Medical Marijuana for those with Epilepsy
It has been known for years that marijuana is effective in alleviating the symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, chemotherapy-induced nausea, and intractable pain. Research dating back to the 1980’s found that medical cannabis could help relieve seizures in people with epilepsy.
More recently, the use of medical cannabis in children with severe forms of epilepsy has received a great deal of attention. The American public became aware of this application for cannabis when Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s documentary, “Weed,” was broadcast on CNN in August of 2013. The documentary featured the case of Charlotte Figi of Colorado, a five-year-old suffering from Dravet’s Syndrome, a treatment-resistant genetic disorder characterized by nearly constant seizures. Before beginning treatment with medical marijuana, Charlotte was having 300 grand mal seizures a week, and some were so violent that her parents did not believe she would survive. After a short time on medical marijuana, Charlotte’s seizures were reduced to two or three per month, and she was able to overcome the many developmental delays caused by her epilepsy. After the airing of “Weed,” parents of children with epilepsy throughout the U.S. began to press for access to medical marijuana. In the face of resistance from their elected representatives to pass medical marijuana laws, hundreds of desperate families have moved to Colorado and other states, where medical marijuana is available. These “medical marijuana refugees” and other families with epileptic children have joined with thousands of patients suffering from other serious, debilitating illnesses in demanding that this medicine be made legal and accessible to all who need it.
* as always please be sure to consult with a health professional to assess the risks and rewards of adding medicinal cannabis to your treatment program.