Epilepsy and Medical Cannabis
Treating Epilepsy With Medical Cannabis
Medical cannabis has recently come to the forefront of the American public conscious, in large part, due to a CNN documentary series called “Weed” starring acclaimed neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta. What seemed to captivate audiences most was the dramatic reduction in seizures seen in children previously handicapped by the condition, after ingesting cannabis extracts containing high levels of CBD (non-psychoactive cannabinoid). The Colorado clinic where these incredible results were taking place was owned and operated by our founder Josh Stanley, who pioneered this revolutionary approach.
It was this experience that inspired Josh to truly understand the medical properties of cannabinoids. It led him to shift his strategy from the therapeutic supplemental approach to a true medical model. He knew that to increase access and gain acceptance for this important medicine he needed to partner with a medical team and do the hard work of creating standardized treatment.
A recent medical study by Bonni Goldstein, MD on the treatment of Epilepsy with medical cannabis can be found here: Cannabis in the Treatment of Pediatric Epilepsy
What causes epileptic seizures?
Seizures can be triggered by a variety of factors such as alcohol use, heart disease, and hypoglycemia. They may also be caused by brain damage or a family history of seizures. If multiple seizures occur without an identifiable cause, they are considered to be epilepsy.
Epilepsy comprises a number of related neurological conditions. Epilepsy itself is an umbrella term consisting of a number of types of seizures. Many epileptics can keep their condition under control through the use of medication, but for some the condition is treatment-resistant. They require increasingly larger doses or a wider variety of medications to keep their seizures under control.
Epileptic seizures cause symptoms by disrupting normal brain activity. The symptoms of the various types of seizures are:
- Abnormal vocal sounds
- Body stiffening lasting up to one minute
- Repetitive arm and leg movements
- Uncontrollable urination
- Difficulty breathing that may result in the face turning blue
After a seizure, there may be a slow return to consciousness lasting from a few minutes to a few hours.
Types of Seizures
Partial or Focal Seizures — This type of seizure does not involve the entire brain, but only results in parts of the body being affected. The symptoms that result are based upon which specific part of the brain is involved.
For example, the hand may be the only body part affected if the part of the brain controlling the hand is disrupted. If other parts of the brain are affected, a feeling of stomach fullness or lip smacking may result.
Partial seizures may result in the person appearing stunned or confused, which may mean a complex partial seizure was the cause. The word “complex” in this context is used by doctors to indicate a person who is halfway between being conscious and unconscious.
Absence or Petit Mal Seizures
Some characteristics of absence of petit mal seizures are:
- Most often occur during adolescence
- Typified by staring because of reduced consciousness
- Repetitive actions such as blinking
Most seizures last only a few seconds; however, several of them may occur within a single day. The type of seizure and its location in the brain determines what symptoms will occur. Epileptics usually experience only one type of seizure, with a similar set of symptoms displayed during each occurrence.