Do You Suffer From Epilepsy? Learn How Cannabis Is Better!
Cannabidiol, a natural oil derived from marijuana plants, may be the key to helping millions of patients manage epilepsy. Approximately 1 out of 26 Americans have or will develop epilepsy during their lives. Seizures account for 34% of all sudden deaths in children. Still, available treatments are limited. Drug therapy is the most common choice and it involves taking anticonvulsant medications with often severe and debilitating side effects. The alternative is brain surgery, which is dangerous and expensive, with no guarantee of improvement. Many patients are turning to cannabis as a safer, more natural treatment for seizure disorders, especially in children.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring oil with powerful anticonvulsant properties and significantly less side effects than traditional pharmaceutical drugs. In fact, cannabis has been used for thousands of years to treat epilepsy and other diseases. GW Pharmaceuticals has recently developed a drug called Epidiolex, which is a purified extract of marijuana in oil form. It is currently being tested on children with treatment-resistant epilepsy. During one study, 137 children and young adults with epilepsy were put on Epidiolex for 12 weeks. They saw a 54% average decrease in seizures after just 3 months of therapy.
The evidence supporting CBD for epilepsy in children is so strong that many families are relocating to states where medical marijuana is available. Research still needs to be completed for both children and adults, but studies are limited because marijuana remains on the FDA’s Schedule 1 drug list. Schedule 1 drugs are described as having “no currently accepted medical use”. The US government still does not acknowledge that medical marijuana could be used as a treatment for disease. Until federal law changes, large-scale research cannot legally be conducted.
Adults with epilepsy could also benefit from access to medical marijuana and CBD. An estimated 440,000 soldiers who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan suffered traumatic brain injury, which could lead to a condition known as Post-Traumatic Epilepsy (PTE). They deserve to have access to medical marijuana and other cannabis-based treatments. It’s time for the FDA to change their regulations on marijuana so that the medical community can perform open, large-scale research on it’s effects and benefits.
Fortunately, individual states have passed laws allowing the use of medical marijuana and cannabidiol, so many families with sick children are getting access to the drug already. Eight-year old Charlotte Figi is one of these children. She suffers from Dravet’s Syndrome, a rare disorder which can cause hundreds of seizures per day in children. The popular strain known as Charlotte’s Web contains a low THC content, but is high in CBD, and was named after her because of her enormous improvement from cannabis-oil treatment.
Not all kids are as lucky as Charlotte. Families whose children are suffering from epilepsy are not always free to move and many parents have resorted to smuggling CBD into their home states so that their children can get the treatment they need. Epilepsy costs the US $15.5 billion dollars a year, yet the treatments available are dangerous and often ineffective. Seizure sufferers deserve hope and access to safe treatment.