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Medical Marijuana Can Help People With Seizures

The use of medical marijuana for seizures and epilepsy has been a hot potato in the cannabis news updates. This is not surprising because humans have used marijuana for thousands of years to treat certain conditions. Today, marijuana is seen as a great potential for managing seizures thanks to several types of research showing great results.

What Are Seizures?

Seizures occur when an individual has abnormal electrical activity in their brain. They’re often confused with convulsions. Seizures can be extremely difficult to identify because its symptoms vary from one person to another depending on the area of the brain affected.

Apart from being common, seizures are serious conditions affecting people in America. They can last from a few seconds to several minutes accompanied by shaking or convulsions. But seizures can also manifest in other ways.

For instance, they can manifest when a person smells some scents, engages in behaviors like fidgeting, chewing and lip-smacking, sees visual images or different colors. And sometimes, certain patients will just be unresponsive and remain staring into space.

What Causes Seizures?

Epilepsy is the leading cause of seizures. It affects over three million adults and 470,000 children. Epilepsy is a brain disorder whose cause remains unknown but can occur due to multiple reasons, such as brain tumor, stroke, infections at the central nervous system, genetics, and head injury among others.

1 in every 26 Americans will have epilepsy once in their lifetime. But what’s more harrowing is the condition it results in 34% of childhood deaths. These statistics demonstrate the commonality of epilepsy and the need to develop novel drugs to manage seizures.

People with epilepsy often face economic, physical, psychological, emotional and social challenges, like affordable medical care, work limitations and difficulty finding the right transportation. So the potential of medical marijuana can make a huge impact on the lives of people living with seizures and epilepsy.

How Cannabis Can Help

Although the benefits of medical marijuana are self-evident, most law enforcement agencies have only recently allowed research institutions to investigate its effects, usefulness and side effects. This has given researchers, breeders, pharmaceutical companies and the marijuana community a great opportunity to fully understand marijuana plant and its potential.

According to a study published in the Pediatrics Journal, medical marijuana is highly effective in managing seizures and nausea in young patients. Researchers performed a meta-analysis on over 20 studies on the use of medical marijuana on children to draw this conclusion.

Most researchers have determined that cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical substance present in marijuana has a huge effect on seizures. In fact, some of them have even gone ahead and hailed the results as proof that medical marijuana is highly effective particularly in cases where patents haven’t responded well to conventional treatments.

These results demonstrate that marijuana can play a great role in the management of life-threatening seizures. They do so in a more effective and safer manner than traditional treatments.

CBD binds to brain cells. It gets attached to a novel receptor and dampens extremely high electrical activity which causes seizures. This is a unique mechanism that’s not present in traditional medications.

Is CBD Addictive?

Addiction is a brain condition that forces an individual to seek a specific substance regardless of its adverse consequences. It’s called a brain disease because it changes the functioning and structure of the brain.

Most people living with seizures often wonder whether the use of marijuana for seizures can lead to addiction. To help you understand, let’s look at CBD in detail.

THC, the active ingredient in marijuana causes addiction. It binds with the cannabinoid receptors in the brain triggering the intoxicating effects that are often associated with marijuana use.

Studies have unraveled that cannabinoid receptors alter the brain’s reward system and release dopamine- the pleasure hormone. And that is why THC can be addictive.

But that’s not the case with medical marijuana because it uses CBD and not THC. Several studies show that CBD is a non-addictive substance. In fact, WebMD reports that CBD is safe for human consumption and is well tolerated.

What Are The Other Benefits Of CBD?

Apart from helping with seizures, CBD also offers other numerous benefits, including:

Pain Reliever

From as far as 2900 B.C, humans have used marijuana to manage pain. Recently, researchers have identified certain components that are responsible for relieving pain.

Our bodies have a specialized system known as the endocannabinoid system, which regulates several functions such as sleep, pain, appetite, and immunity.

The body, therefore, produces endocannabinoids- transmitters that attach to cannabinoid receptors. Several studies have demonstrated that CBD can help relieve chronic pain by altering endocannabinoid receptors, neurotransmitters and managing inflammation.

Anxiety And Depression Management

Anxiety and depression are not only common, but also have devastating health implications. The World Health Organization warns that depression alone is the largest contributor to disability and anxiety is the sixth.

Sadly, the two mental disorders are typically treated with drugs that result in numerous side effects, such as headaches, agitation, drowsiness, insomnia, and sexual issues. In addition, some medications like benzodiazepines often lead to addiction.

CBD has demonstrated its ability to manage anxiety and depression without the above side effects. In fact, it’s already being used to manage anxiety and insomnia in kids with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Like with managing seizures, these qualities are due to CBD’s ability to impact the brain’s receptors and therefore affect social behavior and mood.

Reduces Acne

Acne is a skin condition that affects about 10% of the population. It is caused by several factors, ranging from genetics, inflammation, bacteria to excess secretion of sebum.

CBD can help manage acne thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties and remarkable ability to reduce sebum production and manage inflammation.

Help Manage Neurological Disorders

Scientists believe that because CBD can act on the endocannabinoid system, it may offer benefits to those suffering from other neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis.

For instance, Sativex, a spray consisting of both CBD and THC, is known to be safe and effective in managing muscle spasticity, which is common in patients with multiple sclerosis. A 2014 Study proved that Sativex can reduce spasms by over 70%.

Good For The Heart

Recent studies have shown that CBD can help the heart and circulatory system in general. It also has the ability to reduce high blood pressure- a condition associated with numerous diseases, such as metabolic syndrome, stroke, and heart attack.

Finally, CBD has also been found to be beneficial in substance abuse treatment, diabetes prevention, anti-tumor, and antipsychotic effects.

For a long time, people living with seizures relied on medications with numerous side effects. As more research goes into the use of medical marijuana, there is hope. So far several studies have shown marijuana can help.

In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first medication made from marijuana to help manage rare forms of epilepsy. This approval triggered more research into cannabis, a drug that remained illegal for many years.

With academic institutions, research centers and more scientists getting into the field, the true potential of marijuana is yet to be fully unraveled. So if you or a loved one suffers from seizures, you have a reason to smile, hope for the best and check out the latest marijuana news.

Source

https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/140/5/e20171818

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/epilepsy-more-americans-with-seizures-cdc/

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1439/cannabidiol-cbd

https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/254610/WHO-MSD-MER-2017.2-eng.pdf;jsessionid=BDBF409F0DF838AE4C8E1045E174FA2F?sequence=1

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5101100/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24525548

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