June 19, 2017

Treating Epilepsy with Cannabis

An estimated 3 million Americans and 65 million people worldwide currently live with epilepsy. There are around 150,000 new cases of seizures and Epilepsy that occur in the US, alone, each year.  1 in 26 people will experience a seizure or develop epilepsy in their lifetime and that's not limited to humans; pets like cats and dogs (etc.) can also develop the condition. Epilepsy is diagnosed when someone has had one or more seizures that were not brought on by a pre-existing condition.  In some cases Epilepsy may be caused by a brain injury, and spooky enough, in most cases the cause is unknown.

Epileptic seizures are triggered by a sudden and intense surge of electrical activity in the brain.  This electrical overload of activity causes a mess of disruption in the messaging system between the brain cells.  Epileptic seizures always start in the brain, and the type of seizure someone with epilepsy experiences is determined by the location in the brain the surge occurred, how it occurred, and how much of the brain was affected.  In most cases these seizures come on without warning signs, but the symptoms of epilepsy usually include short blackout spells, confusion, frequent fainting spells, body spasms and in most cases, for a short time the person seems dazed, and unable to communicate.

Anti-Epileptic drugs trigger neuron inhibition to prevent the seizure from occurring. Unfortunately, Anti-Epileptic drugs are expensive, which leaves many struggling to afford their crucial medication each month. With costs rising, the challenge for those diagnosed with epilepsy is affording the medication to manage their disease and prevent seizures. There are a variety of anti-seizure medications prescribed to treat the disease, and many of the most commonly prescribed are available in generic form. Though the generic is more affordable, in a lot of cases most people are still struggling to afford the medication they need to prevent seizures. The cost is high, regardless; in most cases it is still over $100 per month for those that have insurance or, in the worst case scenario, are uninsured and pay way more money out-of-pocket.  These medications are a basic necessity for people diagnosed with epilepsy. Though the majority of epileptic seizures are controlled by medication, particularly anticonvulsant drugs, the type of treatment prescribed will depend on several factors, including the frequency and severity of the seizures and the person's age, overall health, and medical history.

Thankfully, there are other methods of treatment which are less expensive and foreign to your body's natural chemistry, those treatments involve the use CBD, which is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is derived from the cannabis plant. Recently, epilepsy and cannabis have been highlighted in the news, especially success stories focusing on children (34% of childhood deaths are due to epilepsy) who are trying medicinal cannabis (specifically, non-psychoactive CBD) to treat their seizures; a notable case being Charlotte Figi and the high CBD strain Charlotte's Web which is a cannabis strain named after the little girl and her successful story of using CBD to help her problematic seizures. These type of inspiring stories help illuminate the power of cannabis for medical use, while defining its range of treatment from the elderly to the young. The capabilities of CBD are vast and there are a growing number of people turning to the supplement to help with pain, to depression and even cancer.

Some specific high CBD strains include but aren't limited to the following:

·Charlotte's Web- easily the most famous cannabis strain for the treatment of seizures. This strain has tests out at less than one percent THC , and is high in CBD which means that smoking it will not have a psychoactive effect (will not get you "stoned") and is recommended if you need treatment for epilepsy and epilepsy only – only a few users report that it helps with pain management.

·White Widow-  a famous strain known for producing creative, relaxing, and euphoric feelings; useful for treating appetite loss, insomnia, pain, and stress caused by frequent epileptic episodes. The White Widow may be popular among recreational users, but its medicinal and therapeutic benefits also give it hype.

·G.O.A.T.- a hybrid strain that crosses Animal Pie and ACDC. This CBD strain won't do much to your mental state but it will help you with any pain and discomfort you might be experiencing. G.O.A.T. is as flavorful as it is potent; with a 1:1 ratio of CBD:THC, this hybrid is preferred by patients treating pain, multiple sclerosis, cancer and other ailments.

Though cannabis doesn't completely cure epilepsy, neither does the prescribed medication; which one would you rather ingest? Something natural with no negative side effects, or something synthetic with a list of potential negative effects it may have on your health? We're gonna stick with what we know, and that's cannabis.