Epilepsy is a central nervous system disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal, causing seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations, and sometimes loss of awareness. [1] It is the fourth most common neurological disorder in the United States, affecting around 1 percent of all children. Symptoms of epilepsy can affect them at any age, and while some children outgrow it, it can become a lifelong condition for those who do not. 

A seizure – a surge of electrical activity in the brain— can be the result of many things, but often their cause is unknown.  A person is considered epileptic when they have two or more unprovoked seizures, and they can be diagnosed by performing different tests such as a neurological exam, blood tests, and an electroencephalogram (EEG). 

If you or someone you know suffers from a seizure disorder and you have questions regarding Florida’s medical marijuana program, our team of medical professionals are here to help! Begin the process of becoming a legal Florida medical marijuana patient by completing our online eligibility survey in five minutes or less!

Meet Katherine, a hardworking mother of four, who decided to treat her 12-year-old epileptic daughter with medical marijuana.

 

Q: When was your daughter diagnosed with epilepsy?

“Right away, I knew something wasn’t quite right with my little girl. But she seemed happy and healthy so we went home optimistic for what our future daughters’ life will hold. Then around the time she was 7-months old, I noticed her arm and leg stiffen and she kind of lost the expression on her face and I knew right away she was suffering from her first seizure. I took her to her the emergency room, where they ran some tests, and during those tests she had three more episodes. It took us two more trips to the ER before we got into a specialist, and that was when she was officially diagnosed.”

 

Q: How long has she been a medical cannabis patient?

“In 2016 I started giving her an over the counter CBD oil. My husband and I took her to her first exam with DocMJ in September of 2017, and she was approved towards the end of October.”

 

Q: How were you treating her symptoms before?

She was put on an anti-epilepsy drug (AED) which helped reduce the amount of her seizures throughout the day but did not get rid of them. It was really tough at the beginning, especially because she didn’t really understand what her seizures were and why they were affecting her. I also kept her nutritional options as healthy and organic as possible since she can’t really keep active with her condition.”

 

Q: Why did you choose medical cannabis as an option for your her?

“Around the summer of 2015 a friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in a few years met me for lunch and she seemed a lot happier than usual. We talked for a little bit when she finally tells me she had been taking hemp CBD oil and it was working wonders for her. I brushed it off, thinking it was some new health fad that would soon fade away. Then, in 2016 Florida legalized the use of medical marijuana for certain conditions – one of them being epilepsy. The two instances fueled something in me like I knew this is what I needed to do for my little girl. I started to do my own research on how marijuana oils were helping people who suffer from seizures, specifically in children.

It took a lot of conversing with my husband, but we finally decided to give medical marijuana a shot. At first, I was really nervous – I mean what kind of parent voluntarily gives their children a schedule 1 substance?  But after chatting with one of DocMJ’s patient care coordinators I felt reassured that the appointment would be stress free and that the doctor I was taking her to see was very knowledgeable with marijuana and pediatrics. 

Coming into the appointment, we still had our doubts. I asked the doctor every question I could think of and he answered all of them with patience and understanding. At the end, we were convinced that medical marijuana was going to give our angel the help we have been desperately searching for since that first night in the ER.”

 

Q: Have you seen results?

“Absolutely, it’s almost surreal. I have been administering medical marijuana to my daughter in tincture form and capsules, and she keeps the nasal spray on her at all times in case of an emergency. When she was taking her AED medicine, she was still having around eight to ten seizures a day. Now she has maybe three a week. Because of being treated with low THC products, she is able to participate in more outdoor activities. We just signed her up for archery last month and she has been able to do that now as well. 

We were really skeptical to treat our daughter with medical marijuana at, but now we are activists in our community because of how incredible of results we have witnessed with her.”

 

Summary

While medical marijuana is no cure for epilepsy, it has been showing great results for relieving the symptoms associated with it. In June of 2018, the FDA even approved Epidoliex, a solution to treat seizures that contains CBD. [2] If you or a loved one suffer from a seizure disorder, and you are ready to take the next step towards a happier and healthier you like Katherine did for her daughter, schedule a risk-free medical marijuana evaluation with one of our certified Florida Medical Marijuana doctors.  

[1] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/epilepsy/symptoms-causes/syc-20350093

[2] https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-drug-comprised-active-ingredient-derived-marijuana-treat-rare-severe-forms

[3] https://www.apa.org/pi/disability/resources/publications/newsletter/2016/08/medical-cannabis

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6143823/

[5]http://www.theroc.us/researchlibrary/Cannabis%20in%20the%20Treatment%20of%20Pediatric%20Epilepsy.pdf

[6] https://www.epilepsycolorado.org/news-research/medical-marijuana/medical-marijuana-faqs/