Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy

Medical marijuana has become increasingly popular in treating Epilepsy patients. The cannabis plant has multiple other medical purposes. The cannabinoids are substances found in the cannabis plant which act on cells in the body, such as the brain. Marijuana is the female flower and leaves of the cannabis plant. Tetrahydrocannabinol, THC and Cannabidiol, CBD are the two main cannabinoids used to treat Epilepsy. The chemicals in the cannabis plant are used for medical purposes.

Chemicals like cannabinoids are substances that operate on cells in the body. These are called cannabinoid receptors. The major ingredient in the cannabis plant that causes you to have psychoactive effects is THC. CBD is the opposite. It does not cause psychoactive effects but rather works on certain body systems. CBD has been found effective in reducing seizures for some with epilepsy.

There are many types of seizure disorders. Many are chronic and some are acute. FIRE, Febrile Infection-Related Epilepsy Syndrome, is a condition that is also recently being treated by medical marijuana and CBD.Top of Form There have been recent studies to show that medical marijuana is a viable treatment for epilepsy and other neurology disorders.Bottom of Form

Evidence from lab studies, anecdotal reports, and clinical studies have suggested that CBD could help control the amount and length of the seizures. Due to federal regulations there are limited amount of studies on CBD and seizure disorders. Some of the people that use medical marijuana for Epilepsy have not had success with conventional treatments, but have improved on CBD products. Others have found success with THC products as well. Many of the people who resort to cannabis are feeling that there conditions have little hope for treatment.

Epidiolex is a FDA approved CBD medication that is used to treat seizures for adults and children over the age of 2. It was approved in June of 2018. Epidiolex is a cannabidiol oral solution which is purified at 98% oil-based CBD extract. These patients must be diagnosed with LGS, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome. These are extremely complicated case of seizures. These patients often children, suffer multiple seizures a day.

Epidiolex is a huge break in getting CBD into the mainstream medical prescription program. It will prove to be a huge breakthrough in treatment for these patients that greatly suffer on a daily basis. Not only is this medication a great option for children with epilepsy; it is also the first and only FDA approved treatment for Dravet syndrome. All though the FDA has approved Epidiolex, it will still need to be classified for distribution by the DEA. This will have to happen before it comes available on the market. Epidiolex will be the first plant based prescription treatment for the cannabis plant in the United States.

For many that are looking into medical marijuana as a possible treatment or co-treatment for seizures, they often worry about side effects. Many prescription drugs can have side effects so severe that the medication is not worth the risks. With cannabis both CBD and THC have possible side effects. The most common for marijuana are increase or lack of sleep, increase or decrease in hunger, fatigue, and diarrhea. Epidiolex has the above side effects plus irregular liver functions, unbalanced sleep, rash, and feelings of tiredness, or extreme exhaustion.

When treating children, the right dosage is extremely important. If using CBD or THC combined with prescription seizure medications it can create a higher risk of side effects than using it solely. Whether using medical marijuana with or without prescription medication there is always a risk of side effects. It’s important that both your medical marijuana and Epilepsy doctors are monitoring the use of CBD/THC and prescription seizure medications.

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The laws governing medical marijuana vary by state and federal regulations. 25 states allow for medical or recreational marijuana dispensary directory. Most of these states list seizure and Epilepsy disorders as a recommending condition. There are state guidelines for medical conditions, dispensary locations, amount of medications a patient can have, and grow limits for those wanting to partake in making their own medicine.

Federal laws prohibit cannabis at all levels unless you are prescribed Epidiolex. Since there are so many federal restrictions the amount of research on cannabis is extremely limited. Most of the prescribing physicians are not going to be conventional doctors for medical marijuana.

The doctors who choose to follow the state laws on medical use of marijuana are absolutely breaking federal law, putting their license at jeopardy. There are states have attempted to protect doctors from being charged at a state level. But there is no federal protection so the amount of doctors who will prescribe medical marijuana is limited. The recent approval of Epidiolex will allow medical doctors to prescribe CBD medication under guidelines just like they would with prescription seizure medications. Medical doctors will not need a special license to prescribe Epidiolex.

For those that have a medical marijuana card it’s important to understand that you cannot cross state lines with the medicine. Be aware of online companies that label CBD products as hemp in order to evade the law. If the product has CBD as an ingredient, it is classified as a Schedule I substance. This means it is illegal to ship CBD across state lines.

The Epilepsy Foundation in an advocate for medical marijuana dispensaries at both at a state and federal level. They are working on reinstating medical marijuana research. They are encouraging main stream doctors to work with patients in the treatment that will be the most successful for the patient. The Epilepsy Foundation believes in lifting barriers on marijuana, increasing the research, and improving safe and legal access for those with epilepsy.

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