Epilepsy is a neurological disorder impacting an estimated 3.4 million people in the United States. People with this condition experience unprovoked, recurrent seizures, which are abrupt surges of abnormal electrical brain activity.
Conventionally, epilepsy is treated with anti-epileptic drugs or AEDs. Unfortunately, these medications can cause unwanted side effects in some patients, such as drowsiness, dizziness, and poor concentration.
Medical marijuana has been gaining attention in recent years as an alternative treatment option for epilepsy patients. Some epilepsy patients have experienced reduced seizures and other positive effects from using medical cannabis.
How Does Medical Marijuana Help With Epilepsy?
There are two main cannabinoids in medical marijuana: THC and CBD. These substances bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and, in doing so, stop pain signals from being transmitted.
CBD affects other signaling systems in the brain, too. This gives the cannabinoid anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties.
While the benefits of these cannabinoids for epilepsy aren’t completely clear, many patients have reported reduced seizure activity with medical marijuana use. Additionally, in 2018, the FDA cleared a CBD oral solution called EPIDIOLEX® as a treatment for seizures in patients with two epilepsy syndromes (Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome).
What Are The Benefits of Medical Marijuana For Epilepsy Patients?
For some epilepsy patients, medical cannabis may provide the following benefits:
- Reduced seizure activity
- Improvement in mood disorders that commonly accompany epilepsy (such as depression)
- Improved sleep quality
- Improved appetite
- The greater overall quality of life
- Reduced need for prescription medications
Medical marijuana may not be the right choice for all patients with epilepsy. It’s crucial to talk to an experienced physician to learn if you may be a candidate for medical cannabis treatment.
At Tetra Holistic Care, our cannabis expert physicians can help determine if medical marijuana is the right course of treatment for you. Contact us today to request an appointment!