It was the seizures that tipped Penny off that something wasn’t right with Harper after she and her husband Dustin brought her home from the hospital as a newborn. Several months later, having tried a battery of epilepsy medications and still without a diagnosis, Penny and Dustin flew to Boston with Harper to see an expert in infant seizures. It was there they first heard of CDKL5. “This is the point where life changed significantly,” Penny said, “because now we had this diagnosis. You know, this abnormality in our family that we cannot fix.”
The ratio of THC to CBD in a product is also important. Lee said products made with CBD oil extracted from resin-rich marijuana plants rather than industrial hemp, which may have no THC at all, are more therapeutic because the two ingredients work synergistically. These oils are also purer, since fewer plants are used and less refining is necessary. However, these products are available only in states with legal weed.
As mentioned previously, while CBD-dominant products help some people sleep, in others it promotes wakefulness. Orally administered THC, especially products from heavier “Kush” strains and Purple cannabis varieties, are very effective for sleep disorders. These tend to be high in myrcene and linalool, a terpene shared with lavender and known to be effective for relaxation. Cannabis combinations with ratios of 1:1, 4:1, or 24:1 CBD:THC can be used when patients want to reduce psychoactivity.
Side effects of CBD include sleepiness, decreased appetite, diarrhea, fatigue, malaise, weakness, sleeping problems, and others. It does not have intoxicating effects like those caused by THC, and may have an opposing effect on disordered thinking and anxiety produced by THC. CBD has been found to interact with a variety of different biological targets, including cannabinoid receptors and other neurotransmitter receptors. The mechanism of action of CBD in terms of its psychoactive and therapeutic effects is not fully clear.
CBD may help reduces REM behavior disorder in people with Parkinson’s disease. REM behavior disorder is a condition that causes people to act out physically during dreaming and REM sleep. Typically, during REM, the body is largely paralyzed, a state known as REM atonia. This immobilization keeps sleepers from reacting physically to their dreams. In REM behavior disorder, this paralysis doesn’t occur, leaving people free to move—which can lead to disruptive sleep and to injuring themselves or their sleeping partners. Cannabis may also work to reduce pain and improve sleep quality in people with Parkinson’s disease.
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