How Marijuana Helps Patients with Epilepsy

May 3, 2018 06:18 pm ET
How Marijuana Helps Patients with Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a chronic disorder in which people who suffer from it have recurring, unprovoked seizures. The causes of epilepsy can be because of a brain injury or family tendency, but what often causes this disorder is still unknown. People who have epilepsy have more than one type of seizures, and they may also experience other kinds of neurological problems. The symptoms of a seizure can affect any part of the body, but the events occur because of the brain. Seizures can change the daily life of a person, like driving, working, personal relationships, etc.

Both recent and old studies have shown positive evidence of a cannabis treatment with people suffering from epilepsy. It helps controlling seizures, especially with certain conditions like Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) in children and adults and Dravet syndrome in children, which are more difficult to treat with regular medications. Epilepsy medications are not easy to find, and many families are looking for alternative medicine to treat their beloved ones.

Although medical marijuana is legalized in 29 states in the U.S., epilepsy is not in all lists of qualifying conditions, while other countries like Mississippi only allow patients with epilepsy to have access to medical marijuana. What is known is that many people get to have their lives changed when choosing to treat their or their children’s epilepsy with medical marijuana.

Gail Rand, a concerned Annapolis mother, played an essential role in the bill to expand Maryland’s medical marijuana law. Her son Logan was only 4 years old in 2014, and he used to suffer up to 10 seizures a day because of epilepsy. Looking for the right of her son to have another treatment for his disorder, Rand was the voice of many parents with kids suffering from epilepsy on the General Assembly Sessions.

She successfully lobbied members of Md. Legislature to change the law. By talking about her personal experience, legislators could have another point of view, and her struggle with her kid was something that legislators could no look away. With the new laws, people in Maryland now have the alternative of choosing whether they would like to use medical marijuana for treating epilepsy or not.

It is not only Gail Rand, but all around the U.S., we see many parents fighting for the use of cannabidiol for their children, like Kate Hintz, the mother of Morgan Hintz, a 4-year-old who suffers from a form of epilepsy. Hintz is the director of Compassionate Care New York, a statewide coalition of a group of people who advocates for medical marijuana patients.

Janea Cox, the mother of a five-year-old girl called Haleigh Cox who suffers from seizures, watched the final passage of the bill that allowed the use of medical cannabis in Georgia and some even dubbed the bill as “Haleigh’s Hope.”The child’s family was living in Colorado for a year, where cannabis is legalized, and cannabis medical products are available for treatment. These people are known as “medical refugees.” After the bill passed, Haleigh’s family intended to go back to Georgia.

Cannabis is finally receiving more attention from all the community. Although the efficacy of medical marijuana is not irrevocable and the use of cannabis has shown some side effects, many adults and children have had improvements in the number of seizures. After starting the treatment with cannabis, mainly the substance cannabidiol (CBD), many studies reported a significant decrease in the number of seizures. Luckily, in time we will have enough scientific support to prove cannabis efficacy and even creating better treatments for adults and children who suffer from epilepsy.

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