CBD…, the Endocannabinoid System, and Epilepsy Treatment (part 1)

No, EpilepsyMine has not become some fast-and-loose platform for marijuana legalization.

However, I have spent the last couple weeks truly delving into the literature surrounding and researching the endocannabinoid system, phytocannabinoids, and their effect on diseases such as epilepsy. In regards to phytocannabinoids, my primary focus of research was the exogenous cannabinoid Cannabidiol (CBD).

Truthfully, from the professional/academic reviews I’ve worked through, I see a more-than-compelling vision of CBD as a treatment for epilepsy. With its high success rate in clinical and animal models of epilepsy, with virtually no side-effects worth mentioning (a very slight chance of mild somnolence), its abundant availability, and its safety (successfully treats epileptic infants and toddlers, with no noticeable side-effects or interactions).

The reading made me hopeful! Not only because CBD as a treatment, for so many disease, is scientifically substantiated by PhDs and MDs around the world. Further, I am excited because of seeming “kindness” with which CBD acts pharmacologically.

(If you don’t believe me, please take some time to review the references below.)

A Brief Rundown of CBD

CBD & THC: Siblings, Yin-Yang Twins

CBD can be thought of as the non-psychoactive, quantitatively-equal counterpart to delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol (THC). In otherwords, CBD and THC are, by quantity, more common than other phytocannabinoids (PCB’s) produced by cannabis. THC, of course, is the primary psychoactive chemical constituent of cannabis -the chemical compound responsible for the “weed high”.

Chemically, CBD and THC, and all of cannabis’ cannabinoids, originate from same the biosynthetic lineage. Until a point. At said point, independent enzymes move or remove substituents (little groups of atoms that give the cannabinoids their specific traits) from the parent compound. This moving and removing individualizes the cannabinoids. Resulting in quite a diverse group.

“CBD cannot get you high?” you ask. Right. In a sense, CBD has the opposite effects of THC. And, understanding the relationship between CBD and THC has led to a better understanding of either’s pharmacology. However, in order to elucidate the active relationship between THC and CBD, we must explore the human’s endocannabinoid system.

The Human Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system was not discovered until the early 1990’s, when scientists were trying to determine how and why consuming cannabis made someone high. In the process, scientists discovered an entirely unknown biochemical system within the human body. A system we would later understand had enormous influence on our lives! Regulation of mood and appetite being good examples.

Mood and appetite… As in, the stereotypical stoner traits of giggly happiness and munchies.

It turns out that our bodies had been naturally producing and using cannabinoids, in conjunction with neurological and endocrine activity, all along. Further, the body has sites (“cannabinoid receptors” CB1 & CB2) on cells, throughout the body, where cannabinoids have various biological roles.

So, what happens when one consumes cannabis? The endocannabinoid system is being “worked” by those phytocannabinoids -one gets high from THC (et al) or, from CBD (et al), observes remission of pathological symptoms.

This is a good place to stop for now. That was a lot of information and, possibly, a lot of unfamiliar terminology. But!…

Please, stay tuned for

“CBD…, the Endocannabinoid System, and Epilepsy Treatment (part 2)”

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