• Why People with Epilepsy Are Turning to Medical Marijuana

Wellspring Fields
September 23, 2020

Medical marijuana is used to treat many conditions. From cancer to PTSD, people are finding relief from symptoms and pain using medical marijuana. More than ever, people are looking for relief from seizure disorders, including epilepsy, along with their other medications. Even though more research needs to be done, there is promising support for understanding how marijuana impacts people with epilepsy and may offer some relief from the challenges they face. 

How Marijuana Helps

Cannabinoids are in marijuana, which impacts receptors in the body. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one substance people use to help reduce and control seizure activity. With THC, people may ‘feet high,’ but CBD does not psychoactive effects that let people cope with seizures without the buzzy feeling some do not like. Limited opportunities for research make it hard to have breakthroughs in just how marijuana helps people who suffer from epilepsy. Basically, people with marijuana are looking to control the number of seizures, the severity, and the impact of them afterward. Every person’s experience varies but specific strains of marijuana can be more helpful than others in the fight against epilepsy:

  • Indica: contains more CBD than THC and is a popular choice for treatment with sedative effects. Also helps with anxiety, headaches, and sleep disorders
  • Sativa: more energizing, which is better for daytime use to avoid sleep interference. Does not contain CBD so some people like it for relief from spasms and seizures 
  • High CBD and low THC strains of marijuana may help reduce some of the seizure’s effects without the ‘high’

A marijuana doctor who is licensed can evaluate medical needs to determine what will work best for a certain situation. From there, the person can visit a dispensary to find the right products to provide relief. 

CBD vs THC

Both THC and CBD are cannabinoids that come from the cannabis plant but impact people differently when they use medical marijuana. THC makes people feel different than CBD, whose effects cannot be felt. Unlike THC, CBD will not create a ‘buzzy’ feeling. CBD can block the intoxicating effects of THC because it binds to cannabinoid receptors. The effects are less pronounced than with THC, which is why CBD is more commonly used in pediatric patients with seizure disorders and for those who want relief without psychoactive feelings.

Pet Epilepsy

Veterinarians are looking at ways to help their animal friends find relief from pet epilepsy. Broad-spectrum formulations seem to be more effective than single components, with pet owners and vets looking to help pet patients lessen the severity of seizures, shorten recovery time, and possibly prevent an imminent seizure. The use of CBD is showing promise when given in moderate doses but more research is being conducted to review the results and find out what kind of CBD is effective, dosage, and how best to support vulnerable animals.

The more research that is done, the more relief people may find from symptoms related to epileptic seizures. For those who suffer, marijuana may be their best bet in the fight against a devastating condition. 

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