Benefit of Legalization of Marijuana and Dravet Syndrome

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The legalization of marijuana is one of the issues that have led to the development of debates in the society. While some of the individuals question the basis of passing a law that permits its consumption amongst individuals, there are a lot more positive health results that could be obtained from the substance when it is positively utilized. Research identifies that the legalization of marijuana is one of the issues that has received public support like never before, as well as it has promoted much research on its ability to alleviate human suffering. Marijuana is a drug like any other, which alters the normal functioning of the body systems. It is obtained from a plant that is known as Cannabis sativa, and the drug is mainly taken into the body through smoking.  Newer techniques have been developed to enhance its intake such as through its addition in some human foods such as cookies, candies, and brownies and vaporized forms. The popularity of the drug in the world has increased, and currently, it is the most consumed drug in the United States of America. Many states in America are going for the same, with the primary reasoning behind the action is that the substance is highly essential for health and recreational purposes. One of the health conditions that the drug helps deal with is the Dravet syndrome. The disease is a complex epilepsy disorder that occurs in children and is associated with high mortality rates and drug-resistant seizures (Devinsky, Cross, Laux, Marsh, Miller, Nabbout, & Wright, 2017). This paper focuses on supporting the legalization of marijuana on medical grounds such as in the Dravet syndrome. 

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Seizures are one of the most challenging conditions that children experience especially when the patients have the Dravet syndrome. Research has identified that 25% of the children having the situation die by the age of 20. Children having the disease are likely to experience delayed development, movement and balance abnormalities, sleep disorders, delayed language development, sleep disorders, etc. The seizures have been identified to be associated with fever or high temperatures, and the condition begins when the individuals are of about six months old. However, different children exhibit the condition differently, and hence there could be variations. The disease is as a result of gene mutations in the SCN1A gene that results in a premature stop codon and thus a non-functional protein. Various forms of treatments could be used on Dravet syndrome patients, and research identifies that the procedures may vary from one patient to the other. Drugs such as clobazam, topiramate, and valproate are used in the treatment of the condition. However, studies have shown that there is no particular FDA-approved treatment for the Dravet syndrome. The mentioned drugs do not guarantee the termination of the condition. Nonetheless, the consumption of cannabis has been approved by medical personnel through research to produce extremely positive results on patients. However, the use of marijuana has been recommended by medical staff through research to produce extremely positive effects on patients. The increased usage of the drug has sparked the development of numerous research to be conducted on the mechanism of the drug on the human body. Most of the studies have successfully indicated that the substance could be used to treat epileptic conditions. The approval of the drug, for medicinal purposes, has been a favorite move that has led to the legalization of the drug in numerous parts of America (Perucca, 2017). 

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Cannabis has been identified through research to have medicinal effects on children having the Dravet syndrome. The ability of the drug to cure the genetic mutation is one of the many ways in which the drug is essential to the human lives, a more reason to support the legalization of the drug. Research conducted by Devinsky et al., (2017) identifies that the drug’s dominance over other types of medications used in the treatment of the condition is that it can assist children with a drug-resistant Dravet syndrome more effectively. But one of the principal reasons that give cannabis the upper hand is that it has lesser adverse side effects as compared to the other anti-epileptic drugs. The use of marijuana in the treatment of the condition has few side effects such as diarrhea, fatigue, and fever. Individuals have argued out one of the probable reasons why marijuana lacks the extremes side effects such as of those drugs is because it is a natural product. More and more research on the product needs to be conducted to ensure that children with the Dravet system do not experience far more negative effects that threaten their lives. Its importance has however been identified to supersede its adverse effects on the young individuals. Some of the approved harmful effects of the condition among young children include addiction liability, cognitive and motor impairment, an intoxication of the cardiovascular system, etc. (Perucca, 2017). Additionally, there are high chances that the drug could do more damage to the brains of the children since they are more vulnerable to the adverse side effects of the drug. The effects are long term or short term. It is recommended that the medications are taken under the keen observation of a medical practitioner. The legalization of marijuana will significantly help in reducing seizures among Dravet syndrome patients.

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An understanding of the mechanism of action of the drug is essential, in cementing the idea that marijuana is a suitable drug for treating the Dravet syndrome among children. According to Kolikonda, Kavitha Srinivasan, Sagi, & Lippmann (2016), the human body has two primary cannabinoid receptors namely the CB1 and the CB2. The receptors have been identified to be in high amounts at specific positions of the body such as the hypothalamus, neocortex, basal ganglia, etc. The CB1 receptors, to a lesser extent, have been identified through research to be found in the dorsal horns, immune cells, and the periaqueductal gray. The CB2 receptor plays an in important role in enhancing the immune system when it is activated, and they can influence immunosuppression and inflammation (Fasinu, Phillips, ElSohly, & Walker, 2016). The seizures present in the children affect the expression of the CB1 protein as well as the endocannabinoid system. The result is that there is an increase in the expression of the CB1 receptors, and this is identified to be the mechanism for the control of epilepsy. Despite the legalization of the product in American markets, it is essential that only the medical marijuana is used in the treatment of the Dravet syndrome. Kolikonda et al. (2016) identify that marijuana has two active components, i.e., the THC and the cannabidiol. The two elements produce different functionalities when they interact with the cannabinoid receptors (Koubeissi, 2017). THC has psychoactive effects while the cannabidiol is responsible for the reduction of seizures, anxiety, psychotic symptoms, nausea, inflammation, etc. The approved marijuana used in the treatment of medical conditions has low THC and a high cannabidiol content, while the other form of marijuana has a high THC and a low cannabidiol content. Hence, there is a reduced chance that the legalization of the substance will have extremely adverse effects on the young patients. 

In conclusion, the legalization of marijuana is a move that will serve to save the lives of our children. With the government lifting bans on the sale of the drug, there are high chances that the high mortality rates being experienced as a result of the Dravet syndrome will be highly reduced. The move will additionally make the drug affordable. The legalization of the drug has come with the development of many debates concerning the correctness of making such a decision.  One of the primary reasons that have led to increased support in the general public concerning allowing the consumption of the drug is the fact that it has medicinal functions. The move has led to an increase in the number of states in America that have allowed the sale and consumption of the product. However, there is the need that individuals are well informed of the adverse effects of the abuse of the drug. Abuse of the drug results in addiction problems, hallucinations, breathing complications, etc. which would further put the society at risk of more problems. More and more research needs to be conducted to ensure that marijuana is seen from the positive side rather than its dark side. Further, more research will enhance the discovery of other medicinal functions that the substance.  

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  1. Devinsky, O., Cross, J. H., Laux, L., Marsh, E., Miller, I., Nabbout, R., … & Wright, S. (2017).
  2. Trial of cannabidiol for drug-resistant seizures in the Dravet syndrome. New England
  3. Journal of Medicine, 376(21), 2011-2020.
  4. Fasinu, P. S., Phillips, S., ElSohly, M. A., & Walker, L. A. (2016). Current status and prospects for cannabidiol preparations as new therapeutic agents. Pharmacotherapy: The Journal of
  5. Human Pharmacology and Drug Therapy, 36(7), 781-796.
  6. Kolikonda, M. K., Kavitha Srinivasan, M. E., Sagi, V., & Lippmann, S. (2016). Medical marijuana for epilepsy?. Innovations in clinical neuroscience, 13(3-4), 23.
  7. Koubeissi, M. (2017). Anticonvulsant Effects of Cannabidiol in Dravet Syndrome. Epilepsy\ currents, 17(5), 281-282.
  8. Perucca, E. (2017). Cannabinoids in the Treatment of Epilepsy: Hard Evidence at Last?. Journalof epilepsy research, 7(2), 61.
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