Find out why some patients consume cannabis for epilepsy. Learn what epilepsy is and how cannabis helps patients with epilepsy.
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is one of the most common disorders of the nervous system and can affect anyone during any point in their life.
Today, over 2 million Americans live with epilepsy and 1 in every 26 people will develop it in their lifetime, making it much more common than most people might think.
The primary treatments for people with epilepsy are pharmaceutical medications. Most of which often have a long list of negative side effects. In more drastic cases brain surgery may be suggested. Unfortunately, about 30% of people diagnosed with epilepsy do not find relief through these methods.
Does Cannabis Work For Epilepsy?
Luckily, cannabis is showing promise for treating the symptoms of epilepsy. There is a great deal of anecdotal evidence from patients, and even a few clinical trials, regarding the effectiveness of cannabis for epilepsy. So far, cannabis seems to help reduce the frequency and duration of seizures. It provides a better quality of life for patients living with the condition.
In fact, after many years of research focused on CBD and epilepsy, the FDA approved the very first plant-based cannabis medication to treat epilepsy. Epidiolex was approved in June of 2018. Epidiolex is a cannabis extract of pure CBD.
Cannabinoids and Epilepsy
Remember, cannabinoids like CBD work within our endocannabinoid system to regulate homeostasis in our bodies. They have been patented by the United States as a neuroprotectant. This means they help protect brain cells. Although CBD has been the primary focus for treating epilepsy and other seizure conditions it’s not alone. CBD is only one of hundreds of cannabinoids found in the cannabis.
Medical Cannabis and Epilepsy
Epilepsy is an approved qualifying condition for a medical cannabis patient card in most states, including Missouri. The approval of Epidiolex helped cement the therapeutic use of cannabis for epilepsy. It also helped convince key supporting organizations, like The Epilepsy Foundation, to change their stance on using it for treatment.
Cannabis and The Epilepsy Foundation
The Epilepsy Foundation was founded in 1968. It is a national non-profit dedicated to the welfare of people with epilepsy and seizure disorders. They now support exploring and advocating for medical cannabis as a potential treatment option for the condition.
They recommend “anyone exploring any treatment for their epilepsy, as permitted under their state law, to work with their treating physician to make the best decisions for their own care.”
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