There are numerous medical conditions that involve the nervous system. These include things such as parkinsons disease, multiple sclerosis, down syndrome, autism, epilepsy, and others. Out of all the neurological medical conditions, epilepsy is the most common effecting 50 million people worldwide, of which 30% are not controlled by any medical treatment. (1) This is where research concerning different forms of treatment comes in. Current research shows there being numerous targets that may be used to control seizures. These other areas concerning the treatment of epilepsy are not fully understood, Here we will look at the target of neuropeptides and seizure control, as well as it’s relationship with cannabis and how it could affect different factors involved in seizures.
What is a neuropeptide ?
Neuropeptides are peptides which are parts of proteins, as well as neurons that play an important role in the function of the nervous system. Neurons make up the connection between cells or what is called a synapse. This is where the main part of a seizure occurs. Peptides are part of what makes up a protein within the body. When these are combined, they make up what is known as a neuropeptide, which plays a key role in the activity of the nervous system. Their formation of also concerns protein receptors neurons acts on. They are found to regulate seizures by rectifying any imbalance in neuronal firing which seems promising concerning research into new medications for this condition (1).
Relationship between neuropeptides and occurrence of seizures
The condition of epilepsy or seizures concerns the irregular communication between neurons or neurotransmitters within the brain. This concerns the frequency of firing of neurons. The firing between the neurons occur in what are called synapses and have to do with positive and negative charges. This occurs through either what are known as axons or dendrites in the neuron. Axons are responsible for the exiting of a charge outside the neuron from within, while dendrites control a charge entering the neuron. A misfiring of these neurons could be compared to the occurrence of a thunderstorm with there being an uneven discharge of lightning causing an unbalanced system. There are numerous neuropeptide receptors that effect epilepsy and seizures, They are considered to be possible modulators that influence the over excitation that occurs during a seizure (2). There are even neuropeptides that concern the occurrence of stress in which there are many forms that have been shown to be triggers of a seizure occurring. This may mean that decreasing any type of stress may assist in the decrease in the frequency or duration of seizures occurring (3). These are only some factors involving neuropeptides and their possible use as a therapy for epilepsy and seizures.
Forms of treatment
There are numerous neuropeptides that exist. With this comes different factors that should be looked at concerning its possible effectiveness. The majority of general medications are in the form of pills, but for some conditions, other forms of treatment can be used. This includes things such as asthma where an inhaler is used, diabetes where an injection of insulin may be needed, as well as epilepsy where a scanning device can be used to decrease or prevent a possible seizure from occurring. When looking at using CBD or other forms of treatment for epilepsy, an inhaler has been looked at in some cases, showing possible promising effects in seizure treatment. Specific neuropeptides or hormones show promising effects in animals due to a rapid release of the content, and different areas have been looked at concerning its effectiveness in using it on humans (5).
In many cases, specific neuropeptides and neurotrophic factors such as inter neurons, and receptors may play a role in seizure occurrence. Inter neurons are within the neuron, while the receptors of the neuron are on the outside and concern the acceptance or rejection of proteins within the system. There are a number of different protein receptors and their role in the control of epilepsy that have been looked at. Many are known to have an effect on seizure threshold (4),(7),(8), as well as the balance between neurons (6), both of which are factors in seizure control. When looking at this area, there are many other receptors and peptides that have not been explored, leaving more research to be done. This research seems promising concerning new forms of therapy and treatments for epilepsy and other conditions but many other things should be looked at to get a total understanding of how it works.
Cannabinoids & Neuropeptides
Cannabinoids are a part of the cannabis plant and interact in some ways with neuropeptides. With neuropeptides having been shown to possibly play a role in the occurrence and control of seizures, cannabis effects these neuropeptides which would assist in any decrease in the frequency or intensity of seizures seen. Cannabinoids have been shown to have protective properties on things such as alzheimers, parkinsons, huntingtons, epilepsy, and other conditions. One way this may occur is through the relationship between cannabis and the neuropeptide leptin, indicating a therapeutic potential for any of the previously mentioned conditions. (10) It has been shown for cannabis to have anti inflammatory properties, being able to inhibit synapse transmission and decrease inflammation through inhibiting specific neuronal firing as well (9). Being able to control neuronal firing is the key factor in the control of seizures occurring, These are just some examples of how cannabis or cannabinoids along with neuropeptides may assist in controlling seizure frequency and duration.
There are numerous targets that have been looked at when considering new treatments for epilepsy and seizures since many medications have no effect on patients. There is still much research that needs to be done concerning these targets. Neuropeptides are just one of these targets of which there are numerous ones to be looked at. This concerns the neuropeptide and specifically the receptors since this is the key factor when looking at the firing of neurons and occurrence of seizures. From the research that has been done, the target of neuropeptides and their relationship with the occurrence of seizures, cannabis, and how they may work at controlling seizures seems to be a promising new form of treatment concerning the use of cannabis.