Epilepsy is a neurological condition that results in seizures. Seizures can be random and come on suddenly, or they can be chronic and happen on a regular basis.
According to the Mayo Clinic , nearly 80% of persons with epilepsy require continual therapy to keep their regular activities from being disrupted by seizures. Preventing seizures can also keep you and others safe if you have one while walking, driving, or doing anything else.
People with epilepsy have a higher rate of early death despite therapy. Epilepsy prognosis is determined by a number of factors. Among them are the following:
- Age: Adults over the age of 60 are at a higher risk of epileptic seizures and the difficulties that come with them.
- Family History: Epilepsy is commonly inherited from one’s parents. If you have a family member who has suffered from epilepsy-related problems, you may be at a higher risk.
- Infections: Particularly brain infections, might raise your chance of having more seizures.
- Pre-existing neurological conditions: Infections, brain damage, tumours, and autism can all raise the likelihood of developing epilepsy.
- Heart disease, stroke, and other vascular illnesses can have a negative impact on your brain. As a result, additional seizures and consequent brain damage may occur. Adopting heart-healthy lifestyle behaviours, such as frequent exercise and a low-fat/low-sodium diet, can help reduce this risk factor.
Marijuana and Epilepsy
Could a plant brought to America by early settlers give treatment for persons suffering from epilepsy today? Since the early 1700s, marijuana (Cannabis sativa) has been produced in the United States. The plant was introduced from Europe by settlers who wanted to make hemp. Its usage as a medication was documented in the 1850 reference book “United States Pharmacopoeia.”
Marijuana was used to cure a range of diseases in ancient China as long back as 2,700 B.C., according to a recent research published in The Journal of the International League Against Epilepsy (Epilepsia) . They included the following:
- menstrual disorders
- rheumatoid arthritis
There is additional evidence that it was used to cure the following ailments in medieval times:
In 1970, marijuana was designated as a “schedule 1” substance in the United States. As a result, researchers have had a tough time determining how safe and effective it is as a treatment.
Recent Claims and Research
Many patients with epilepsy claim that marijuana helps them stop having seizures, although there is little scientific evidence to back this up. To study marijuana, researchers must seek for a special licence from the Drug Enforcement Administration. They’ll require approval from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to get access to a supply. The study has been hampered as a result of these difficulties.
Since 1970, however, a small number of investigations have been undertaken in the United States. Other research, some of which are still ongoing, have been conducted all over the world.
The findings show that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most well-known active element in marijuana, is simply one among a collection of chemicals with medical properties. Cannabidiol (CBD), for example, does not provide the “high” associated with marijuana. It’s quickly becoming one of the plant’s most important therapeutic components.
Based on these preliminary findings, other studies are presently underway in the United States and other countries to see whether a CBD medication formulation can help manage seizures.
How Does It Work?
THC and CBD belong to a class of compounds known as cannabinoids. They attach to brain receptors and are effective against pain caused by diseases such as multiple sclerosis and HIV/AIDS. They impede the transmission of pain signals by binding to receptors. CBD binds to a variety of receptors, not simply pain receptors. It appears to function on various brain signalling systems and has anti-inflammatory and protective qualities.
It’s not quite clear how it works in epilepsy. However, there have been a few tiny studies that suggest the benefits of CBD use. Mice studies reported in Epilepsia have revealed conflicting outcomes. Some people found CBD to be useful in treating seizures, while others did not. This might be related to the manner the medicine was administered, as certain techniques are more effective than others.
The notion of utilising marijuana’s components to treat epilepsy is gaining traction. Researchers must demonstrate its efficacy and address the issue of strength and how to provide it. The potency of a plant varies a lot from one to the next. The potency of the medicine can also be altered by inhaling it rather than swallowing it.
Are There Any Side Effects?
While patients with epilepsy are increasingly agreeing that medicinal marijuana is useful, researchers warn that the adverse effects must be better studied. CBD’s interaction with other drugs is still unknown.
Marijuana, like most anti-seizure drugs, has been demonstrated to impact memory. This might result in missed doses, which could result in seizures reoccurring. According to a research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, cannabis usage in youngsters can cause a demonstrable decline in cognitive ability.
The way the medicine is administered may also have an impact on side effects. It would be harmful to the lungs if you smoked it, but not if you ate it.
If you’re having epileptic seizures that aren’t responding to usual therapies, talk to your doctor. If you reside in a state that allows it, they can explain your options and give information regarding medicinal marijuana use.
If your state does not have a medicinal marijuana statute, there are still alternative choices. Your doctor can keep you up to date on the latest research and help you decide if a clinical trial for a new treatment or therapy is suitable for you.