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Marijuana For Epilepsy | What Is The Relationship

The relationship between medical marijuana and epilepsy is an area of significant interest and ongoing research. Medical marijuana studies, particularly cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of cannabis, has shown promise in reducing the frequency and severity of seizures in some individuals with epilepsy. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by recurrent seizures, affecting millions of people worldwide. While conventional treatments such as antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) are often effective, they may not provide sufficient relief for all patients and can be associated with side effects. In recent years, there has been growing interest in the therapeutic potential of medical marijuana, specifically cannabinoids like CBD (cannabidiol), for managing epilepsy. This article aims to explore the benefits of medical cannabis for epilepsy patients, particularly in mitigating seizures. Medical cannabis for seizures is becoming more of a common practice within modern medicine and Releaf Medical will break down the reasons and science behind this new and effective treatment.

Understanding Epilepsy And Seizures

Epilepsy is a chronic disorder of the brain characterized by recurrent seizures, which can vary in intensity and frequency. Seizures occur due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain, leading to temporary disruptions in normal brain function. Epilepsy can have various causes, including genetic factors, brain injury, infection, or developmental disorders.

Conventional Treatments And Limitations

The primary treatment for epilepsy involves the use of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) to control seizures. While these medications are effective for many patients, some individuals experience inadequate seizure control or intolerable side effects. Additionally, long-term use of AEDs may lead to drug resistance or adverse reactions, necessitating alternative treatment options.

How Medical Marijuana For Epilepsy Works

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant, with CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) being the most well-known. While THC is psychoactive and responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis use, CBD is non-intoxicating and has shown promising therapeutic effects, particularly in epilepsy management.

Mechanism Of Action For Medical Marijuana And Epilepsy

CBD and the Endocannabinoid System: The body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) helps control many bodily functions, including seizure activity. CBD interacts with the ECS, but unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), it does not produce a “high.” Its exact mechanism in controlling seizures is not fully understood but is thought to involve modulation of neuronal excitability and inflammation.

Neurotransmitters and Ion Channels: CBD may influence the levels of neurotransmitters like GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) and glutamate, which are critical in controlling neuronal excitability. CBD may also change ion channels in neurons, which could make their activity more stable and lower the risk of seizures.

Benefits Of Medical Cannabis For Seizures

Seizure Reduction: One of the most notable benefits of medical marijuana, particularly CBD, is its potential to reduce seizure frequency and severity in epilepsy patients. Numerous studies and clinical trials have demonstrated the anticonvulsant properties of CBD, leading to significant improvements in seizure control for some individuals.

Mechanisms of Action: CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which plays a crucial role in regulating various physiological functions, including neuronal excitability. CBD’s mechanisms of action in epilepsy are multifaceted and may involve modulation of neurotransmitter release, reduction of inflammation, and enhancement of inhibitory signaling pathways in the brain.

Safety and Tolerance: Unlike conventional AEDs, CBD is generally well-tolerated and has a favorable safety profile, even at high doses. Clinical trials have reported minimal adverse effects associated with CBD use, making it a potentially safer alternative for epilepsy patients, including children and those with treatment-resistant forms of the disorder.

Synergistic Effects: Some research suggests that CBD may enhance the efficacy of conventional AEDs when used in combination, leading to better seizure control and reduced medication dosage requirements. This synergistic effect underscores the potential of medical marijuana as an adjunctive therapy for epilepsy management.

Quality of Life Improvements: Beyond seizure control, medical marijuana has been associated with improvements in overall quality of life for epilepsy patients. These benefits may include reduced anxiety and depression, better sleep patterns, and enhanced cognitive function, contributing to a better overall well-being.

How To Get Medical Cannabis For Seizures

medical marijuana card appointment

Schedule An Appointment

New patients, re-evaluations, and transfer patients are able to schedule an appointment with our medical marijuana doctors for a medical marijuana card evaluation online or via a phone call at 561-778-5323 for Boynton Beach or 561-954-5323 for West Palm Beach.

medical marijuana doctors appointment

Receive An Evaluation

The certified medical marijuana doctors at Releaf Medical will determine if you qualify for a medical marijuana card in Florida. The process is risk free! If new patients do not qualify, then there is no fee.

marijuana doctors appointment

Same Day Approval

Releaf Medical marijuana clinic offers new patients same day approval. New patients will be able to register their medical marijuana card application with the state of Florida at the time of their initial appointment.

Clinical Evidence For Medical Marijuana And Epilepsy

FDA-Approved Medication: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a purified form of CBD, known as Epidiolex, for the treatment of cannabis for seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Well-controlled clinical trials showed that it worked, which led to the approval.

Other Studies: Various studies and anecdotal reports suggest that CBD can be beneficial in treating other types of epilepsy as well. However, more research is needed to fully understand its effectiveness and safety profile for broader epilepsy conditions.

Considerations for CBD Cannabis For Seizures

Finding the optimal dosage and administration of CBD for seizures can be challenging, as it varies from person to person. It usually needs to be carefully titrated and watched. CBD is generally well tolerated, but some people may have side effects like feeling tired, having diarrhea, or losing their appetite. We are still looking into the long-term effects. CBD can change the levels of some medications in the blood, which could make them less effective or cause side effects. Some of these medications are antiepileptic drugs.

Scientists are still trying to figure out how CBD affects epilepsy, what effects it has in the long term, and how cannabis might be used to treat different types of epilepsy. Researchers are also looking into the role of other cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis and how they work together.

THC Marijuana And Epilepsy

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive component of cannabis, also has a complex relationship with epilepsy and seizure management, though it is less well-studied and understood compared to CBD (cannabidiol). The research on THC’s effects on epilepsy is more limited, and findings suggest a nuanced picture of potential benefits and risks.

Potential Influences For Marijuana And Seizures

Anticonvulsant Effects: Some preclinical studies and anecdotal reports suggest that THC may have anticonvulsant properties in certain types of seizures or epilepsy syndromes. However, these effects are less consistent compared to CBD.

Interaction with the Endocannabinoid System: THC directly interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating neuronal excitability and inflammation. Through these interactions, THC might influence the seizure threshold in some individuals.

Synergistic Effects with CBD: There is a theory known as the “entourage effect,” which suggests that the various components of cannabis, including THC and CBD, may work together synergistically to produce more significant therapeutic effects than any single component alone. This theory implies that a combination of THC and CBD might be more effective in treating epilepsy than CBD alone for some individuals.

Challenges And Risks With Using Cannabis For Seizures

THC’s psychoactive properties can lead to significant side effects, including cognitive impairment, altered perception, and mood changes. These effects can limit its acceptability and suitability, especially for children and young adults with epilepsy. The clinical use of THC for epilepsy is less common and more controversial than CBD. When used, it is typically in the context of a comprehensive treatment plan under close medical supervision, often for patients who have not responded to other treatments.

Ongoing studies are trying to find out more about THC’s possible therapeutic role in epilepsy, how it works, and which types of epilepsy or groups of patients might benefit most from its use. Because epilepsy is complicated and people respond differently to cannabis-based treatments, it is important to use individualized methods and keep a close eye on them. For patients interested in exploring cannabis-based treatments for epilepsy, products with a known, controlled ratio of CBD to THC may offer a way to harness potential synergistic effects while minimizing risks, but always within the framework of legal and medical oversight.

Marijuana And Epilepsy

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Charlotte’s Web CBD Cannabis For Seizures

Charlotte’s Web is one of the most well-known high-CBD strains. It was named after a young girl named Charlotte Figi who had Dravet syndrome. She was suffering from multiple seizures a day, and after using this cannabis for seizures they almost completely stopped. There is a lot of CBD in this strain, and not much THC at all, sometimes as much as 20:1. It’s popular with people who want to feel better from pain, anxiety, seizures, and the bad effects of chemotherapy, without the whole getting high part.

When choosing or recommending a high-CBD strain, it’s important to think about the person’s needs and sensitivities, as well as whether or not the strain is legal in your area. Also, keep in mind that the exact level of cannabinoids can change from grower to grower and even from harvest to harvest of the same strain. So, always look at the lab results for the batch you’re buying to make sure it has the right amount of CBD and THC for your needs.

In Conclusion For Marijuana And Seizures

Medical marijuana, especially CBD, may help treat epilepsy, but it’s important to be careful when considering medical marijuana and seizures, to think about each patient’s needs and reactions, and to keep up with new research and government rules. There isn’t as much research on how THC affects epilepsy, but what we do know paints a complicated picture of possible benefits and risks. In summary, while medical marijuana, specifically CBD, shows promise in treating epilepsy, it’s important to approach its use with caution, considering the individual needs and responses of patients, and staying updated with ongoing research and regulatory guidelines. We hope this article helps patients determine if using medical cannabis for seizures is for them. If you have any questions or comments about medical marijuana and epilepsy please contact Releaf Medical.

Marijuana And Epilepsy

Learn More About Medical Cannabis And Seizures Treatment

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