Medical Marijuana And Epilepsy: All You Need To Know

Can medical marijuana treat epilepsy? This is an important question that needs to be thoroughly explored by any patient or carer of a person with epilepsy. Epilepsy is a serious medical condition that can be dangerous if not properly treated. Treatment of epilepsy is complex, but there are some signs that medical marijuana may offer benefits to some epileptic patients.

It’s important for those with epilepsy to remember that proper treatment and symptom management are paramount. No treatment should ever be tried without detailed consultation with a medical professional who has expertise in epilepsy.

Is epilepsy a qualifying condition for a medical marijuana card? Is medical marijuana safe for epileptic patients? Can MMJ benefit people with epilepsy? These are all complex questions with nuanced answers. In this article, we will detail some important things you need to understand about medical marijuana and epilepsy.

 

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Image by geralt on Pixabay: Epilepsy originates in the brain.

 

What Is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder in the U.S. It is a chronic condition that affects the nervous system and can affect people of all ages. The condition is characterized by recurrent, often unprovoked, and unpredictable seizures that can vary in intensity and duration and are caused by disturbances in the electrical activity of the brain.

The History Of Epilepsy

The word ‘epilepsy’ comes from the Greek word “epilepsia”, which means “to seize”. The first mention of epilepsy from antiquity is in a Babylonian textbook from at least 2000 BC. This ancient text records several types of epileptic seizures and suggests that the cause of seizures is evil spirits.

The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (460–370 BC) was one of the first people to realize that epilepsy was a brain disorder, but his accurate view of the condition was not generally accepted until the 19th century. Throughout the intervening 2000 years, people with epilepsy were generally viewed with fear and superstition.

In the 19th century, neurology became a serious medical discipline, and as epilepsy began to be better understood as a brain condition, drugs began to be used to treat it successfully.

The Symptoms Of Epilepsy

The main symptom of epilepsy is seizures. Epileptic patients can experience a number of different types of seizures, classified as focal onset, generalized onset, or unknown onset seizures. These different types originate in different parts of the brain, have different symptoms and effects on the body, and require different types of treatment.

While seizures can affect any part of the body, they always originate in the brain. The cause of epilepsy can be a brain injury, genetic factors, family history, metabolic causes, brain structure, or, often, causes unknown.

 

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Image by dgoapb16 on Pixabay: There are several epilepsy medications available.

 

Usual Epilepsy Treatment Plans

There are several types of medicine available to treat epilepsy. For most people, one of these medicines will be effective at preventing seizures. It is crucial that an epileptic patient gets the right medicine for their version of the condition.

For around 60% of patients, the first one or two medicines they try will work. For some other patients, a third or fourth medicine, or a mixture of medicines, may do the trick. But for approximately 36% of patients, none of the medicines they try will work to fully prevent seizures.

For people who do not respond to early medicines, a process of trial and error is required, under close supervision from their doctor, neurologist, or epilepsy specialist. For these people, a combination of medicines or alternative treatments will often be the best course of treatment.

Is Epilepsy A Qualifying Condition For A Medical Marijuana Card?

The qualifying conditions for a medical marijuana card vary state by state. But in most legal MMJ states, seizures brought on by epilepsy are a qualifying condition for an MMJ card.

Can Medical Marijuana Be Effective At Treating Epilepsy?

Is medical marijuana effective for epilepsy? While it is legal to prescribe MMJ for epilepsy in most legal-MMJ states, the jury is still out on the extent to which medical marijuana can help epilepsy patients. Epilepsy is complex, and each person’s version of the condition is somewhat unique. Some treatments can do some patients more harm than good.

Medical marijuana may help some epilepsy patients. MMJ should be tried as a treatment under strict supervision and direction from a patient’s doctor. Epidiolex is a CBD-derived drug that is FDA-approved and can be an effective treatment for epilepsy. CBD and MMJ can have significant interactions with other drugs used to treat epilepsy, so caution is essential.

Some patients have been able to ween off other epilepsy medications because Epidiolex or MMJ has proven so successful a treatment for them. But this does not happen for everybody.

Treatment of epilepsy is complex and different people respond differently to various treatments, so while MMJ can be effective, it is essential that it is tried tentatively and under the strict supervision of a doctor, neurologist, or epilepsy specialist.

How To Apply For A Medical Marijuana Card

The best way to apply for a medical marijuana card is to have an online consultation with a local MMJ physician through MMJRecs. This way you can talk with a professional from the comfort of your own home and get an MMJ card recommendation quickly and easily.

The Benefits Of An MMJ Card Over Recreational Marijuana Access

Many U.S. states now allow recreational marijuana use. In these states, it is still beneficial to have a medical marijuana card, because it enables you to choose from the widest range of MMJ products possible and in many cases to purchase, possess, and cultivate larger amounts of cannabis than would be allowed for recreational use.

Featured image by CBD-Infos-com on Pixabay

How Does Medical Marijuana Treat Seizures?

If you or a family member suffers from seizures, you will know just how debilitating they can be. Seizures vary considerably in their severity, but nearly three million Americans experience them regularly in some form or other. One of the most challenging things to have to deal with is the suddenness with which seizures can come on. This lack of warning is not only potentially dangerous because you could be anywhere and doing anything when a seizure strikes, but it can also really affect your confidence, and might even prevent you from going to work or socializing as much as you would like.

Over the past few years, a lot of research has been conducted about seizures and medical marijuana. Many sufferers are looking for an answer to the question “Can MMJ help seizures?” Below, we’ll take a look at some of the research results and some of the popular strains and dosages, and advise you on how to get a medical marijuana recommendation for seizures.

Does medical cannabis treat seizures?

Research into the beneficial effects of medical marijuana in treating seizures and many other conditions has been ongoing for a number of years. It takes time and is not easy to carry out due to a number of federal regulations and various constraints, including financial ones. According to epilepsy.com, recent studies have concluded that a certain type of CBD has proved beneficial in treating some epileptic sufferers who have not previously responded to traditional medicines.

Furthermore, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a drug called Epidiolex, which is made from a plant-based form of CBD, as a treatment for people who are dealing with severe seizures – specifically, any adult or child two years of age or older diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome or Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS). Studies show that some of the participants had a startling drop in seizures after taking Epidiolex. Clearly, there is some truth in the claim that MMJ can help treat seizures, although more research is still needed.

How does medical marijuana treat seizures?

The jury is still out on the relationship between seizures and medical marijuana, and how exactly MMJ works to eliminate or reduce the number of seizures. One theory is that CBD can play a part in affecting the hippocampus, which is a hub in our brain where information is exchanged. Seizures can occur if this exchange is messed up. Another theory is that CBD can interact positively with our NMDA receptors, which play a big part in our learning and memory capacities. That’s the science bit! But basically, a lot of anecdotal evidence – as well as more and more scientific research – supports the fact that MMJ can help in reducing the number of seizures you suffer.

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Image by Julia Teichmann from Pixabay: How does medical cannabis treat seizures?

The best dosage and strains for treating seizures

If you want to know more about seizures and medical marijuana, it’s necessary to get professional advice. Your physician may recommend trying MMJ alongside your traditional medicine, or you may like to try it in place of traditional medicine to cut down on nasty side effects. Whatever you decide to try, it’s important to take the right amount and a suggested strain that is best for you. Recommended dosages for treating seizures are:

  • 16mg of CBD + 2mg of THC for small children up to teenagers;
  • 25mg daily for teenagers 15 years and above, or a weight of 100lbs or over;
  • 25mg twice daily for adults.

We do advise you to check these amounts with your physician or local medical marijuana dispensary.

The best way of ingesting MMJ for controlling seizures is via edibles, oil, or tinctures. Two recommended strains are Charlotte’s Web and White Widow. The former is definitely the most popular. Named after a little girl who had Dravet Syndrome, Charlotte’s Web was developed by Colorado-based growers specifically for her. Once Charlotte started using the specially formulated cannabis oil, the number of seizures she suffered reduced dramatically.

The second recommendation comes from The Netherlands. A hybrid containing both Sativa and Indica, White Widow is one of the most common strains of MMJ, popular for treating a number of complaints. It contains terpenes, which are known for being effective in the treatment of seizures.

MMJRecs - MMJ recommendation

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay: You can get a medical marijuana recommendation for seizures to make managing your condition a little easier.

How can I get a medical marijuana recommendation for seizures?

Seizures are one of the qualifying conditions for an MMJRecs card. Simply apply with us online for a relaxed evaluation with one of our qualified medical marijuana doctors. This consultation can take place virtually if you prefer not to travel or have a face-to-face meeting. If our expert deems that you qualify for a medical marijuana card, it will be sent to you right away so that you can start using it at your local dispensary. You will also be allowed to grow your own plants.

If you or a loved one suffers from seizures, help and relief might just be a click away. Contact us now to find out more about seizures and medical marijuana and discover if we can help make a difference in your life.

Featured image by Add Weed on Unsplash

6 Conditions That Medical Marijuana Can Treat

The ever-growing list of ailments that medical marijuana has been proven to treat seems like it’s never going to stop expanding. From menstrual cramps to bowel cancer, MMJ seems to have an ameliorative effect on just about any illness that can target a human body.

If we were to list every disease, illness or condition that could be helped by the drug, we’d be here all day. Instead, take a look at these six conditions that medical marijuana card holders across the country have seen effectively combated by MMJ.

Epilepsy

Medical marijuana is increasingly being used as a credible and effective treatment for a number of neurological conditions, particularly epilepsy. The active component of medical marijuana that is integral to fighting the symptoms of epilepsy is cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive part of the plant. The positive testimonies given by MMJ card holders with epilepsy have been mirrored by numerous studies on the potent effectiveness of the drug in its treatment.

During these scientific studies, seizures were reduced by a whopping 54% in those who had been previously unresponsive to other available treatments. Medical marijuana’s success in controlling epilepsy is often at the forefront of the argument for legalization in non-MMJ card states – a testament to its effectiveness.

Crohn’s Disease

MMJ Recs - Doctor

More doctors are seeing that MMJ helps Crohn’s disease sufferers get their appetite back, and it reduces inflammation of the intestinal tract.

Inflammatory bowel conditions, like Crohn’s Disease, are a popular qualifying ailment for a medical marijuana card. Crohn’s Disease is a chronic, painful and uncomfortable disease that affects the intestinal tract. As the disease is sadly incurable, patients with it are unfairly destined to suffer from it in some capacity for the rest of their lives. Symptoms present with Crohn’s disease include rectal bleeding, chronic diarrhea, drastic weight loss and chronic abdominal pain. Medical marijuana works to combat these symptoms in a number of ways.

Predominantly, MMJ tackles Crohn’s by significantly reducing the inflammation of the intestinal tract, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. As well as this, MMJ is the ultimate appetite booster, meaning that those with an aversion to eating when their Crohn’s flares up will get a reinvigorated hunger. Finally, medical marijuana is an unrivaled pain reliever for the unrelenting and excruciating pain that comes with Crohn’s Disease.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a long-term neurodegenerative disease that attacks the central nervous system. The onset of Parkinson’s is slow, but the results can be devastating. Unfortunately, early detection of Parkinson’s is nearly impossible, as the symptoms come on ever so slightly over a prolonged period of time. As the disease is incurable, treatment for it is based solely around making the patient as comfortable as possible. Brain surgery is of course an option, but most people don’t want the invasion and the risk that comes with it.

MMJ Recs - Medications

Medical marijuana is an alternative to medication that is know to cause nasty side effects.

There are some prescription medicines on the market, but these can come with debilitating side effects like extreme nausea and depression. Medical marijuana is an effective and kind treatment for Parkinson’s, as it comes without side effects – a dream for those on harsher meds. The tremors, jerks and pain associated with Parkinson’s disease all respond positively to MMJ treatment, enabling the patient to live a fuller, more independent life.

Multiple Sclerosis

Like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis is a devastating condition that attacks the central nervous system of the body, particularly going after the immune system. Our immune system is hardwired to fight off unwelcome bacteria that presents itself within our bodies. Unfortunately, for those of us who suffer with MS, the disease confuses our immune system, making it turn against our natural body tissue, particularly our brain and spinal cord. Symptoms of MS include numbness, slurred speech, and in more serious cases, paralysis.

As 200 new cases of MS are diagnosed in the US every week, more and more people are turning to medical marijuana cards to help treat the unrelenting disease. Most MS patients find their medication too vital to substitute it completely with medical marijuana, instead opting to use it as a way to help them deal with the symptoms of the disease. MMJ also helps with the nasty side effects that come from taking medication.

HIV

In former years, a Human Immunodeficiency Virus diagnosis would be a death sentence, stripping the patient of any prospect they had of a future.  Thankfully, with the dawn of wonderful new medicines and technologies, HIV can now be effectively controlled and the patient can live a full and happy life. As there is no known cure for HIV, patients must take measures to ensure they can live comfortably.

Consumed alongside antiretroviral medications, medical marijuana works effectively at easing and ameliorating any pain or discomfort associated with the disease, as well as tackling unwelcome side effects from prescribed drugs.

A study conducted in 2005 found that a staggering 60% of HIV patients across the country consumed medical marijuana in addition to their medication. All MMJ friendly states recognize HIV as a qualifying ailment for a medical marijuana card, so all those in need of the drug can access it with ease.

Depression

Medical marijuana has lovingly been dubbed ‘green Prozac’ by those MMJ card holders who use it to treat their depression. The plant is an effective, natural alternative to antidepressants, which can sometimes come with a whole host of nasty side effects. The reason behind MMJ’s effectiveness at treating depression has to do with a little something called endocannabinoids.

Endocannabinoids are naturally-occurring chemical compounds within our brains that regulate our emotions and behavior. When our endocannabinoid production is compromised, we’re left feeling dejected, lethargic and most of all, depressed. The chemical makeup of endocannabinoids is very similar to that of medical marijuana, meaning that when someone with depression consumes MMJ, they’re replacing the depleted endocannabinoids, thus significantly lifting their mood and restoring their emotional equilibrium.

While there’s no doubt that medical marijuana can be an effective treatment plan for any one of these conditions, it’s vitally important that you consult with your doctor before you opt to use it. If you’re unsure of your suitability for an MMJ card, they’ll be able to advise you and talk you through whether it will benefit to your condition.