Medical Marijuana For Epilepsy: A Patient Treatment Guide

Epilepsy impacts a little over 1% of the U.S population. That equates to about 3 million grownups and 400,000 kids. On an international scale, there have to do with 50 million individuals who struggle with epilepsy. While some epilepsy clients will have as low as one to 2 seizures a year, others need to fight with day-to-day seizures.

Some epilepsy clients struggle with treatment-resistant seizures. Such clients are most likely to experience everyday seizures that do not react to standard anti-seizure medications. Other clients are just unable to tolerate the unfavorable impacts of standard pharmaceutical medications for epilepsy or epilepsy surgical treatment.

Epilepsy is among the certifying conditions for medical marijuana treatment in a number of states that have a legal cannabis program. That suggests that clients experiencing epilepsy in these states can lawfully access medical marijuana to manage seizures in epilepsy. That is not the only choice that epilepsy victims have.

In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized a pharmaceutical drug with artificial CBD for the treatment of epilepsy in kids, after comprehensive examination. Particularly, the drug was FDA authorized for the treatment of 2 kinds of intractable youth seizures: Lennox Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis complex. This drug was authorized for usage in kids who are at least above the age of one.

Patients experiencing treatment-resistant seizures have actually played a huge function in pressing medical marijuana for epilepsy to the spotlight. One noteworthy case is that of Charlotte Figi (now late) whose moving story was released by CNN in2013 Charlotte, a child of Matt and Paige Figi established an extreme type of seizure condition (Dravet Syndrome, likewise referred to as myoclonic epilepsy of infancy or SMEI) when she was hardly 3 months old.

By the time Charlotte was 2.5 years of ages, she was experiencing 300 grand mal seizures weekly. After attempting various medications without any success, Paige attempted a high CBD low THC item from a regional dispensary in Denver to deal with seizures. The treatment had the ability to minimize the frequency of her seizures to about one to 2 a month. Eventually, she moved from status epilepticus to being seizure-free.

This story was extremely advertised and captured the attention of big media homes and lawmakers. Alfie Dingley is another kid with a serious kind of epileptic seizure condition whose moving story was released in2018 According to Alfie’s mom, marijuana conserved her child’s life. Such stories and the unrelenting efforts of cannabis supporters have actually made it possible for countless clients to be able to gain access to medical marijuana for epilepsy in 36 states and counting up until now.

What is Medical Marijuana?

This describes making use of the chemical substances that are discovered in the marijuana plant (Cannabis Sativa plant) to deal with medical conditions. It is likewise called medical marijuana.

The marijuana plant is comprised of various classes of chemical substances: phytocannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and nutrients.

Phytocannabinoids comprise the higher part of medical marijuana. Far, about 114 phytocannabinoids have actually been recognized, however simply a handful have actually been studied for their favorable results. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and Cannabidiol (CBD) have actually been of biggest interest to medical scientists. Other phytocannabinoids that have actually made waves for their healing capacity in the current previous consist of cannabinol (CBN), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and cannabigerol (CBG).

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Researchers have actually likewise taken a look at particular terpenes for their healing capacity. Linalool has actually revealed anticonvulsant residential or commercial properties. Marijuana has the ability to use the advantages of entire plant medication when various bioactive particles operate in synergy. Integrating CBD with THC and other cannabinoids and terpenes as the active components might provide more powerful recovery impacts as compared to taking in CBD on its own. This is described as the entourage impact

How Does Medical Marijuana Reduce Epileptic Seizures?

Epileptic seizures are normally an outcome of unchecked electrical misfiring of nerve cells in the brain. This produces uncontrolled jerks, convulsions, and in some cases even unconsciousness.

Medical marijuana is comprised of numerous bioactive substances referred to as phytocannabinoids and terpenes. These substances are accountable for the restorative impacts of marijuana.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the most popular cannabinoids in marijuana. They likewise take place to be the most studied, particularly in neuropsychiatric conditions. Other cannabinoids consist of THCA, CBDA, CBG, CBN, and CBC. A significant distinction in between the 2 phytocannabinoids is that while THC is psychedelic and will trigger ecstasy, CBD is not.

How do Phytocannabinoids Heal?

The body is comprised of numerous crucial systems, among them is the endocannabinoid system (ECS) Very little was understood about the ECS till the 1980 s. It is not a surprise that medical books do not point out the ECS and as a result, the majority of medical professionals will finish from medical school without understanding an aspect of the ECS or how medical marijuana works.

The ECS is accountable for keeping homeostasis, or a state of physiological balance in the body. While illness offsets this balance, the ECS works to bring back the balance through endocannabinoids and endocannabinoid receptors that make up the ECS. A few of the crucial functions that are managed by the ECS consist of the following:

  • Pain
  • Inflammation
  • Memory
  • Reproduction
  • Hormonal function
  • Moods
  • Immunity
  • Nervous function
  • Digestion
  • Appetite and metabolic process
  • Poor quality sleep or sleep condition

Phytocannabinoids simulate the action of the body’s endogenous cannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids are able to trigger recovery by affecting specific body systems that are regulated by the ECS.

Is There Evidence Backing Cannabis for Epilepsy?

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There are numerous cases that supply anecdotal proof for using cannabis to manage seizures in epilepsy, such as the case of Charlotte Figi and Alfie Dangley. Apart from that, a number of research studies have actually shown the security and effectiveness of utilizing cannabis to deal with seizures.

A research study that was performed in 1981 examined medical trials including making use of medical marijuana to deal with epilepsy for a years. The outcomes not just exposed effectiveness however enhanced sleep results, compared to placebo. More just recently (2017), a Chinese scientist by the name of Chung Mo Koo released a clinical report with the title “Could Cannabidiol be a Treatment Option for Intractable Childhood and Adolescent Epilepsy?”

Koo observed from among the trials that clients getting 50 mg/ kg of cannabinoids experienced a 50% decrease in the frequency of their seizures. Another double-blind placebo-controlled trial revealed a comparable pattern: after 6 months of treatment marijuana clients were experiencing half the variety of drop seizures they were experiencing prior to cannabis treatment.

CBD has actually revealed the best capacity in the management of unrestrained seizures. Some research study has actually revealed that CBD applies this impact by reducing GPR55 and TRPV1 receptors and consequently minimizing the excitability of nerve cells. CBD likewise provides neuroprotective advantages and thus guards brain cells from simple damage.

A 2019 mindful evaluation examined existing literature and research studies on using CBD for epilepsy treatment. As was anticipated, the relative security and effectiveness of CBD were once again developed. The scientists nevertheless advised additional research study in bigger randomized trials.

FDA Approves Epidiolex

In 2018, the fda authorized a CBD-based drug for the treatment of extreme kinds of drug-resistant epilepsy, particularly Dravet syndrome and Lennox Gastaut syndrome. Numerous medical trials had actually been performed to show the security and effectiveness of CBD prior to Epidiolex was authorized.

CBD for Lennox-Gastaut syndrome

Lennox-Gastaut syndrome is an extreme type of drug-resistant epilepsy that impacts numerous kids in the U.S. It comprises about 2.5% of all epilepsy cases. A current scientific trial revealed the efficiency of CBD in decreasing seizures in this kind of epilepsy. The frequency of drop seizures experienced by the research study individuals come by 48%-71% while the overall variety of seizures by 48%– 68% after they got CBD.

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CBD for Dravet syndrome

Dravets syndrome is an extremely uncommon kind of youth epilepsy that has actually been connected to a hereditary anomaly (SCN1A anomaly). A 2017 research study concluded that cannabidiol can be utilized to decrease seizure frequency in Dravet’s syndrome. This was a double-blind placebo-controlled scientific trial with a CBD group and a control group.

Does THC Help with Epilepsy?

THC, the psychedelic element in marijuana might assist with epilepsy, although much of the spotlight has actually been concentrated on CBD. A current report released by Stanford researchers revealed that an equivalent of THC can trigger a substantial decrease in seizure-like activity in the brain. It likewise set off post-seizure oxygen deprivation. The open-label scientific trials examining the capacity of cannabis in dealing with Dravet’s syndrome integrated 2 mg/mL THC with 100 mg/mL CBD. This trial was targeted at developing the dosing and tolerability of medical marijuana for seizure treatment. All 20 kids with Dravet that remained in the trial on this drug for 20 weeks reported substantial enhancements in lifestyle while their seizures reduced in intensity considerably. While CBD oil appears to have more powerful effectiveness in minimizing seizure frequency, integrating both cannabinoids supplies entourage advantages and is for that reason helpful. Be conscious that THC will set off psychedelic impacts, it is recommended to provide it in low quantities.

How To Use Marijuana For Epilepsy

Medical marijuana is available in a range of solutions. When selecting the very best method to take in medical marijuana, you will require to think about the medical marijuana laws in your state of home. Some states put limitations on the marijuana items that can be utilized by clients who get approved for this sort of treatment.

For example, if you reside in Utah, you will have the ability to lawfully access the following marijuana items from a dispensary:

  • Tinctures
  • Tablets and pills
  • Transdermal spots
  • Gelatinous cubes
  • Wax
  • Flower

The following marijuana items are forbidden in Utah:

  • Smokable kinds
  • Edibles such as cookies, brownies, and sweets

You can select an intake approach that matches your distinct requirements and choices.

How To Dose Medical Marijuana

Dosing cannabis is a complex act. You need to put in the effort to find the dosage that has the ability to get your seizures under control. Your medical service provider ought to have the ability to deal with you through this journey. And as typical, it constantly assists to begin with a low dosage and change upwards till you discover what works best for you.

When integrating THC with CBD, research studies have actually revealed that you can begin with a price quote of 2 to 16 mg/kg/day of CBD and 0.04 to 0.32 mg/kg/day of THC. This was utilized in open-label medical trials for kids with Dravet’s syndrome. The scientists discovered that this dosage was both reliable and well-tolerated.

For CBD, you can begin with a dosage of 5-6 mg/kg/day or 2.5 mg/kg two times daily. A 2019 research study discovered this dosage to be both efficient and safe in handling seizures. This is the exact same dosage that is utilized for Epidiolex.

Can Medical Marijuana Cure Epilepsy?

While marijuana might not be a treatment for epilepsy, it might substantially minimize epileptic seizures and enhance the lifestyle of the clients. Scientific trials and other research studies have actually revealed that medical marijuana treatment is both safe and efficient in handling drug-resistant seizures. Marijuana is particularly helpful in dealing with intractable youth seizures such as Dravet’s syndrome and Lennox Gastaut syndrome.

Is Medical Marijuana Legal?

Marijuana has actually up until now been legislated in 36 states in the United States for medical usage. Other states are having favorable considerations about legislating marijuana for medical usage and we anticipate to see this figure increasing in the coming years. Cannabis still stays prohibited under federal law.

The drug enforcement administration (DEA) categorizes cannabis under schedule 1 of the illegal drugs act. This class consists of drugs that have no recognized medical worth and at the very same time have a high capacity for abuse (very same category Heroin, LSD, MDNA). While medical marijuana is legal in the 36 states that have actually legislated it, it stays unlawful under federal law.

The Agricultural Act (aka The Farm Bill) of 2018 legalized hemp at the federal level. This indicates that hemp-derived CBD (consisting of less than 0.3% THC) is legal under federal law. Hemp-derived CBD items are for that reason legal throughout the majority of states in the U.S.

Epidiolex, a pharmaceutical kind of marijuana, has FDA approval for the treatment of Dravet syndrome and Lennox- Gastaut epilepsy syndromes. This makes it legal at the federal level.

Does Marijuana Interact With Other Anti Seizure Medications?

CBD connects with a number of other medications consisting of some anti-seizure medications such as salt valproate. CBD might either enhance or lower the results of these drugs. It is crucial to seek advice from with your pharmacist or medical expert prior to you start treatment with marijuana, specifically if you are taking other medications.

Does Cannabis Have Side Effects?

Yes, marijuana has some adverse effects. This will differ depending upon what it includes, CBD or THC. These negative effects are most likely to be experienced when you take excessive of the medication. It is crucial to take in a quantity that your body can endure, particularly when you are beginning out.

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CBD may trigger the following negative results:

  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased hunger
  • Low high blood pressure
  • GI disruption
  • Increased liver enzymes

THC may trigger the following unfavorable results?

  • Dry eyes and mouth
  • Increased stress and anxiety
  • Increased or reduced hunger
  • Paranoia
  • Increased heart rate
  • Slower response time
  • Short term amnesia
  • Elevated liver enzymes

Because of these negative effects, it is essential to speak with a health care specialist about using marijuana for handling epileptic seizures. For extra details, you can utilize these resources:

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6616248/

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/101002/ acn3.621

https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2021/07/ marijuana-like-brain-substance-calms-seizures-but-increases-afte. html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5716495/

https://www.neurologyadvisor.com/conference-highlights/aan-2020- conference/cannabidiol-is-safe- and-effective-for-patients-with-lennox-gastaut-syndrome/

https://www.nature.com/articles/pr2008260

https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/treating-seizures-and-epilepsy/other-treatment-approaches/medical-marijuana-and-epilepsy

https://www.healthline.com/health/marijuana-and-epilepsy

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John Malanca About the Author

Since 2011, John Malanca has actually been the “go to”, specialist and relied on expert in education and details in medical marijuana and the health/wellness sectors. His substantial understanding of marijuana, the endocannabinoid system, client requirements, and illness care, integrated with his upbeat and real issue for his audience makes him a preferred amongst market hosts.

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Author: John Malanca

Since 2011, John Malanca has actually been the “go to”, specialist and relied on expert in education and details in medical marijuana and the health/wellness sectors. His substantial understanding of marijuana, the endocannabinoid system, client requirements, and illness care, integrated with his upbeat and authentic issue for his audience makes him a preferred amongst market hosts.

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