Introduction followed by its legalization in many parts

Introduction

Marijuana is a drug from the plant Cannabis sativa which is
well known for its psychoactive properties and is intended for recreational
use. The drug contains two main chemical components THC and CBD, of which THC
is the psychoactive component and CBD counteracts the effects of THC. In 1970
Marijuana was categorized as Schedule I drug and was listed as having no
accepted medical use. However, recent studies have shown that marijuana have
therapeutic uses in treating patients with HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s Disease, Multiple
Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease,  Epileptic Seizures, etc. which was followed by
its legalization in many parts of the world. Nevertheless there are still
controversies regarding the use of Cannabis as a medicine and the validity of
the researches that prove so considering that the researches are limited due to
restrictions in obtaining the drug for study. This essay would focus on
reviewing articles on the therapeutic uses of Medical Cannabis in treating
seizures associated with epilepsy and also the advantages and disadvantages its
legalization would bring about. The conventional treatment methods of epilepsy
include the use of anti-epileptic drugs, Vagus nerve stimulators, and surgical
intervention that also come with numerous side effects. So if marijuana shows
the potential qualities to treat this disease it means greater benefit with
comparatively lesser side effects. The treatment involves the use of CBD and
THC extract in form of oils as well as direct smoking of the weed.

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Goals:

a)     
To study the efficacy of the drug in treating
epileptic seizures

b)     
To study the side-effects associated with it

c)      
Understand the issues that may arise with the
legalization of the drug and potential harms associated

Methodology:

Inclusion Criteria:

This research will include articles mainly focused on age
group of infants to adults in their mid30’s as most of the research was found
to be conducted in this age group due to it being the most common age of onset.
It will also include the articles that describe the benefits and problems that
may arise on mass legalization of this drug. This synthesized literature will
include articles from Lancet, PubMed, Science Direct, and other relevant
articles.

Exclusion Criteria:

This review excludes articles that are over 10 years since
publication so that the information provided is up-to date. The studies conducted
about the use of marijuana for treatment of epilepsy in countries other than
those that have legalized marijuana for the same have been excluded as it
questions the validity and reliability of the article.

Key words:

Medical cannabis, Cannabinoids, CBD and THC, Medical
Marijuana, CBD oils , Cannabidols,Delta-9- tetrahydrocannabidols, Legalization,
Epileptic seizures, Ictus, Negative effects, Marijuana use disorders, Substance
abuse, Hemp oil, Cannabis sativa, Cannabis

Findings:
The case of Charlotte a little girl with Dravet syndrome who was administered
with high concentration CBD:THC strains of cannabis, now known as Charlotte’s
web, along with antiepileptic drug was found to have reduced her seizure
frequency from 50 convulsive seizure per day to 2-3 nocturnal convulsions per
month and is currently off her other antiepileptic drugs after its use along
with cannabis for 20 months.1

In the study conducted by the lancet publisher Dr. Orrin
Devinsky and colleagues reported that patients who used clobazam, an
antiepileptic drug, showed 10% increase in serum clobazam level after cannabinol
was added. He also reported that there was about 50% reduction in motor
seizures in almost a quarter of patients not taking clobazam. Adverse events
were        reported in 79% of the
patients in safety group which included somnolence, decreased appetite,
diarrhea, fatigue and convulsions. Serious adverse effect was reported in 30%
of the patients of which most common was status epilepticus including 1 death. 2

In a cohort study conducted by Kevin E Chapman, about 49% of
patient reported improvement in their seizures on use of OCEs. About 19% of
patients reported having adverse events of which 8% included worsening of their
seizures and others reported somnolence and GI symptoms. 3

In a study conducted in the United States it was found that,
“About one in three 10th graders report marijuana use, most adolescents do not
view the drug as harmful, and over 650,000 youth aged 12 to 17 struggle with
cannabis use disorder”.  This leads to a
claim that legalization of cannabis as drug would lead to increased exposure of
this substance to adolescence and there by leading to addiction and drug abuse.4

A study published in The Journal shows that Respiratory
Depression and Seizures in children due to pediatric marijuana intoxication
were more frequently reported following its legalization in the US.5

The result of a study conducted by Rusby JC states that the
legalization of the drug did not increase its use in youth that previously did
not use marijuana but it increased the use in youth who were previously using
the drug.6

 

Result:

Based on the findings it can be concluded that the drug
shows the potential to help treatment of epileptic seizures. However it should
be strictly ensured that the drug is used and prescribed appropriately and any
miscalculation in CBD:THC ratio can prove to have severe side effects such as
hallucinations, psychoses, etc. There should also be strict laws on
legalization of the drug as its legalization shows potency to lead to substance
abuse and related side effects.

It is recommended that more studies to be conducted on the
long term effects of the medical cannabis in epileptic patients.

 

Abbreviations:

CBD- Cannabinol

THC- Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabidols

OCE- Oral Cannabinol Extracts

Reference:

1)Maa E, Figi P. 2014. The case for medical marijuana in
epilepsy. ONLINE Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24854149.
Accessed 21 January 2018.

2) Orrin Devinsky, et al. 2015. Cannabidiol in patients with
treatment-resistant epilepsy: an open-label interventional trial. ONLINE
Available at:
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laneur/article/PIIS1474-4422(15)00379-8/abstract.
Accessed 21 January 2018.

3) Kevin E Chapman, Lauren Treat, Kathryn L. Colborn, Kelly
G Knupp. 2016. Duration of use of oral cannabis extract in a cohort of
pediatric epilepsy patients.. ONLINE Available at:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29144146. Accessed 21 January 2018.

4) D’Amico EJ PubMed. 2017. Understanding Rates of Marijuana
Use and Consequences Among Adolescents in a Changing Legal Landscape.. ONLINE
Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29201592. Accessed 6
December 2017.

5) George Sam Wang,Kennon Heard, Genie Roosvelt. 2017. The
Unintended Consequences of Marijuana Legalization. ONLINE Available at:
http://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476(17)31081-8/fulltext. Accessed 21
January 2018.

6) Rusby JC, Westling E, Light JM. 2017. Legalization of
Recreational Marijuana and Community Sales Policy in Oregon: Impact on
Adolescent Willingness and Intent to Use, Parent Use, and Adolescent Use..
ONLINE Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29144146. Accessed
21 January 2018.

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