When the medical community began to recognize the value of medical marijuana, epilepsy was one of the first major areas of study. Even though medical marijuana in Boca Raton is still an emerging field, epilepsy is likely to be the most studied condition to be treated with medical marijuana.
Before going into whether medical marijuana can treat epilepsy, this article will briefly discuss epilepsy.
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a disorder that causes seizures and convulsions, often spontaneously. It’s a rather common condition, with about three million Americans suffering from it. The seizures are usually triggered by an overage of electrical activity within the brain.
Epilepsy is always uncomfortable, but harsher forms of it that result in long seizures can cause permanent brain damage, which is why it’s important for epilepsy patients to get on a treatment regimen as soon as possible. There are six types of epilepsy seizures that vary in severity and nature, but for the sake of brevity, this article will not explore this. People with epilepsy are not only subject to increased falling risk and brain damage, but also to car accidents, drowning, and even anxiety and depression.
How is epilepsy traditionally treated?
There are several different ways that doctors go about treating epilepsy. It’s a common myth that all children outgrow epilepsy. It’s certainly true that some children will outgrow epilepsy, but for some people, the condition worsens as they get older.
Regardless of how severe the seizures are, it’s important to get a handle on them, because epilepsy can drastically increase in severity without much notice. Most often, traditional medication is used to treat epilepsy. Because there is a large range of anticonvulsants, most epilepsy patients can find relief from one of these pharmaceuticals. However, depending on which specific medication it is and what insurance the patient has, its cost can be prohibitive, and side effects may be severe.
Medication is generally effective for approximately 80% of epilepsy patients. That means that for a whopping 20% of epilepsy patients (600,000 Americans alone), pharmaceuticals aren’t working.
If you are a first-time patient or returning to LifeBoost please fill out this form to schedule your medical marijuana evaluation with Dr. Stratt.
Epilepsy is an illness that can manifest in many different ways. Often, patients must create a “drug cocktail” of different pharmaceuticals to fully treat their condition. Each new drug taken adds some risk, and there are also polydrug interactions that must be monitored closely. These patients often complain of side effects such as sedation, unsteadiness, clumsiness, irritability, and a host of other uncomfortable effects. For many patients, the reality is that they either accept these side effects or continue to have devastating seizures.
Medical marijuana as a viable treatment option for epilepsy
Because of a great deal of discomfort associated with epilepsy and its current treatments, medical marijuana in Boca Raton has emerged as a treatment possibility. This is not to say that medical marijuana will necessarily be a cure-all for those suffering from epilepsy (although this may be true for a subset of patients). Medical marijuana can also be combined with some pharmaceuticals to limit the “drug cocktail” effect and polydrug interactions. In the best cases, some epilepsy patients who were simply living with epilepsy because they could not tolerate the current treatment options can function just with medical marijuana.
THC and CBD for epileptic patients
As some current medical marijuana users know, marijuana has over 400 different cannabinoids on average. The cannabinoid with the highest concentration in most marijuana plants is THC, followed by CBD. Epilepsy treatment generally involves marijuana with a high CBD content. While THC can actually trigger seizures in some circumstances, CBD can act as an anticonvulsant as well as have a host of other benefits, all with minimal side effects. The good news is that CBD does not give users a “high” like THC does. This means that patients can use a therapeutic dose of CBD and still go about their day. There is no intoxication, and motor effects are slim to non-existent.
Unfortunately, formal research in this field has been significantly limited due to outdated federal laws that classify CBD as a “Schedule I” substance. However, a study published in the Scientific American announced that CBD helped patients reduce the amount of seizures and severity of seizures in 37% of cases. In 2% of cases, CBD alone completely stopped all seizure activity in patients suffering from epilepsy.
Of course, the way patients use CBD can have an effect. Some patients choose to use strains that contain some THC and more CBD for their epilepsy. This can add to the side effect profile, but in general, side effects remain low as long as patients stick with products that have a high CBD count. Patients of LifeBoost should speak with doctor Bruce Stratt, MD to decide what options would be optimal for their treatment.
If you or a loved one is suffering from epilepsy or the pharmaceutical treatments for it, please give LifeBoost a call. Our physician, Dr. Bruce Stratt, MD, is able to qualify patients to legally purchase medical marijuana in Boca Raton to treat epilepsy.