(Medical marijuana) - Refers to the use of cannabis and its constituent cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), as medical therapy to treat disease or alleviate symptoms. The Cannabis plant has a history of medicinal use dating back thousands of years across many cultures. Its usage in modern times is controversial, and in recent years the American Medical Association, the MMA, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and other medical organizations have issued statements opposing its usage for medicinal purposes. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that while cannabinoids may have potential as therapy for a number of medical conditions, they do not recommend their use until more research can be done. They call for moving cannabis from DEA Schedule 1 to DEA Schedule 2 to facilitate this research.
"Doctors and scientists have been quick to warn of the dangers of the marijuana extract because CBD use in people with epilepsy has not been clinically evaluated."
News of the positive outcomes for some children with uncontrollable epilepsy and who have been given a marijuana strain that is rich in, 'cannabidiol (CBD),' has been emerging. CBD is the major non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Parents have learned of the news and are reaching for more information and a chance for their children to attempt the treatment. At times, parents of children with epilepsy may be desperate for a solution.
Despite the fear that CBD-rich marijuana extracts may increase the risk of serious psychiatric disorders and long-term cognitive issues, it is believed the serious long-term effects that accompany the use of anti-seizure medications and a lifetime of intractable seizures simply cannot be ignored. The positive results that some people who experience epilepsy have been receiving from CBD-rich marijuana extracts are giving many parents what they have been needing for some time; hope. A number of people with severe epilepsy have tried a variety of:
Yet have received little to no relief of their symptoms. While there might be some harmful effects from CBD-rich marijuana extracts, they have to be weighed against the all-too-real challenges and dangers which constantly seizing children face each day. When a child with epilepsy has no other treatment options to pursue, CBD-rich marijuana extracts may help.
Doctors and scientists have been quick to warn of the dangers of the marijuana extract because CBD use in people with epilepsy has not been clinically evaluated. Part of the reason why is because of the tight restriction the DEA and FDA have placed on marijuana and its compounds. Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule 1 drug, the strictest level of The United States Controlled Substances Act.
The U.S. Controlled Substances Act
Under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, Schedule 1 substances are ones that have certain findings. The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse, or has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in America. Another finding is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.
The Need for Additional Research
As far as many people with epilepsy and parents of children with epilepsy are concerned, there must be more research performed on marijuana rich in CBD. There are some hurdles, but it is not impossible. There is no debate that the researchers have to jump through hoops in order to obtain access to marijuana or any chemical found in it. The lack of debate is hindering scientific advancement. Organizations and individuals are helping researchers to overcome obstacles to advance research in what is clearly an important area of pursuit.
It has been recognized that CBD and/or medical marijuana are not an answer for every child with epilepsy. Far more needs to be done to find types of treatments and a cure for all forms of epilepsy, a form of disability that affects more people than:
Combined, and yet epilepsy receives fewer federal dollars per person than each of these forms of disabilities. Researchers and parents have a level of cautious optimism that this may be a promising new treatment on the horizon for some people. The fact is, in true scientific spirit scientists would undoubtedly want to test not only pure CBD, but also high CBD/low THC cannabis, pure THC and additional types of medical marijuana in epilepsy with the goal of clearly defining the efficacy of these and other combinations on seizure control and epilepsy.
Time is not on the side of a number of children who experience unrelenting seizures. Parents; of course, are going to do anything they can to help their children - even face the unknown, because the effects of long-term and uncontrolled seizure activity are known. The effects can include intellectual disability, continued regression, or even death of the child. Safety and efficacy studies will take years to finish and perhaps rightly so. Until then, compassionate use should be something that is available to families of children or other family members who experience epilepsy.
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