Published in full on the Examiner.
Cannabis and its derivatives have been documented for anti-epileptic effects since 1881. Today, the promise of cannabidiol (CBD) as an anti-epileptic treatment is prompting people to move to states that have safe access to medicinal products containing this compound. There are increasing reports of CBD being used by parents to treat seizure disorders in their children. This use of a cannabinoid to treat seizures is not unfounded, the ever-popular THC molecule has been studied in children with seizure disorders. The results of early cannabinoid clinical studies and anecdotal findings for epilepsy are promising.
CBD is becoming more popular than THC, because CBD appears to provide relief and does not cause a “high,” and acts on receptors that differ from those of THC. The FDA has approved a new clinical study with CBD, but it is unclear how this drug works. A molecular mechanism that completely explains the effects of CBD has not yet emerged (But as one doctor said at a recent meeting at NYU “Doctors don’t treat molecular mechanisms, they treat people”).
There are two theories that seem plausible to explain CBD’s effects. Or at least these will partially explain how CBD may be acting in the body. One theory supports a role for CBD in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a hub in the brain for the exchange of information, and epilepsy can occur when this exchange is disrupted. The other theory involves the protective effect of cannabinoids, through proteins known as NMDA receptors. NMDA receptors play a major role in memory and learning, cannabinoids may have a distinct or ‘special’ site of interaction on these