Ohioans With Epilepsy Discover Positive Impact of Cannabis
Epilepsy is one of the 22 qualifying conditions for which patients in Ohio can now consider medical marijuana as part of their treatment plan. When surveying Ohio patients with epilepsy, several confirm they are indeed finding improved relief with cannabis over their previously prescribed pharmaceuticals.
Epilepsy affects more than 50 million people worldwide. One of the most common neurological disorders, epilepsy is defined by brief surges of uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain, also known as seizures, which can result in unintentional changes in behavior, movement, muscle tone and states of awareness.
Although some patients with epilepsy are able to notice patterns and therefore can recognize which triggers to avoid, seizures are not predictable. Since they can happen anywhere at any time, these patients might also develop physical injuries such as bruises, cuts, burns, broken bones, and head trauma during a seizure. Additionally, anxiety and depression can develop due
to the uncertainty of when the next one will occur and the lifestyle changes that accompany this lack of predictability.
Up to 40 percent of people with epilepsy do not respond to traditional medication regimens. Therefore, new ways to treat epilepsy are desperately needed. This is more likely when the person with epilepsy has additional needs, such as autism and intellectual disability.
Even those who have had success with pharmaceuticals express concern about the long-term effects of chronic anti-epilepsy drug use. Most medications meant to control seizures can cause drowsiness or dizziness, especially at the beginning of therapy. These medicines can also induce suicidal thoughts or actions, and/or bring on or worsen depression.
What Ohio Patients Are Saying About Cannabis for Epilepsy
Bill M., a Columbus patient with epilepsy, has found that cannabis manages his pain better than his prescriptions did: “My seizures are idiopathic and also fairly controlled with most common meds. I just didn’t like the meds I was given. (Dilantin and Lyrica.)”
Bill explained that he could go years between his seizures, but he had several from 1999 to 2016. “With doctors not knowing a cause, I finally figured I have never had one when I was under 230 lbs, so I’ve mainly kept my weight below 215 for years. Finally when medical cannabis became legal I got it. I would add some higher CBD strains to the mix, but they weren’t as satisfying for pain relief. So I would do one high CBD flower strain a week until some of the concentrate cartridges became available. They come in higher CBD and THC mixtures, so while I prefer flower, I use these just a few times a week and I’m seizure free for 5 years now.”
Another Ohio patient, Kelly M., said she was able to discontinue the use of her epilepsy prescription medications because medical marijuana helps her manage her epilepsy better than ANY of the prescription drugs she’s been on for over a decade. Like many
patients, she hopes that with federal legalization on the horizon, insurance companies might eventually cover her medical marijuana for her epilepsy.
“I think insurance should be paying for all of it, ” Kelly said. “Since starting medical marijuana, I also eliminated my thyroid meds, Xanax, and blood pressure meds because all those health issues went away with the use of this plant for me. Meanwhile my insurance company saves thousands each month because I’m not in the hospital anymore and I don’t need two thousand dollars of prescriptions anymore. I would think for them the cost of me on cannabis would be a lot less.”
We do Cannabis Differently!
Our goal at Green Harvest Health is to help our patients reclaim their wellness. Not all epilepsy conditions are responsive to medical cannabis. However, even if medical cannabis “only helps” with the physical and mental discomfort of this disorder and doesn’t contribute to managing the occurrence of actual seizures, this still can be incredibly beneficial to the patient and their loved ones.
There is undeniable evidence to suggest that cannabinoids, especially CBD, can reduce the number of seizures. In fact, the FDA felt there was enough evidence to approve Epidiolex, an oral CBD solution, for the treatment of two types of epilepsy in 2018 and the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program has allowed it as one of only 22 qualifying conditions. You can read more on the Epilepsy Foundation’s website.
Want to learn more about treating epilepsy with cannabis? If you’re curious about discussing cannabis, including cbd, as part of your or a loved one’s treatment plan, schedule an appointment with Green Harvest Health today.