Epilepsy and Marijuana: Benefits of Medical Marijuana for EpilepticsWritten by Marijuana Cannaisseur on Jun 11, 2018
Kind Meds in Mesa, AZ, understands that epilepsy causes a host of problematic symptoms that can make it difficult to enjoy life to the fullest. If you live in Arizona and suffer from epilepsy, you can apply for a medical marijuana card and see how different marijuana products can provide better relief than standard prescription medications.
Most people who struggle with epilepsy depend on prescription medications that can cause damage to various parts of the body over time. Cannabis does not pose these issues, so people who try medical marijuana for epilepsy could potentially experience greater relief with the added bonus of fewer, if any, side effects.
What Is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder in the United States, and the condition affects people of all ages. The most common symptom of epilepsy is seizures that can range in severity from mild to life-threatening. One of the most troublesome aspects of this condition is that seizures are completely unpredictable in most cases. Some people may have notable triggers that cause seizures while others seem to experience them randomly.
Epileptics experience unprovoked, recurrent, and unpredictable seizures. Some people develop seizure disorders from birth while others may not experience them until later in life after an injury or illness. People with a family history of epilepsy are at a higher risk of experiencing the condition. Some epileptics also experience other neurological issues, and the intensity of seizures varies greatly from person to person.
What Is A Seizure?
A seizure is basically a very sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain. During a seizure, the electrical impulse and chemicals in the brain react in different ways, and may shut off activity in some parts of the brain while overstimulating other areas. This can cause too much activity in one area or not enough activity in another. Some seizures can happen immediately after suffering an injury, while others may take months to appear. People who have brain damage or who have suffered infections in the brain are at a much higher risk of having seizures later. Once a person has a seizure without a clear cause, there is a high chance the person will have another seizure within six months.
Phases Of A Seizure
Seizures begin with a warning or aura phase for many people with epilepsy. This is essentially a build-up period leading to the initial phase of a seizure, called the Prodrome phase. The person may experience different sensations or display changes in behavior for hours or days before the seizure fully develops. He or she may also experience sensory distortion or feelings of déjà vu, the feeling of being somewhere before but never have, or jamais vu, the feeling that something is familiar when it truly isn’t.
The middle or Ictal phase of a seizure can involve twitching, involuntary movements, convulsions, increased heart rate, unresponsiveness, repeated muscular actions, and difficulty breathing. Once this phase passes the person moves into the ending phase of the seizure, which often entails intense emotions, confusion, sensory confusion, memory loss, and sleepiness. These symptoms vary from person to person. One person may have very mild seizures that others barely notice while others have intense seizures that can leave them feeling drained for days.
How Can Marijuana Help?
Marijuana can help make the symptoms of epilepsy more manageable. The two psychoactive compounds in most marijuana strains are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC creates the euphoric feelings that produce the “high” most people associate with smoking marijuana, while CBD can have very positive effects on various parts of the body. While there is still a great deal of research to do regarding marijuana and epilepsy, a recent gold-standard study conducted by GW Pharmaceuticals shows incredible promise.
Roughly 30% of epilepsy cases do not respond to traditional anti-seizure medications. People with this type of epilepsy stand to benefit the most from medical cannabis since typical treatments will not work. Most states that have approved medical marijuana allow people who suffer from epilepsy “compassionate access” to cannabis.
Participants in a recent study included individuals who suffered from epilepsy and found no success with existing treatment. During the study, an occurrence of seizures among participants dropped by an average of 54%. The study also indicated greater success for individuals who took medical marijuana in combination with anti-seizure medication, which shows that medical marijuana may help augment existing treatments and limit the appearance of dangerous epileptic symptoms.
The GW Pharmaceuticals studies included a group of people who suffer from Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and another group who suffer from Dravet Syndrome, a particularly troublesome form of epilepsy characterized by strong, frequent seizures. In two studies on Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, patients who took medical marijuana showed a 40% decrease in seizures compared with less than 20% of patients who received placebos. In the Dravet study, there was a 40% reduction in the group that received cannabis and a 17% reduction in the placebo group.
Both groups showed a statistically significant improvement when using cannabis compared with placebos, indicating the marijuana indeed has a positive effect on epileptic symptoms. These studies are part of the reason why Arizona legislators have approved medical marijuana for epilepsy.
Marijuana For Epilepsy In Arizona
States that have legalized marijuana for medicinal use typically follow a list of approved conditions. A person must meet the diagnostic criteria for a qualifying condition to receive a medical marijuana card. Arizona has recognized the scientific data supporting medical marijuana as an effective treatment for epilepsy, so epileptics in Arizona can come to Kind Meds for their medical marijuana products with a valid state medical marijuana card.
How Marijuana Helps Epilepsy
While medical marijuana does not cure epilepsy, it can greatly reduce the appearance of symptoms like seizures. It can also make seizures more manageable, and many people who suffer from epilepsy may take cannabis as both a preventive measure and a treatment for symptoms in progress.
The psychoactive effects of THC can help a person experience deeper relaxation, and THC can help calm excited neural paths. While CBD does not cause psychoactive effects, it binds to pain receptors and other areas of the brain, resulting in anti-inflammatory properties. Ultimately, there are many ways medical marijuana can benefit epileptics, and it’s up to the individual to find a form and method that works best.
After a seizure, an epileptic may feel lethargic, confused, irritable, or restless. Medical marijuana can help eliminate these stressful feelings and offer relaxation after a seizure. Some patients benefit from daily CBD doses to eliminate or greatly reduce the chance of a seizure. There are also numerous ways to take medical cannabis, so people struggling with epilepsy do not have to worry about smoking it if this causes discomfort.
Visit Kind Meds For Unmatched Selection
If you have a medical marijuana card for your epilepsy in Arizona, the staff at Kind Meds is here to help. Our team has vast experience with medical marijuana and can help you find the right strains and products for managing your symptoms. Some patients benefit most from high-THC strains that improve mood and enable deeper relaxation, while others prefer the healing properties of CBD without the intense psychoactive effects of THC. Some patients prefer to smoke marijuana the traditional way, while others find that vaporizers or edibles provide greater relief.
Kind Meds is Arizona’s leading medical marijuana dispensary, and we carry all types of medical marijuana products including dried flowers, concentrates, beverages, baked goods, candies, tinctures, and topical creams. Anyone with a qualifying condition can stop in our Mesa, AZ location today for the latest news and products, and we will be happy to help any cardholder with their questions about medical cannabis.