Marijuana (Cannabis sativa) has been used for centuries as an herb to treat pain. It can be smoked (inhaled) and eaten (oral). Recent evidence for benefits of this herb have been shown for pain of nerve origin associated with HIV and spasticity with multiple sclerosis.
The major non-psychoactive component of marijuana is cannabidiol (CBD). CBD works by attaching to tiny receptors on the surface of target cells. The CBD and the receptors act like lock and key mechanisms to cause inhibition of nerve synapses.
There are two kinds of marijuana receptors called cannabinoid receptor type I (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor type II (CB2). CB1 receptors are mainly in the nervous system and are known to modulate seizure activity. CB2 receptors are mainly related to the immune system. The inhibition is at the molecular level of tiny passages of voltage-gated potassium channels and calcium channels in cell walls. This inhibition of channels by CBD may be the way that it inhibits seizure activity.
In a study by Cunha, JM, et al, 8 patients with seizures received CBD at 3 mg/kg daily for 30 days. Eight patients received placebo. Four of the patients on CBD were nearly free of any seizure crisis during the study. Three more people had a reduction in seizures, and though the study was small, the results were positive. In general, the clinical studies of CBD were of poor quality, so it is difficult to make suggestions based on the findings. In general, doses of 200 to 300 mg seem to be safe for a short period of time.
“CBD products are not produced under the guidance of good manufacturing practices (GMP) and are not subject to regulations governing labeling, purity, and reliability.” This can result in inconsistency in the quality of products and poor reliability.
CONCLUSION: Poorly controlled seizures as well as pain may be treated with CBD. More clinical studies are needed, and safety testing needs to be done. Good standardized products are needed using GMP in order to have repeatable clinical studies.
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