There are some major benefits to using medical marijuana for the treatment of Epilepsy. Here are the top five reasons why medical marijuana and epilepsy should be considered in the same sentence, and the science of how it applies to this difficult condition.
Epilepsy- Seizures are very much like a nuclear reactor.
The pre-synaptic neurons (Uranium) release signals which are absorbed by the post-synaptic neurons, absorbed and inhibitory substances released (lead rods). If the pre-synaptic neurons release more signals than the post-synaptic neurons can control, the inhibitory substances are overwhelmed and a ‘chain reaction’ or seizure results.
Endocannabinoids are released by the post-synaptic neurons to trigger CB1 receptors on the pre-synaptic neuron- which inhibit the release of further signals from the pre-synaptic neuron. They basically put the rods a little further into the core and slow things down. Conventional epilepsy treatment is ineffective in about 30% of the patients, and cannabis has been used to treat seizures for centuries.
THC was initially characterized as an anti-convulsant
Since it was isolated in 1964. Cannabis has been used as a treatment for seizures for centuries. It just flat out works.
Firing of presynaptic Neurons has Shown to Trigger the Release of CB1 Agonists
From the post synaptic neurons which in turn inhibit the further firing of the presynaptic excitatory stimuli (a negative feedback loop). Excessive and uncontrolled firing of these presynaptic neurons without the inhibitory cannabinoid modulated modulated negative feedback loop can lead to seizures much as removal of the control rods in a reactor can lead to an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction.
Furthermore, excessive release of signals from the presynaptic neurons has been shown to cause physical damage and neuronal death due to a process known as ‘excitotoxicity’. Excitotoxicity has been implicated in a number of degenerative central nervous system disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Diseases in addition to various forms of Epilepsy.
30% of Epilepsy Conditions Are Not adequately Controlled by Conventional Therapy.
Cannabis was one of the first medicinal plants used to treat this debilitating disorder, with numerous studies from the 19th century and before studying it’s anti-epileptic properties. This research came to a halt in the early 20th Century due to the prohibition of the 1930’s.
The Anti-epileptic Effects of Cannabis are Noted With Use of CB1 Agonists
This happens in febrile, electrically induced, and in pilocarpine induced seizures the efficacy of CB1 agonists to control the seizure was greater than traditional medications such as dilantin and phenobarbital.
Following the identification of THC as the active ingredient of marijuana in the early 1960’s there was a resurgence of interest in the nearly forgotten research of the 19th Century. Early studies were encouraging but mixed in results, with some showing reduced frequency of seizures and others showing a ‘rebound’ effect with withdrawal of use leading to increased frequency of seizure.
The latter appeared to be dose dependent. As more studies (both experimental and case reports) were completed, the results appear to show that cannabis either has no effect or reduced the frequency of seizures in the test subjects.