Medical Marijuana for Seizures: Everything you need to know
Have you ever thought that a plant introduced by our early settlers will provide relief to people with epilepsy today?
Cannabis Sativa has been cultivated in the US since the early 1700s. The immigrants bought this plant from Europe to produce hemp. Although the usage of this herb as medicine was recorded in “United States Pharmacopeia” back in 1850, the debate on using marijuana for medicinal purposes has gained peak attention in just recent years.
In the same light, there has been an increasing amount of research on links between marijuana and epilepsy. So, what is the relation between these two? Can cannabis help people with seizures?
Let’s find out!
First You Should Know – What Are Seizures And What Are Its Symptoms
A seizure is often confused with a convulsion. A person with a convulsion bears uncontrollable shaking because the muscles continuously contract and relax. On the other hand, a seizure happens with abnormal activity in the brain. Also, seizures could be challenging to spot as sometimes they’re as simple as being unable to grab your attention. Such kind of seizures is usually unnoticeable.
The symptoms related to a specific seizure vary on what part of the brain it has affected. Some common symptoms include blackouts followed by a convulsion, eye movement, odd changes in behavior, making strange sounds, and shaking.
Additional symptoms include falling suddenly, having uncontrollable muscle spasms, and clenching the teeth. Epilepsy patients also may have warning indications before a seizure occurs, like a sense of anxiety, vertigo, and nausea.
Why Seizures Occurs?
Having seizures, no matter whatever the underlying cause- can be really frightening. It can occur because of many reasons. However, most common causes include brain injury, brain infection, drug abuse, and irregularities in the level of sodium or glucose in the blood.
Other things that lead to spasms involve high fever, stroke, and very high blood pressure. People who are alcoholic when stop drinking suddenly may also experience the spells.
Now coming to our main topic, what about medical cannabis treatment? It seems like marijuana actually helps people with seizures, and below are more details.
Marijuana and Seizures
Many people who have epilepsy say that marijuana has helped control their seizures. But, no research so far has proved that it works. This is because the researchers need to apply for an exclusive license from the Drug Enforcement Administration. Plus, they require permission from the National Institute for Drug Abuse. Both challenges have slowed the research.
However, there have been several studies conducted in this regard since 1970 in the US. Many other studies, (even some ongoing) have been done in other countries. According to the findings, THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is not the only compound that has therapeutic effects.
The CBD (Cannabidiol) is also one of the plant’s vital medicinal compounds. Further studies reveal that both THC and CBD are very beneficial for people suffering from Epilepsy or Seizures.
Based on these studies, in June 2018, the FDA had approved the drug Epidiolex as a medication for people with hard-to-treat seizures. Some patients had a dramatic drop in seizures after having this drug. After that, the general population has appeared to be showing a rapid shift in its opinion regarding cannabis-related drugs.
Consequently, it is quite possible that Cannabidiol licensed in the USA for treating two childhood epilepsies: Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome – may open the door for the widespread legalization of recreational cannabis.
How It Works
Both CBD and THC form many medical compounds, such as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids bind to receptors of your brain and are very effective against pain associated with various ailments, such as Spasms and Multiple Sclerosis.
They block the transmission of pain signals to the brain. Cannabinoids work on other signaling systems within the brain and have anti-inflammatory properties. Yet exactly how it works in epilepsy isn’t clear.
Nevertheless, one clear thing is some drug-intake methods work better than others. Like eating CBD versus inhaling the drug can alter the strength. Also, potency can vary from plant to plant. All and all, using medical marijuana to treat epilepsy is gaining appeal.
Which Are The Best Cannabis Strains For Seizures & Epilepsy
Almost 70% of epilepsy patients who are unable to deal with their seizures have witnessed a significant amount of relief with medical marijuana so far.
Now, let us check out the best cannabis strains for epilepsy and seizures.
Green Crack is considered as the perfect choice for preventing epileptic episodes. This strain lasts throughout the day, and consumers experience laser-sharp focus. Plus, it improvizes your mental focus with head-high energy. Now you know from where this strain got its name.
With its name said to have been entitled by Snoop Dogg himself, it is a 100% natural hybrid strain. By delivering a duality of head and body effects, not only it lifts your mood but also relaxes your muscles. Epileptic patients that find it difficult to concentrate on their daily tasks, this all-natural reefer is excellent for improving their focus.
Charlotte’s web is by far the most famous strain in the treatment of spasms. It is named after a little girl Charlotte Figi. Figi suffered from a rare form of epilepsy – Dravet Syndrome.
Colorado-based growers for Charlotte specifically developed the strain. They prepared it to reduce the THC content while boosting its CBD. The end result was a product that provides remarkably calming “body high” with no mental side effects.
Earlier little Figi was encountering extremely violent seizures hundreds of times a week. After the CBD oil treatment, her spasms reduced to just a handful per month. Now she is living a healthy life with her parents.
Having 0.3% THC and a high amount of CBD, this strain is very advantageous to deal with epilepsy without making you stoned. This is also one of the prompt reasons behind its widespread usage in the treatment of children. The word “web” has been added to the name because of its “web-like” appearance with long thick trichomes.
Cannatonic is not only useful in managing epilepsy and seizures but also for headaches, muscle spasms, and chronic pain. It has low THC content (just 6%) and high CBD content (7 to17%). Due to this content form, it offers a less-cloudy and focus-inducing high. However, the intense numbing and warming sensations overshadow the uplifting quality of this strain.
Its outlandish chemical composition works on medical conditions from the inside out. This helps the patient to deal with any problematic situations that traditional medication usually has trouble tackling.
Overall, this strain will give you a boost of energy, increase the feelings of positivity; and deeply enhance your mood. The high is seem as you are floating on a cloud but won’t produce any drowsiness. So, it is suitable to use at any time of the day.
Last on our list is Grape Ape. It is a much-loved strain due to its total relaxation and calming effects. These are the properties that many epilepsy patients get truly benefit from. Also, because of these, it is chiefly admired by those who practice meditation and yoga. This strain also gives relief from mood disorders such as stress, anxiety, and depression.
It is an Indica strain that is blended with Skunk, Afghani, and Mendocino Purps. The name of this strain has originated from its distinct grape-like smell, standout colors, and multi-layered scents. The high sensation of it mounts slowly and eventually leads to a weighty feeling in the head.
With perfect conditions, Grape Ape provides a palpable sense of both mental and physical relaxation. Ultimately, it takes users into a spacey calmness. But remember, it’s higher THC content can even possibly make you couchlock.
Final Thoughts On Marijuana and Seizures
Several factors can generate seizures. But the irony is, there are not many medications available. In such a situation, medical marijuana has emerged as a ray of hope for many. And till now, it has just shown progress in this regard. Many lives have been changed. People like Charlotte Figi are living a healthy and happy life. All this has happened because of medical cannabis.
However, still, there is a need for continuous research to be done on marijuana and seizures. And there is very important to note here. First, its the CBD compound of cannabis that is most beneficial for treating seizures.
Second, it isn’t psychoactive and thus doesn’t make you high. Lastly, you shouldn’t go for trying self-medicate seizures with marijuana.
Consult your doctor first, get your medical marijuana card. Don’t blindly start consuming cannabis just because it looks like the benefits of marijuana for seizures are on the horizon.