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How Medical Marijuana Offers Relief in Treating Epilepsy

Updated: Jan 16, 2021

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 dealing with it. While there’s still much we don’t understand about epilepsy, and we don’t have a cure, researchers are making great strides in better managing the neurological condition through medical marijuana.

At Coastal Wellness Centers, we specialize 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 manage 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:

  • Blacking out

  • Loss of awareness while still conscious

  • Jerking or twitching movements

  • Convulsion

  • Lack of movement (your muscles go rigid)

  • Repetitive movements

These are just some of the many possible side effects of a seizure, demonstrating 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. And while there are many effective anti-seizure medications on the market, 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. The reason for the tremendous 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 legalize marijuana and research continues, the findings are encouraging. For instance, 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.

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