these children have, it is not reason enough to generalize this type with varying disorders of seizure and to adults.
In conclusion, many people in the United States are suffering from epileptic seizures. Since it has been proven that medical marijuana can help to alleviate the pain, you might need to ask one or more questions about the symptoms or getting assistance while using medical cannabis for the treatment. If any questions are bothering your mind about the use of marijuana in treating seizures, you can consult with your treating physician. You can also consult him or her before you start using marijuana especially if you are a first-time user; ask for the benefits and risks associated with its use for treating seizures. He or she will know how to help you manage any symptoms that show up during the treatment.
Thank you for reading!