As the public perception of cannabis (‘marijuana’) evolves and laws in many states follow, researchers are once again studying the drug for its potential medicinal benefits. Among the possible conditions alleviated by cannabis compounds is epilepsy, the subject of a new study from the University of Sydney’s Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics.
Though CBD is the most popular cannabinoid for medicinal purposes, the new study has found that a different, rarer cannabinoid called CBGA is more effective for preventing seizures in people who have epilepsy. The researchers call CBGA the “mother of cannabinoids” because it is a precursor for the more popularly known compounds THC and CBD.
Cannabis, also sometimes referred to as marijuana, contains many compounds called cannabinoids that have different effects on the body. THC, for example, is the cannabinoid behind the ‘high’ associated with the plant, while the cannabinoid CBD doesn’t get a person high, but does offer other effects for some users. When it comes to controlling seizures, the researchers say CBGA is more powerful than CBD.
The benefit was observed in mice used as a model for Dravet syndrome that experienced febrile events. That’s an important thing to note, as CBGA has proconvulsant effects when used for other types of seizures. Dravet syndrome is a rare type of epilepsy that is resistant to the drugs commonly prescribed to control the disorder.
The research will, hopefully, help bring about a more effective way to treat Dravet syndrome using cannabinoids. The work thus far has looked into the cannabinoids individually, but the researchers say they will also start looking into the effects that occur when they’re brought back together. The researchers note it is possible (but not yet confirmed) that cannabinoids may offer more benefits when taken together.