Glaucoma represents several optic neuropathies leading to irreversible blindness through progressive retinal ganglion cell (RGC) loss. Reduction of intraocular pressure (IOP) is known as the only modifiable factor in the treatment of this disorder. Application of exogenous cannabinoids to lower IOP has attracted attention of scientists as potential agents for the treatment of glaucoma.
The marijuana plant Cannabis sativa and its derivatives, cannabinoids, have grown increasingly popular as a potential therapy for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Cannabis use should be reserved for symptomatic control in patients with severe IBD refractory to the currently available standard-of-care and complementary and alternative medicines.
“Cannabinoid” is the collective term for a group of chemical compounds that either are derived from the Cannabis plant, are synthetic analogues, or occur endogenously. Although cannabinoids interact mostly at the level of the currently recognized cannabinoid receptors, they might have cross reactivity, such as at opioid receptors. The use of cannabinoid therapies could be effective in improving quality of life and possibly modifying malignancy by virtue of direct effects and in improving compliance or adherence with disease-modulating treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Canada has the highest incidence of MS worldwide. Anecdotal evidence reveals that people with MS smoke, ingest or vaporize cannabis for a multiplicity of reasons. With the legal situation in relation to use currently in flux, we undertook a study investigating patterns of use amongst people with MS and their attitudes towards the drug. There is a wide acceptance of cannabis within the MS patient community.
Cannabis has been associated with the treatment of epilepsy throughout history, and if ancient Assyrian sources referring to “hand of ghost” are considered credible, this relationship may span four millennia. A tradition of usage continued in Arabic medicine and Ayurvedic practice in India, which led, in turn, to early experiments in Europe and North America with “Indian hemp.” Lack of standardization, bioavailability issues, and ultimately prohibition were all factors in cannabis-based medicines failing to maintain mainstream usage in seizure treatment, but investigation was resumed in the 1970s with interesting signals noted in both laboratory and clinical settings. Early case studies showed promise, but lacked sufficient rigor.
Parkinson’s disease (PD), a neurodegenerative disorder, is the second most common neurological illness in United States. Neurologically, it is characterized by the selective degeneration of a unique population of cells, the nigrostriatal dopamine neurons. Cannabis and related compounds have created significant research interest as a promising therapy in neurodegenerative and movement disorders.
Legalization of cannabis’ medicinal use is rapidly increasing worldwide, raising the need to evaluate medical implications of cannabis. Due to the supporting evidence of cannabinoids as an immune-modulating agent, research focusing on cannabinoids and autoimmunity has emerged. Several clinical trials in multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and fibromyalgia suggest cannabis’ effectiveness as an immune-modulator.
An Australian nationwide survey on medicinal cannabis use for epilepsy: History of antiepileptic drug treatment predicts medicinal cannabis use
Epilepsy Action Australia conducted an Australian nationwide online survey seeking opinions on and experiences with the use of cannabis-based products for the treatment of epilepsy. The survey was promoted via the Epilepsy Action Australia’s main website, on their Facebook page, and by word of mouth. The main reasons for medicinal cannabis use were to manage treatment-resistant epilepsy and to obtain a more favorable side-effect profile compared to standard antiepileptic drugs.
Marijuana is a substance with a long and controversial history. At different times in its history, which goes back over 5,000 years, this plant has been used for different purposes, ranging from recreational and leisure to its use in the treatment of several diseases or to offer relief in processes that entail a certain type of malaise, and including its consideration as a means of relaxation and meditation.
The use of cannabis products in the treatment of epilepsy has long been of interest to researchers and clinicians alike; however, until recently very little published data were available to support its use. As cannabinoids and cannabis-based products are studied for efficacy as anticonvulsants, more investigation is needed regarding the specific targets of action, optimal drug delivery, and potential drug-drug interactions. This article is part of a Special Issue titled Cannabinoids and Epilepsy.