How Medical Marijuana Can Help Epilepsy
Does Epilepsy and Other Seizure Disorders Qualify for Medical Marijuana?
Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disease, and there are about 3.4 million people living with this disease nationwide. Despite its prevalence, and the serious impediment it can cause in the lives of people with the disease, there has yet to be a cure. Thankfully, there are ways to manage the condition and keep seizures and side effects to a minimum. One such treatment is medical marijuana, which is now available in Pennsylvania.
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a chronic, neurological disease that causes recurrent seizures. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, an estimated 65 million people worldwide are living with the condition, and 1 in 26 people in the United States will develop epilepsy at some point in their lives. Someone is diagnosed with epilepsy if they have two or more seizures without an apparent, treatable or reversible cause.
Under the umbrella of epilepsy, someone may experience many different kinds of seizures. The two major categories of seizures are generalized seizures, which affect both sides of the brain, and focal seizures, which start in one specific area of the brain.
How Medical Marijuana Can Help Epilepsy and Other Seizure Disorders
Currently, the most widely prescribed treatment for epilepsy is pharmaceutical medication. Despite the wide variety of medications available, many patients still suffer from symptoms.. By some estimates, roughly a third of people with epilepsy have treatment-resistant types of the disease, meaning that traditional medications do not help their condition. Without a way to manage seizures, epilepsy becomes a highly debilitating disease.
For those that choose to treat their epilepsy with medication, they often face unpleasant side effects such as dizziness, sleep disturbances, skin rashes, memory problems and more.
Medical marijuana for epilepsy treatment has been studied for years. Specifically, cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive component of marijuana, is effective at controlling and reducing occurrence of seizures. Cannabidiol (CBD) will not produce the “high” that many people associate with marijuana. As a non-psychoactive substance, CBD does not seriously impact one’s mental state. Rather, it works with receptors in the body to impact things such as pain, inflammation, and anxiety. Notably, CBD also functions as an anticonvulsant.
A study published in The Lancet Neurology in 2015 examined the impact of CBD on treatment-resistant types of epilepsy, and found that CBD reduces seizure frequency for people who have not been successfully treated with other medication. The fact that CBD has been proven effective for treatment-resistant types of epilepsy opens the door for thousands of people who previously were living with epilepsy without any way to manage their symptoms. Researchers found minimal adverse effects related to the CBD treatment.
The efficacy of cannabis for treating epilepsy is promising. If you or someone you love is living with epilepsy and is interested in the benefits of CBD, discuss medical marijuana with a medical professional. If you would like to learn more about medical marijuana and take the first step towards treating epilepsy with CBD, please reach out. We’re here to help!
If you are a Pennsylvania resident suffering from a medical condition you think may benefit cannabis, you're likely eligible for medical marijuana treatment.
To learn more about the medical marijuana process or schedule an appointment, give us a call today at (855) 607-5458 or book your evaluation online.