The Cannabinoid System In Treating Epilepsy | cannabisMD

The Cannabinoid System In Treating Epilepsy

Endogenous Cannabinoid System and it's Role in Treating Epilepsy

Epilepsy is caused when there is an irregular electrical activity in the brain. When an epileptic seizure occurs, there are too many electrical frequencies being sent to the brain which causes a disruption to how the brain normally works.

At times, a person can be diagnosed with epilepsy from birth due to lack of oxygen reached to them as a baby. In other cases, possible circumstances like a stroke, head injury or meningitis may also cause epilepsy. However, majority of people that do suffer from this disease, do not know exactly what may have caused it. There are theories that epileptic seizures could potentially be inherited, though studies are still ongoing.

This paper will look at how the endocannabinoid system regulates seizure frequency and how cannabinoids can be used to treat different types of epilepsy.

Here is the full scientific article if you wish to download it.

Cannabinoids May Anticonvulsant Properties

Several lines of studies point at that cannabinoid chemicals are anticonvulsant. However, the anticonvulsant value of cannabinoids and, more so, the role of the endogenous cannabinoid system in controlling seizures has not been studied in a model of focal epilepsy that is described by sporadic, and frequent types of seizures. In this study, THC is shown to completely prevent epileptic seizures in rats with epilepsy. However, this is in confliction with the application of a cannabinoid CB1 receptor (CB1) antagonist and it was seen to massively increase both seizure duration and frequency.

In some animals, CB1 receptor antagonism concluded in seizure durations that were seemed to a level consistent with the clinical syndrome, epilepsy. More so, it is shown that during a short-term seizure, levels of the endogenous cannabinoids increased hugely within the hippocampal part of the brain. These results suggest that anticonvulsant activity of exogenously induced cannabinoids but also indicates that endogenous cannabinoids alter seizure duration through the triggering of the CB1 receptor.

Therapeutic Value of Cannabinoids

Seizures in people with epilepsy can be hard to mediate despite the use of now available anticonvulsant prescriptions and surgical interventions. Therefore, there is a definite requirement for the development of more efficient anticonvulsant agents. Some epileptics, seeking different treatments, have gotten better with marijuana use. This has made several countries to look at legalizing marijuana for epilepsy treatment. This study represents a refractory epileptic condition that is not readily treated by normal anticonvulsants.

This study concludes that the triggering of the CB1 receptor by cannabinoid medications and potentially endogenous cannabinoids massively changes seizure activity and is more efficient than normal anticonvulsants in treating the refractory seizures produced in this studies model. These results are promising as children with epilepsy that have received brain damage can be treated with the marijuana plant with little side effects.

Jonathan Neilly
Jonathan Neilly
Jonathan Neilly is registered with the British Psychological Society, breaking the taboo on mental health issues is one of the driving forces in his life. His background in biomedicine gives him additional understanding of the factors that work together to influence the human condition.

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