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Can medical marijuana help with seizure disorders?

Medical marijuana received a lot of attention a few years ago when parents said that a special form of the drug helped control seizures in their children. So far, research hasn’t proved it works. The FDA recently aproved the drug Epidiolex, which is made from CBD, as a therapy for people with very severe or hard-to-treat seizures. In studies, some people had a dramatic drop in seizures after taking this drug.В

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on August 20, 2020

Marcel Bonn-Miller, PhD, adjunct assistant professor, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

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Drug Enforcement Administration: “Drug Schedules.”

Department of Health and Human Services.

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PDQ Integrative, Alternative, and Complementary Therapies Editorial Board: “Cannabis and Cannabinoids (PDQ).”

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News release, Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s office.

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For Marijuana Map:

Governing.com: “State Marijuana Laws Map.”

NCSL: “State Medical Marijuana Laws.”

Marcel Bonn-Miller, PhD, adjunct assistant professor, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

National Conference of State Legislatures: “State Medical Marijuana Laws.”

National Institute on Drug Abuse: “Drug Facts: Is Marijuana Medicine?” “Is Marijuana Addictive?”

Drug Enforcement Administration: “Drug Schedules.”

Department of Health and Human Services.

Kaur, R. Current Clinical Pharmacology, April 2016.

PDQ Integrative, Alternative, and Complementary Therapies Editorial Board: “Cannabis and Cannabinoids (PDQ).”

Schrot, R. Annals of Medicine, May 2016.

Epilepsy Foundation: “Learn About Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy.”

News release, Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s office.

medical marijuana received a lot of attention a few years ago when parents said that a special form of the drug helped control seizures in their children. so far, research hasn’t proved it works.

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AsianScientist (Sep. 26, 2017) – The dangers of cannabinoid abuse have been exposed by researchers in Japan who identified compounds in natural and synthetic marijuana that cause life-threatening seizures. The researchers report their findings in the journal Scientific Reports.

Marijuana is the most commonly abused drug in the world, and the advent of synthetic cannabinoids creates additional challenges to society because of their higher potency and ability to escape drug detection screenings. There is currently minimal information on the pharmacology and potential harm of synthetic cannabinoids. As several governments proceed with legalization of cannabinoids for both medical and recreational use, studies on the adverse side-effects of canniboids are warranted.

In this study, a team of researchers led by Professors Olga Malyshevskaya and Yoshihiro Urade of the International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine at the University of Tsukuba discovered that seizures, a life-threatening condition, can be induced by natural Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC, main constituent of marijuana) or the synthetic cannabinoid JWH-018 (main component of synthetic blend “Spice”) in mice.

This was demonstrated by video monitoring and movement activity tracking of mice, alongside continuous recording of the animals’ electrical brain activity when exposed to the compounds. Based on their data, the researchers proposed a potential preventive measure against cannabinoid overdose. The pretreatment of mice with a cannabinoid-1-receptor specific antagonist, AM-251, prevented cannabinoid-induced seizures.

“Our study is quite important because people see marijuana as a soft drug and are unaware of the particularly severe effects caused by those cannabinoids,” said Malyshevskaya.

Considering the recent irreversible spread of synthetic cannabinoids and their impact on human health, this data should serve as a public health alert, informing the decision-making of healthcare professionals and policy makers. Clinicians in the emergency departments of hospitals should therefore suspect seizure activity in patients who have a history of cannabinoid intoxication.

The article can be found at: Malyshevskaya et al. (2017) Natural (∆ 9 -THC) and Synthetic (JWH-018) Cannabinoids Induce Seizures by Acting Through the Cannabinoid CB1 Receptor.

Source: University of Tsukuba; Photo: Pixabay.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

SHARE AsianScientist (Sep. 26, 2017) – The dangers of cannabinoid abuse have been exposed by researchers in Japan who identified compounds in natural and synthetic marijuana that cause