After discussing why I don’t believe that CBD is effective, the damage that could be done by recommending cannabidiol – better known as “CBD” – for patients has become more evident to me. Watch the video above to see a patient agreeing with me that CBD may have exacerbated a severe status epilepticus requiring emergent tracheotomy. If this is indeed true, then medical marijuana patients with epilepsy from all around the country need to be informed of the potential danger of CBD use and its blocking of the real active ingredient that is controlling their seizures: THC.
Why CBD Could Trigger Status Epilepticus
Status epilepticus is what we call a seizure that lasts longer than 3-5 minutes. This is usually when long-term damage occurs to the seizing neurons involved in the event. THC works by lowering the amount of cyclic-AMP (cAMP) within these neurons, thus increasing the threshold required to create a neurological discharge (also known as an “Action Potential”). THC does this by binding the Cannabis 1 receptor (CB1) like a lock and key.
Cannabidiol is NOT a cannabis receptor activator, the way THC is. This might surprise you, but CBD is actually a functional blocker of the CBD1 receptor. We call this an “antagonist” because it prevents a receptor from becoming activated and doing its job. In the presence of THC, it prevents THC from binding and activating the receptor by being in the way. This means it could cause someone’s seizure threshold to drop and stop the therapeutic effect of cannabis and possibly endocannabinoids – the cannabinoids naturally inside our bodies.
When Danger Strikes – Education and Public Awareness Critical
Around the country, dispensaries are recommending CBD to patients with epilepsy because of studies and anecdotal reports claiming benefits as a seizure treatment. What happens when patients try a high-CBD (low-THC) strain must be understood by everyone involved. The change in medication has the appearance of a simple adjustment – one cannabis strain for another, like any other visit to the medical marijuana dispensary. However, recommendations to try a non-psychoactive strain are not made by a medical doctor. The drastic stop to THC that occurs when a high-CBD strain is substituted for the usual high-THC status quo variety is the equivalent of discontinuation of the patient’s anti-epileptic drug and starting a new drug that blocks the binding of the previous drug.
As anyone can imagine, this could have disastrous effects for seizure patients. THC has had the most profound anti-epileptic properties in all of my patients and suggesting to any of them that CBD, rather than THC, is the correct treatment is wrong on so many levels. To prevent that from happening, I recommend we all share this information with others so seizure patients across the globe will reconsider changing to a high-CBD strain that lacks the THC they depend on.