Can Medical Marijuana Control Seizures?
Medical marijuana does indeed control seizures in certain people.
It is also known as medical cannabis and is produced using the entire cannabis plant or by extracting its components. Cannabis contains chemical compounds called cannabinoids, which have an impact on the brain. The two most prevalent ones are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The principal molecule present in the majority of marijuana strains is THC. It produces the high that people experience, which is regarded as a psychoactive effect. CBD is not a psychedelic and cannot make you feel high.
Epidiolex, a pure cannabidiol oil derived from plants, was authorized by the FDA in 2018 to treat seizures. Epidiolex received approval to treat seizures brought on by tuberous sclerosis complex in 2020. This uncommon genetic illness causes benign tumors to form in the brain and other parts of the body, which can result in seizures. The medication is delivered orally using a unique syringe.
Epidiolex decreased the number of seizures compared to the placebo when combined with other anti-seizure drugs. In a clinical trial, Epidiolex reduced seizures in patients by 48 percent, compared to a placebo’s reduction of 24 percent. Since it was approved, the medication has benefited a lot of individuals with these kinds of seizures, but it is not always effective.
Although researchers do not understand how CBD helps to treat seizures, they do have a few theories: It might lessen brain inflammation or slow down the transmission of signals to the brain.
The quality of marijuana products available in dispensaries and online might vary. No regulatory agency examines such goods for efficacy or safety. Non-prescribed cannabis medications may cause an increase in seizures.
The various chemical constituents in marijuana are still being studied by scientists. According to a 2018 study in the journal Epilepsy & Behaviour, Epidiolex decreased seizures linked to four additional epilepsy types—from an average of 59 per month to 22 per month.
Fatigue, nauseousness, and diarrhea are a few of the side effects that were noticed during Epidiolex’s clinical studies. Because CBD is metabolized in the liver, some patients had higher liver enzyme levels. As a result, patients receiving Epidiolex need to have their liver enzymes checked.
An FDA-approved CBD medication may be a suitable treatment for individuals with uncontrolled seizures, which is the case for about 30% of persons with epilepsy. That choice should be made following a full assessment of the efficacy of all alternative treatments (including FDA-approved new medications, dietary therapy, and surgery) in a specialized epilepsy center. Doctors who administer Epidiolex to their patients must keep an eye on the enzyme levels.
Other Considerations and Future Research:
While Epidiolex has paved the way for cannabis-based medications in epilepsy treatment, there is still much to learn. Ongoing research aims to determine optimal dosages, potential drug interactions, and long-term effects.
Epidiolex has emerged as a significant breakthrough in the treatment of seizures. Its approval by the FDA has opened new avenues for medical marijuana in the field of neurology. As research continues to evolve, medical professionals are looking forward to further advancements in utilizing cannabis-based therapies for seizure control .