WHAT ARE CANNABINOIDS AND HOW DO THEY WORK?
Cannabinoids are a class of drugs that are mainly used for alleviating pain and inflammation. The Food and Drug Administration has approved cannabinoids for the treatment of epilepsy. The exact mechanism as to how cannabinoids work as anticonvulsants is unknown. Studies have shown various mechanisms by which cannabinoids act against epilepsy seizures. Cannabinoids have two main constituents:
- Tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound responsible for the "high" associated with marijuana
- Cannabidiol (CBD), the compound that does not cause a "high" (psychoactive)
Researchers have been focusing more on CBD as an anticonvulsant as it does not cause other psychoactive effects. Many studies have shown that the following actions of CBD may probably exert anticonvulsant effects:
Apart from these mechanisms, CBD may also have another mechanism of action beneficial for anticonvulsant properties.
- Enhancing the action of a neurotransmitter gamma amino-butyric acid (GABA): Neurotransmitters are chemicals that nerves release to communicate with other nearby nerves. GABA, a major inhibitory neurotransmitter, inhibits the activity of nerves that would initiate the seizure.
- Helping in the maintenance of calcium ions in the blood plasma: The deficiency of calcium ions in the blood may lead to a seizure.
- Promoting the uptake of adenosine in the brain: Adenosine is a naturally occurring compound in the body that acts as an anticonvulsant. Besides, they also protect the nerves in the brain. Inadequate uptake of adenosine by the brain may cause seizures.
HOW ARE CANNABINOIDS USED?
Besides treating epilepsy, cannabinoids are also used to treat:
- Parkinson's disease
- Huntington disease (an inherited condition in which nerve cells in the brain break down over time)
- Bipolar disorder
- Posttraumatic stress disorder
- Smoking cessation
- Fibromyalgia (widespread pain, tenderness, and stiffness in the muscles and connective tissues)
- Endometriosis (a condition where the tissue lining the uterus grows outside the uterus)
- Glaucoma (abnormally high pressure in your eye)
- Crohn's disease (inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract)
WHAT ARE SIDE EFFECTS OF CANNABINOIDS?
Some of the common side effects of cannabinoids include:
Some of the rare side effects include:
The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible side effects, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure these drugs do not cause any harm when you take them along with other medicines. Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.
WHAT ARE DRUG NAMES OF CANNABINOIDS?
Drug names include: