Marijuana has medicinal properties, which can help in managing various neurological disorders, such as epilepsy. There are many medical studies showing the effectiveness of cannabis in improving certain symptoms associated with the disorders available. That’s why more patients are choosing marijuana over prescription medications. Despite the federal ban, the medical use of marijuana is legal in more than half of the US states.
And, with a medical cannabis card, you can legally purchase marijuana products.
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders It is characterized by the occurrence of seizures with different intensity. In the United States, 3.4 million people suffer from epilepsy. And, 1 in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy at least once in their lifetime.
Epilepsy is caused by disturbances in certain regions of the brain, which increase the electrical activity levels. Major causes of epilepsy are—tumors, stroke, abnormalities in the immune system, and the brain structure.
There are two types of seizures—generalized seizures and focal seizures.
What is Marijuana?
Marijuana is a plant, which can be used for both recreational and medical purposes. Recreational users usually consume it for experiencing high effects while medical users are focused on receiving medicinal effects.
Research says that in the cannabis plant, there are more than 100 chemical compounds, which are known as cannabinoids. These phytocannabinoids are packed with therapeutic properties and can help in reducing pain, anxiety, inflammation, etc.
Marijuana For Epilepsy
Cannabis compounds, such as THC and CBD bind to receptors in the brain, thus relieving pain, anxiety, etc. There are usually two types of receptors—CB1 receptors are responsible for cognitive function while CB2 receptors control neuroprotection and anti-inflammatory functions. The cannabinoids in marijuana work with various signaling systems and deliver anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects.
How marijuana helps patients with epilepsy isn’t fully known. However, there’s some evidence that cannabinoids can help improve the brain’s response to the seizure disorders by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system. Abnormal changes in hippocampus cells can cause seizures.
Additionally, medical researchers have found that anxiety and stress can trigger seizures. Marijuana has amazing anti-anxiety properties, thus can help in reducing the risks of epilepsy.
Can CBD help patients with epilepsy?
Yes, there’s some evidence that CBD can be used for managing epilepsy. Researchers found that giving 20 mg of CBD per kg of patient weight daily was more effective than a placebo. However, CBD use helped in reducing the seizure frequency by half or more. A review of 14 studies reported that 8.5 percent of the participants were able to alleviate seizure. The FDA has approved Epidiolex (a CBD-based drug) for treating two severe forms of seizures for patients 2 years of age. These are—Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
What Does Science Say?
According to a recent study, 2-AG (an endocannabinoid that binds to the same receptors as THC) can help in reducing anxiety connections between the two important brain regions—the amygdala and the frontal cortex.
Cannabinoids in marijuana can help in reducing inflammation and seizure activity. A recent study reported that cannabis oil containing both THC and CBD was helpful in reducing seizure frequency in children by 70 percent in 20 weeks. The participants had Dravet syndrome. However, researchers noted some side-effects, such as anorexia, diarrhea, and fatigue. So, they said that proper dosage guidelines should be followed to receive the desired medicinal effects.
According to an analysis published in Epilepsia in 2018, cannabinoids reported promising results in pediatric epilepsy. The research suggests that CBD may help in reducing the seizure numbers by 50 percent.
A Guide to Using Marijuana For Epilepsy
If you want to use cannabis for epilepsy, you should consider many things. Firstly, you need to ensure that you have a medical cannabis card. The card shows that you are using cannabis medically, not recreationally. Additionally, you can visit state-licensed dispensaries to buy high-potency products, save taxes on cannabis purchases, and cultivate your own cannabis plants at home.
If you don’t have an MMJ card, you can apply it online in 10 minutes. Here’s the process-
- Sign up an account
- See a doctor online through HIPAA-compliant software
- Receive an MMJ rec letter via email
Top Strains For Epilepsy Patients
It’s named after Charlotte Figi, a patient who suffered from Dravet syndrome. It contains an average of 0.3 percent THC and high levels of CBD. Thus, consumers can enjoy medicinal effects without experiencing high. Some people say that Charlotte’s Web is also helpful for managing pain.
Cannatonic is beneficial in alleviating symptoms of seizures, headaches, fatigue, and migraines. This strain can help in boosting focus and mood, thus promoting mental wellness. It has a sweet flavor. THC content is between 7 and 15 percent while CBD content is about 12 percent. You can use Cannatonic at any time of the day.
It’s a Sativa-dominant strain with high-CBD levels and low-THC levels. When you consume this strain, you will experience uplifting and energizing effects. This helps you relax and manage your symptoms. Since Harlequin produces clear-headed effects, you can consume it during the daytime and perform daily tasks.
It’s an earthy-flavored Sativa with THC:CBD ratio of 5:8. This strain is effective in reducing pain, inflammation, and muscle tension. High-CBD content allows you to receive non-psychoactive effects. 3D CBD can help you boost mood, and melt your negative emotions away.
How to Consume Cannabis?
There are many ways to consume cannabis for managing epilepsy. Smoking is the most popular one. It delivers quick effects. But, some medical experts say that it can cause lung problems and various other health issues. Vaping is as a safe alternative to smoking. Vaporizers heat cannabis at a low temperature to extract the cannabinoids.
Other ways to consume medical marijuana are edibles and tinctures. Edibles take some time to provide full effects, but they last longer. And, tinctures allow you to control dosage.
There’s no doubt cannabis is effective in managing epilepsy symptoms, but research says that it can lead to some side-effects. CBD products can negatively interact with certain medications. You should avoid combining CBD with medications that come with a grapefruit warning.
Additionally, cannabis can affect memory as some anti-seizure drugs. So, you may miss some doses, thus bringing back those epilepsy symptoms. It’s important to dose properly to avoid negative effects.
Moreover, you should seek professional help from a licensed doctor before starting a cannabis treatment for children with epilepsy. According to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, marijuana can affect cognitive function in children.
Talk to your doctor, have an open discussion related to your condition, and know the options available for you for medical marijuana use.
Marijuana for epilepsy and seizures show promising results in many medical studies. Its cannabinoids activate the ECS receptors, thus boosting mood, sleep, and memory and reducing seizure activity. Using CBD products can help you receive medicinal benefits without getting high. The FDA has approved Epidiolex for children of 2 years of age for two severe forms of seizures, Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
Dosage plays a key role when using cannabis for epilepsy. Additionally, you should carefully select strains and consumption methods to minimize risks.
Apply for a medical cannabis card to access licensed dispensaries today.