Davret Syndrome

July 26, 2019

There are millions of biological processes yet despite the advances of science, some processes still generate confusion due to the mysteries that surrounds them.  Epilepsy and other neuronal diseases are diseases that we don´t know how to treat. Epilepsy can affect anyone, and people who suffer from it and their relatives will always wonder is there a cure? Before answering this question, we must inquire about the origin of this disease and what mechanism triggers the convulsions.

 

In electrophysiology, the neuronal behavior and its electrical state are studied. It is even possible to transmit the voltage of neurons into audio to investigate and understand their phase through an electrode. Thanks to these studies we know that there are two types of neurons, excitatory and inhibitory.  All neurons produce really fast potentials called action potentials. These small electrical sparks cause the production of a chemical called a neurotransmitter. When you have an excitatory neuron that produces a spark or an action potential, it causes the output of the neurotransmitter that excites specific parts of the brain. Inhibitory neurons also produce these fast electrical changes but they release the inhibitory neurotransmitter that dampens the brain activity.

 

These constant changes, ups and downs in the brain, encode the perception of our emotions and memories, as well as our motor functions formed by interactions between inhibitory and excitatory networks. But of course, not everything in the brain is normal. Unfortunately some brains have neurological disorders in which the oscillations are not synchronized.

 

Within neurological disorders, we have the epilepsy. Epilepsy is a dysfunction of the rhythms of the brain and abnormal neuronal activity.  Studying this abnormal activity, we observe different syndromes of epilepsy based upon electrical activity. During a seizure the oscillations of the neurons lose synchronization and they stop appearing normally.  They produce a constant and strong transmission similar to a scream, which exhausts them and can cause neuronal death.  The cells are hijacked by this pathology and therefore begin to play to the wrong beats.

 

When neurologists investigated neuronal behavior, it was discovered that the neurons that produce this type of disorder are not excitatory neurons but inhibitory neurons, which in an abnormal condition produce a large and constant amount of flashes. After a while, inhibitory neurons will stop producing flashes due to exhaustion and wear on the same neuron. In other words, when the excitatory cells produce an enormous amount of activity, it spreads through the brain and causes the seizure, causing damage to the brain.

 

Currently about 40 types of epilepsy are known. One of them is the Davret syndrome,  a form of epilepsy that usually occurs in one year old children. Intellectual development begins to deteriorate around their 2 years old, and affected children often lack coordination, have poor language development, hyperactivity and difficulty relating to others. It is disastrous because affected children can have more than a hundred uncontrollable seizures per week and in many cases, it cannot be treated.  Davret does not allow them to grow properly.  Due to the huge number of seizures, it does not let their brains process other activities, like growth. It is catastrophic since around 20% of these children die.

 

 

It may be surprising that these children, along with many others who suffer from autism, asperger, cancer, and more, use cannabis extracts to control their conditions and improve their lives. Medical marijuana use causes different emotions and reactions in people, but according to different medical and scientific publications, cannabis has medicinal effects on multiple diseases.

 

There are synthetic medicines that have components of cannabis and recently there has been an increase in the use of these extracts.  More importantly, in the second half of the twentieth century the endocannabinoid system was discovered. The endocannabinoid system consists of chemicals called endocannabinoids that are produced naturally and have two types of receptors, CB1 and CB2 which are distributed in our bodies. The endocannabinoid receptors 1 dominate the brain area and cause the psychoactive effect and the endocannabinoid receptors 2 are distributed mainly in the periphery and help the immune system.

 

Children with Davret syndrome control their seizures with cannabis since it was shown that it contains cannabinoids and terpenes that have medicinal properties; however, due to the stigmatization of THC, it was advised to medicate children only with CBD extracts, although it is known that it may have better results if the whole plant is consumed.

 

 

To understand this concept a little better, except in 10% of cases, THC has been confirmed as an anticonvulsant and it has other pharmacological benefits that have been documented. THC is linked to the CB1 receptor in the brain causing the psychoactive effect. On the other hand, cannabidiol is the second most prevalent cannabinoid in the plant and also has many medicinal benefits; however, it is not linked to the CB1 receptor.


We can help these children with this plant.  We can understand better their illness and we can improve their lives. We invite all readers to deepen their knowledge of these diseases. It is time to stop the cannabis stigma and start to look at alternative ways to reduce neurological disorders and to treat them.

 

 

If you want more information about this and other uses of cannabis, we invite you to read our next blog. We also invite you to participate in our seminars where you can expand your knowledge in this field. For more information visit our website www.pharmacologyunvieristy.com or write to us at info@pharmacologyuniversity.com

 

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