In the olden days, rabies used to kill people left, right and center. Within a month of contact, the victim would slowly dwindle into a neurodegenerative death. Usually doctor would not look for ways to treat it or save the life. Any efforts were palliative.
Rabies is a virus that is passed between mammals when their fluids come into contact. The virus enters the body through the point of contact. It then slowly and progressively travels up the nerves into the central nervous system. Here it brings about inflammation of the brain. This is also called acute encephalitis. It is fatal. The patient will also suffer hydrophobia which is fear of water or moisture. This right here is a key symptom. There will also be muscle spasms. One will experience and a weird sensation like tingling on the point of entry.
Stages of the Lyssa
The incubation period is estimated to be between a week and a year. The period will be dependent upon the location of entry for the virus, like if the area is close to the CNS. The other is weight of the virus itself. You know like how potent the virus is. There are five stages from rabies infection to death. The first, obviously is incubation. The second stage is prodrome at which clinical symptoms emerge. Usually the symptoms will be non-specific and difficult to suspect rabies. The third stage is acute neurologic during which one will notice symptoms of CNS dysfunction. At this point, the Lyssavirus(rabies) can be classified as furious or paralytic. Then there is the coma then death.
As mentioned above, there are two forms of rabies. The first is very dramatic with hyperactivity followed by death within a few days. The second is paralysis which is less dramatic followed by a coma and then of course, death. In the second one, paralysis occurs as the virus travels up the synaptic junctions.
Caution and Facts
It is estimated that 99% of deaths are attributed to dogs. In America, Australia and western Europe bats are also common causes of rabies in human beings. It has been reported that rabies still causes 60,000 deaths each year. Despite the advancement in science. Despite the vaccinations available now.
As a measure to reduce the risk of rabies, one should consider vaccination of the family pets. People in high risk jobs should also consider immunisation. For example people who work in research labs with such animals. Or those who research the virus itself. After a suspected contracting of the virus, you must wash the area thoroughly with soap, water and disinfectant. One is advised to wash for at least 15 minutes. Deaths from rabies in poverty stricken areas are still prevalent. This is due to the expense related with post-exposure prophylaxis. This is medication meant to disable the virus before it reaches any further up the chain. Before it reaches the CNS.
Cannabis for Rabies: Mini History
It is said that the father of medical cannabis was the first to use cannabis to manage rabies back in 1843. His patient died but a lot was revealed as pertains to the possibilities of cannabis efficacy for rabies. He noted that the patient was able to drink juice. With the hydrophobia caused by rabies, this would be impossible. It can be hypothesised that the cannabis helped treat that symptom. The good doctor also noted a normal pulse rate, reduced spasms, less sweating and lower anxiety. Despite the death of the patient, the last moments were better. It was an effective palliative treatment in that instance. So at the very least, marijuana can be used to manage these symptoms.
Later in 1874 another person tried to use cannabis as a palliative aid for an infected boy. The boy had been exposed a month before. This means that the virus was pretty far advanced. It is reported that the boy would fall into a deep sleep after an administration of cannabis. He would later wake up with improved symptoms. After nine days he was completely recovered and exhibited no signs of brain damage from the virus. This is better explained by the Milwaukee protocol.
According to the Milwaukee protocol, the effects of the virus are worsened by brain activity. This has been proven by using pharmacological agents to induce comas after exposure to the virus. The conclusion is that if brain function is slowed down. If cerebral blood flow is slower, the immune system gains the capability to deal with the virus.
To connect this to cannabis, there have been reported cases where children have fallen into comas after ingestion or contact with the herb. Marijuana puts one in an immobile and unresponsive phase. That is, it slows down cerebral blood flow. This is especially true in children and cannabis newbies. The mini coma does not last a long time. However, that momentary break from brain activity could save a life. Unlike the pharma agents, the marijuana actually repairs any possible brain damage.
CBD for Symptoms
Studies have found CBD to be an antispasmodic and anticonvulsant. Convulsions and spasms are common in rabies infected people. They are caused by injury to the nervous system. CBD has been used effectively to treat these symptoms in other conditions like MS. The problem here is that the mechanism of CBD is unknown in either instance. The symptoms from each of the conditions happen under different circumstances.
The use of cannabis for rabies has not been widely researched. It is not clear how everything works. The evidence is very flimsy. But not so flimsy that there is no chance of viability. At the very least, cannabis can be used as an adjunctive. It can be used to strengthen the post exposure prophylaxis. To help repair whatever damage there might have been to the nerves. It is a virus afterall. There is no telling what it did
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