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Jessica McKendrick
Human Biology
3rd year
The Highs and Lows of Cannabinoid Therapeutics: A Review of CBD Treatment of Paediatric Epilepsy
Abstract
Epilepsy is a disorder of the central nervous system recognised widely for affecting and debilitating the lives of over 50 million people worldwide (Ali et al., 2018), with a significant proportion of this demographic being children. The symptomatic seizures, acting as a hallmark for diagnosis of the disorder, result from an excess in electrical conductivity and communication between cells in the brain. With drug resistance impeding the treatment of so many paediatric patients, the current initiatives in research seek to find novel therapeutics, including looking to cannabinoids for answers. This article explores the wider literature on the research into cannabinoid (CBD) therapeutics to treat paediatric epilepsy, reviewing the successes, but also evaluating the drawbacks of this arguably controversial use of a drug group renowned for its recreational use. The results discussed in this literature review confirm the potential for CBD to reduce the frequency and severity of paediatric epileptic seizures by the way it interacts with the endocannabinoid system of the central nervous system. Additionally, studies identified in this literature review were evaluated to identify the plethora of adverse effects frequently experienced by participants by illustrating the process of the various clinical trials conducted. This movement finds itself in a position of widespread clinical approval of CBD compounds to treat paediatric epilepsy. This gives leverage for the further investigation into the exact pharmacological pathway of the drug and the potential long-term adverse effects of the CBD administration, suggested by patterns of addiction recognised in its recreational usage.
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