Can Medical Marijuana Help Epilepsy
Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disease, and there are about 3.4 million people living with this condition nationwide. Unfortunately there is no cure for epilepsy, but thankfully, medical marijuana may help keep seizures and side effects to a minimum.
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a chronic, neurological condition 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. If someone has two or more seizures without an apparent, treatable, or reversible cause, they can be diagnosed with epilepsy.
Under the umbrella of epilepsy, there are many different types 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
The most commonly prescribed treatment for epilepsy is pharmaceutical medication. Even though there is a wide variety of medications available, many patients still suffer from symptoms and side effects while on medication. Unpleasant side effects can include dizziness, sleep disturbances, skin rashes, and memory problems.
Also, roughly a third of people with epilepsy have treatment-resistant epilepsy, meaning that traditional medications do not help their condition. Without a way to manage seizures, epilepsy can be a highly debilitating disease for those affected.
Studies on medical marijuana for epilepsy treatment have shown that 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 so CBD does not seriously impact one’s mental state. Rather, CBD works with receptors in the body to impact pain, inflammation, and anxiety. Notably, CBD also functions as an anticonvulsant which is great for epilepsy patients!
A study published in The Lancet Neurology in 2015 examined the impact of CBD on treatment-resistant types of epilepsy. This study showed that CBD can reduce seizure frequency for people who have not had successful treatment with other medications.
Medical Marijuana Opens the Door for Better Epilepsy Treatment
This study opens the door for thousands of people who are living with epilepsy without any way to manage their symptoms. Researchers found minimal adverse effects related to the CBD treatment which is much better than what comes with traditional medications.
The efficacy of medicinal marijuana 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 your doctor. 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!
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