Medical Cannabis for Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders


Epilepsy is a blanket term for neurological disorders that share common symptoms like seizures. Many patients have found great relief from medical cannabis, taken either alone or with medication. Medical marijuana has provided relief for epileptics who cannot tolerate anti-seizure medications and those with drug-resistant forms.
Nov 09, 2017
Health


According to the Epilepsy Foundation, epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder in the world and it affects people of all ages and cultures.

Epilepsy is not just one condition, but a term for a spectrum of neurological disorders that share common symptoms. Seizures, the hallmark of epilepsy, occur when there’s a sudden change in the way that brain cells communicate with each other. These communication changes cause abnormal signals and temporary changes in sensations, behaviours, motor control, movement and consciousness.

Although a lot remains unclear about the causes of seizures due to epilepsy, triggers seem to include certain environmental influences, experiencing a recent brain injury, and genetics/a family history of seizures. Treatments for epilepsy always depends on the severity of symptoms and an individual’s response to different treatment approaches. Typically symptoms of epilepsy are managed through use of anti-seizure medications along with lifestyle changes, such as following a ketogenic diet.

The Epilepsy Foundation states that epilepsy is widely misunderstood by much of the public, especially the fact that “seizures and epilepsy are not the same.” A seizure is “a disruption of the electrical communication signals between neurons in the brain. It is a single neurological event affecting the nervous system”. “Epilepsy is a chronic disease that causes recurrent, unprovoked (also called reflexive) seizures”. Seizure disorder is a broader term that includes both single seizure episodes and several different types of epilepsy.

Conventional treatment for epilepsy depends on the patient’s condition and is always individualized by the patient’s team of physicians. Not every seizure or sign of epilepsy necessarily warrants treatment. What distinguishes single seizures from epilepsy is that patients with epilepsy may require chronic treatment (such as with antiepileptic medication or surgery). A single, isolated seizure is treated by identifying and managing the trigger (such as head injury or fever).  For those who do respond well to medication treatments, a number of options, including anti-seizure drugs, are now available. Most medications are taken in pill form by the mouth to help control seizures. It can be a difficult process for patients with epilepsy to learn which types of drugs (or drug combinations) work best to control symptoms, since it differs from person to person.

Anti-seizure medications pose the risk for certain side effects, which can sometimes be very problematic. These can include:*Fatigue *Dizziness *Instability *loss of coordination and confusion *Weight gain *Mood changes *Skin rashes *Speech problems

Medical Cannabis for Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders

Many patients suffering from epilepsy and other seizure disorders have found great relief from medical cannabis, either taken on its own or in conjunction with other epilepsy medications. Some epileptics who cannot tolerate other anti-seizure medications have been able to use marijuana to successfully control their seizures. Substances in marijuana called cannabinoids affect cells in the body called cannabinoid receptors. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of those substances that may affect the body in a way that helps reduce seizures. Unlike THC, which creates the “high” feeling, CBD does not cause psychoactive effects. This lack of psychoactive effects allows patients to live with fewer seizures without dealing with the high feeling if they prefer to avoid it. For example, Scientific American reported on a study involving the use of a cannabis-based drug known as Epidiolex, which is a purified oil extract containing 99 percent cannabidiol, or CBD. According to the publication, the addition of CBD helped reduce seizures in nearly 37 percent of patients, and two percent of patients reported that they were free of seizures entirely. A study at Children’s Hospital Colorado reviewed cases of paediatric patients suffering from epilepsy who received treatment using a cannabis extract – Of those patients, 57 percent saw some reduction in seizure activity. Thirty-three percent of those patients had their seizure activity reduced by 50 percent or more.

Conclusion

If you or your child are looking for relief from epilepsy or any other seizure disorder, get in touch with us. The advantage of using CBD tincture for epilepsy is the control over dosing. MCDSA endorses quality oil that is properly prepared and in compliance with pharmaceutical standards, the dosing can be very accurate for an effective treatment.



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