People suffering from epilepsy are prescribed anti-epileptic drugs. That’s it. Done as a matter of course. These drugs can have serious side effects including depression, psychosis, coma, and death. Cannabinoids are anticonvulsant with no adverse effects. From one study:
“…the cannabimimetic…completely abolished spontaneous epileptic seizures…These data indicate not only anticonvulsant activity of exogenously applied cannabinoids but also suggest that endogenous cannabinoid tone modulates seizure termination and duration through activation of the CB1 [cannabinoid] receptor…By demonstrating a role for the endogenous cannabinoid system in regulating seizure activity, these studies define a role for the endogenous cannabinoid system in modulating neuroexcitation and suggest that plasticity of the CB1 receptor occurs with epilepsy.”
One of the newest and least understood conditions becoming more prevalent in North America, fibromyalgia is a rheumatoid condition but is not classified as an autoimmune disease.
The National Pain Foundation reports that ninety-five percent of those who use marijuana for pain of fibromyalgia found it effective–sixty-two percent of those found it VERY effective. Compare this with drugs Duloxetine, Pregabalin, and Milnacipran that the vast majority found ineffective–on average, sixty-five percent of the 1300 people who were surveyed said these do “not help at all”.
Cannabis has been used to treat pain for millennia. In modern society, it has been shown effective for glaucoma, cancer, HIV, neuropathy, and many other types of chronic pain.
5. Multiple Sclerosis
In 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Safety Announcement regarding the popular drug used for multiple sclerosis (MS), Gilenya:
“(FDA) is alerting the public that a patient in Europe diagnosed with possible multiple sclerosis (MS) has developed a rare and serious brain infection after taking the drug Gilenya (fingolimod). This is the first case of this disease, called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy or PML, reported following the administration of Gilenya to a patient who had not previously received Tysabri (natalizumab), an MS drug associated with a higher risk of PML…PML is a rare and serious brain infection caused by the John Cunningham (JC) virus that damages the fatty covering of the brain called myelin. Myelin is essential for the proper functioning of nerves in the white matter of the brain. PML usually causes death or severe disability. The JC virus is a common virus that is harmless in most people but can cause PML in people who have weakened immune systems. Some medications, including Gilenya, can weaken the immune system.”
The way this and similar MS drugs work is by blocking certain white blood cells that manifest as MS when they attack nerves. Because white blood cells are responsible for immune response at the cellular level, they become compromised when these drugs are ingested, opening the way for infection.
Studies of the effects of cannabis on people with MS have had mixed results. Cannabis does not seem to cure the condition but it sure does relieve the pain–without brain infection. In another study, cannabinoids were found to be protective of the spinal cord and to evoke anti-inflammatory response.
The more cannabis is studied, the more apparent its versatility becomes.