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How Medical Marijuana Offers Relief in Treating Epilepsy

Approximately 3 million people in the United States suffer from epilepsy, which is a seizure disorder that can place serious limitations on the lives of those who are dealing with it. 

While there’s still much that we don’t understand about epilepsy, and we don’t have a cure, researchers are making significant inroads in better managing the neurological condition through medical marijuana.

At Coastal Wellness Centers, our team, led by Joseph Rosado, MD, Kathryne Gunn, DO, and Alyn L. Benezette, DO, specializes in the use of medical marijuana to treat a wide range of health issues, from epilepsy to chronic pain.

Here’s a look at why so many epilepsy sufferers are turning to medical marijuana to help control their symptoms.

Epilepsy 101

The first thing to understand about epilepsy is that it is a catchall term for a number of neurological issues that lead to seizures. In fact, the terms epilepsy and seizure disorder are interchangeable.

The second point is that epilepsy is a spectrum disorder with widely varying degrees of severity. For example, if a person has two or more seizures, they’re considered to have epilepsy, even if those two seizures are the only ones they ever have.

On the other end of the spectrum are those who suffer frequent seizures, sometimes with a warning, sometimes without. 

Complicating matters even further, when you have a seizure, it means there’s a sudden burst of abnormal electrical activity in your brain, and this activity can lead to any number of symptoms, including:

This list is only a sample of the many possible side effects of a seizure, and it’s meant to illustrate that there’s no one-size-fits-all seizure as you see in the movies.

Treating epilepsy

Since seizures are unpredictable, the goal with epilepsy is to prevent them in the first place. There are many effective anti-seizure medications on the market, but they can lead to serious side effects, like impaired cognitive function.

Here at Coastal Wellness Centers, we offer medical marijuana, which has been a treatment for epilepsy (and many other conditions) for millennia. Unfortunately, since the federal government scheduled marijuana as a “class 1” drug in 1970, studies about its health benefits have been in short supply.

The reason for the interest in cannabis as a medical treatment is because the human body is equipped with a natural endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a cell-signaling network that influences, among other things, your nervous system.

Of the hundreds of ingredients in marijuana, two have been shown to bind to the receptors in your ECS — delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

As more states begin to legalize marijuana, research has picked up again, and the findings are encouraging.

For example, one study that involved 100 participants demonstrated that using CBD (one of the primary active ingredients in the cannabis plant) resulted in a significant reduction in seizure frequency.

If you would like to explore how medical marijuana may help with your epilepsy, please contact one of our two locations in Ormond Beach or DeLand, Florida, to set up an appointment, either by phone or by requesting an appointment online. You can also send a message to our team here on the website.

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