Medical Marijuana Helps Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a seizure disorder. Cannabis has been known to have anticonvulsant properties. It has been proven time and again to be beneficial for people suffering from epilepsy. Medical Marijuana patients also report a reduction in headaches as well as a reduction in seizures when using marijuana instead of conventional medicines.

“British researchers have determined that a little-studied chemical in the cannabis plant could lead to effective treatments for epilepsy, with few to no side effects.”

From: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/sep/14/news/la-sn-cannabis-cbdv-epilepsy-20120914

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“British researchers have determined that a little-studied chemical in the cannabis plant could lead to effective treatments for epilepsy, with few to no side effects.”

The team at Britain’s University of Reading, working with GW Pharmaceuticals and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, tested cannabidivarin, or CBDV, in rats and mice afflicted with six types of epilepsy and found it “strongly suppressed seizures” without causing the uncontrollable shaking and other side effects of existing anti-epilepsy drugs.
According to the findings, reported this week in the British Journal of Pharmacology, CBDV also delayed and reduced seizures when used in conjunction with two common anti-convulsant drugs.

The study, he added, highlights “the potential for a solution based on cannabinoid science. It has shown that cannabidivarin is the most effective and best tolerated anticonvulsant plant cannabinoid investigated to date.”

The casual use of marijuana — or cannabis — to control seizures dates back to ancient times.

A number of the plant’s more than 100 cannabinoids are non-psychoactive, however. The most studied among them is cannabidiol, or CBD, which has shown promise for multiple sclerosis spacticity, nausea, epilepsy and schizophrenia. Animal studies with CBD have also shown it to be effective as a neuoroprotectant and cancer-fighting agent.”

Medical pot treats boy’s epilepsy, without getting him high

By Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times (MCT)

Luis Sinco | Los Angeles Times | MCT

Jason David administers oral drops of a medical marijuana tincture that he says has greatly helped control the symptoms of his son Jayden’s severe epilepsy in Modesto, California, July 20, 2012.

MODESTO, Calif. — Topamax. Depakote. Phenobarbital. The list goes on. Before Jayden David turned 5, he had tried a dozen powerful medications to tame a rare form of epilepsy. The side effects were devastating.

There were grand mal seizures that lasted more than an hour. Hundreds of times a day, muscle twitches contorted his impish face.

“If he wasn’t sleeping, he was seizing,” said Jayden’s father, Jason David.

Feeling helpless, David said, he contemplated suicide. He prayed. Then one day he heard about a teenager who was expelled from school for using marijuana to help control seizures.

So began the pair’s journey into California’s medical cannabis culture.

In the 14 months since, the little boy has been swallowing droppers full of a solution made mostly of cannabidiol, or CBD, the second most prominent of marijuana’s 100 or so cannabinoids. Unlike the dominant THC, cannabidiol is not psychoactive, so the sweet-tasting infusion Jayden takes four times a day doesn’t make him high.

Down from 22 prescription pills per day to four, he now eats solid food, responds to his father’s incessant requests for kisses and dances in his Modesto living room to the “Yo Gabba Gabba!” theme song. The frequency and intensity of his seizures have been greatly reduced.

But this summer, federal prosecutors moved to close Oakland’s Harborside Health Center — the nation’s largest dispensary and the place David has relied on most for help.

The public debate over medical marijuana — which violates federal law but is legal in California, 17 other states and the District of Columbia — for the most part has pitted those who praise its health benefits against those who say it is merely an excuse to get high. Lost in the discussion has been the fact that marijuana has myriad components that affect the body in a number of ways.

CBD, for instance, was virtually bred out of U.S. plants decades ago by growers whose customers preferred the mind-altering properties of high-THC varietals. Yet it is experiencing a resurgence, having shown promise as an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, neuroprotectant and cancer-fighting agent.

“Nobody is going to a dispensary for this to get high,” said Martin Lee, a San Francisco area writer who has reported on cannabidiol for years. “With CBD, it’s clear that it’s just about medicine.”

“I was going crazy,” David said.

That Sunday, David, a devout Assyrian Christian, and his girlfriend brought Jayden to their parish. “We were asking God for signs,” David said.

The TV news story David saw the next day about the epileptic teenager seemed to offer one. Scouring the Internet, he came across decades of research documenting the therapeutic effects of CBD.

It has been shown to relieve, among other things, spasms from multiple sclerosis, anxiety and symptoms of schizophrenia. Animal studies related to the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and cancer have proved encouraging.

In an application for a patent awarded in 2003, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services deemed non-psychoactive cannabinoids “particularly advantageous to use” as antioxidants and neuroprotectants because they can be administered in high doses without risk of toxicity.

As for epilepsy, tales of cannabis use date to ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic traditions.

Studies have shown THC is “overwhelmingly anticonvulsant” in animals, said Dr. Ben Whalley, a researcher at Britain’s University of Reading, but CBD and some other non-psychoactive cannabinoids have shown similar effects without the mind-altering downside.

In a human trial during the 1970s, researchers found that four of the eight subjects who received large doses of CBD remained almost free of epileptic seizures, while three others improved. More recently, Whalley and his colleagues published results of an animal study that strongly supported CBD “as a therapeutic candidate for a diverse range of human epilepsies.”

“The difference is from Earth to heaven,” said Serkes Rasho, a St. George parish security guard …… “Before, he couldn’t walk. He didn’t have eye contact. Now he smiles. He recognizes everyone.”

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