The use of cannabis in adults for medicinal purposes has been ongoing for a long time. Its utilization is also widespread in children suffering from neurological problems like epilepsy. Despite the legal issues surrounding its use, different preparations of marijuana of varying strengths and content have been conducted to treat seizures. In fact, recent changes in the legal system have improved the availability of products with low THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and high CBD (cannabidiol) concentrations in the form of drugs like Epidiolex.
What is CBD?
CBD is one of the many compounds found in cannabis that belong to the class of ingredients called cannabinoids. It is a nonpsychoactive component of cannabis sativa, and in various experimental models, it acted as an anticonvulsant, anti-inflammatory, antiemetic, and an antipsychotic agent, hence potential treatment for anxiety, epilepsy, neuroinflammation, as well as vomiting and nausea.
Over the years, THC has been getting most of the attention due to its mind-altering effects on users until recently when scientists found out the presence of CBD in high concentrations, notwithstanding the list of medical benefits it avails users. Cannabinoids dock on to the binding side of a protein, altering the behavior of receptors (CB1 and CB2), which explains the numerous mind-altering effects THC has on users. CBD, on the other hand, has minimal effects on CB1 and CB2 receptors; studies show it counteracts the side effects of THC (usually anxiety and paranoia). As such, CBD has become very appealing to the medical community with its benefits now extending to its use in clinical trials on young children with epilepsy.
How CBD Treats Epilepsy
Unusual electrical discharges in the brain cells cause epilepsy, leading to convulsions of the body, severely altered senses, and loss of consciousness. Most epileptic seizures are triggered by high fever, sleep deprivation, stress, hypoglycemia, and strobe lights (depending on the patient’s sensitivity). Anticonvulsants are prescribed to epileptic patients but are often ineffective, not to mention the plethora of bad side effects. The side effects prompt many patients to seek out alternative remedies like the use of medical cannabis- CBD vape oil. Evidence now shows reduced epileptic incidences in children after using CBD-only cannabis oil, Epidiolex.
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A particular study involved a five-year-old boy who suffered chronic epilepsy that led to difficulties in skills like jumping, running, and balancing. In the trial, 3milligrammes of strawberry-flavored syrup (in the form of Epidiolex) was prescribed; the boy did not experience seizures in the next 100 days. Another study that involved 120 patients aged 2-18 who were suffering from epilepsy showed that convulsive seizures reduced by 39% over a fourteen-week period.
The trials improve the chances for CBD-oil (Epidiolex) to win approval by federal regulators like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for prescription use to treat Dravet Syndrome, an incapacitating kind of epilepsy found in young children. Initially, the drug was only prescribed to kids who did not respond sufficiently to other types of epileptic medication.
While all the trials strongly advocate for the use of CBD to treat epileptic problems, the component is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug since it has the potential to create severe psychological dependence and abuse. As such, various states still have specific requirements for its use in medical situations.