Did you know that 10% of people in the United States will have at least one seizure at some point in their lives? Medical marijuana for seizures is gaining in acceptance and popularity, allowing many patients to experience fewer seizures and to maintain better health. Some of these patients are adults while others are children.
Studies have found that strains of marijuana that are low in THC, the compound that creates the sensation of being high, and very rich in Cannabidiol which is not psychoactive, can reduce the amount of a person’s seizures.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, offers considerable benefits for individuals who suffer from seizures. This compound in marijuana can suppress seizure activity in the brain without making the user feel stoned. In addition, marijuana strains with high levels of CBD offer neurogenic and neuroprotective benefits for the user and these strains have anti-cancer properties according to research studies.
Medical Marijuana for Seizures: What is Charlotte’s Web?
Charlotte’s Web is a strain of medical marijuana for seizures that was specifically developed for pediatric patient Charlotte Figi, a little girl who suffered from severe seizures that occurred daily and even hourly. Developed by Colorado’s Stanley brothers this specific strain of medical marijuana is designed to have less than 0.3% of THC but is very rich in CBD.
The hemp oil has low levels of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and high CBD, thought to quiet tremors in the brain.
Source: Hartford Courant
Charlotte Figi suffers from Dravet syndrome, and she was started on oil derived from medical marijuana at just five years old. The results were apparent almost immediately, as the little girl stopped having numerous seizures every hour once the marijuana oil was used. Today Charlotte Figi has few seizures and has a life quality that is greatly improved.
Available Research on Medical Marijuana and Seizure Treatment
Recent studies have shown that medical marijuana for seizures can be highly effective. One study by researchers from the New York University Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center showed that patients who have severe epilepsy or associated disorders that cause severe or frequent seizures could reduce their seizures by 50% or even more when CBD oil is used.
The study involved 213 patients, both children and adults. The study participants all had one of 12 severe epilepsy types, including Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Each patient used CBD oil each day for 12 weeks. 137 patients completed the research study, and the results showed that these individuals had 53% fewer convulsive seizures when using the drug.
Some Seizure Medications can have Dangerous Side Effects
Many people prefer to use medical marijuana for seizures because it involves a natural plant instead of other seizure drugs. Often epilepsy and seizures are treated with sedatives that can have a potential for dependency and addiction. In many cases, other drugs used to treat these conditions do not work well at stopping the seizure activity in the brain but they can have serious side effects.
Experts agree that more research studies and clinical trials need to be performed on medical marijuana for seizures. However, federal drug laws classify marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance. This means that the federal government does not recognize any medical benefit from this drug in spite of the available research and the number of patients that have been helped.
Medical Marijuana and Individual Patients
Many people who have epilepsy or related disorders have found relief with medical marijuana for seizures. But there are some patients who have not seen an improvement after using the drug. Because the federal law greatly limits research opportunities on marijuana there is a shortage of research and scientific evidence available.
A genetic research study by the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is underway to determine why some patients have far fewer seizures using the Charlotte Web strain while others may see little or no improvement in their condition. The goal of this study is to identify whether certain genetic components are involved.
Early findings show that marijuana oil may reduce seizures in some epileptic children, a CU researcher says.
Medical marijuana for seizures may not be the right choice for every patient. For patients who have not been successful using other seizure control methods this drug shows great promise though.