Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes repeated, unprovoked seizures over a period of time, causing an unusual behavior, sensations, and loss of awareness in the individuals with epilepsy.
More than 50 million people worldwide are affected by this disorder, and 468,000 of those are children. There is not only one, but almost 40 different types and ways a person may seize, and each child or person have different seizures.
Epilepsy is an incurable disorder, but there are medicines that can control seizures for most of the patients. However, if common medicines are not functioning well, people tend to resort to alternative treatments. That's where CBD comes in.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the hundreds of compounds found in the cannabis plant, which holds a wide variety of medicinal and therapeutic effects.
Besides having important medicinal effects, CBD is also crucially important because this compound lack any psychoactive effects, unlike THC, that is mostly known for making people high.
Since this compound does not make the users high, CBD is a perfect medicine for treating medical problems in children. After seeing no results in standard treatments, many parents are moving to medical marijuana treatment for their children.
Recently the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved a CBD-based medicine named EPIDIOLEX, an oral solution that is supposed to treat seizures associated with types of epilepsy syndromes – Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome – in children of two years old or older.
This is the first FDA approved medication to treat seizures related to the Dravet syndrome and also the first marijuana-derived medication to win federal approval in the US.
Recent years have brought a wealth of studies suggesting that marijuana may be effective for treating epilepsy. Researchers have found evidence from laboratory studies, anecdotal reports, and small clinical studies that CBD has the ability to control seizures.
In addition to positive scientific results, parents from all around the US and world have stated their children have had significant improvements to even becoming seizure free after the treatment with CBD.
Elizabeth Aquino is a writer and one of those mothers who has experienced the improvement of her child Sophie Aquino after being treated with CBD. Sophie was diagnosed with infantile spasms in 1995, and according to her mother, her seizures that used to occur every single night decreased by 90%.
“Within one week of giving Sophie her first dose of CBD oil, she had the first seizure-free day of her life. By the end of the month, she had periods of up to two weeks without seizures. Over the next three years, I was able to eliminate one of the two antiepileptic drugs she’d been taking for over seven years," said Sophie's mother.
There are currently 30 US states that have a medical marijuana program, which most of them include either epilepsy or seizure in their list of qualifying conditions. In the states which there aren't medical marijuana programs, parents of children with epilepsy advocate for the legalization of medical cannabis to treat their children.
In some cases, some parents like Meagan Patrick move away from their hometown to another state where cannabis is legalized to treat their child. Megan's 5-year-old daughter, Addelyn, was born with a brain malformation that causes seizures and she has been treated with CBD since 2014 when she moved to Colorado.
"My child was dying, and we needed to do something," said Patrick in an interview to CBS.
There’s plenty of information out there about the benefits that a CBD treatment has brought to patients with epilepsy, and with Epidiolex patients from all across the US may be finally getting access to the beneficial properties of CBD.
In the past, it was extremely difficult for parents of epileptic children and other patients to obtain CBD products. However since the legalization of hemp-based CBD in the US, it’s easier than ever for patients, children and adults alike, to access the products they need to gain control of their lives. Perhaps the simplest route would be for a patient to get their medical marijuana card, and gain access to dispensaries right in their area who will serve them the proper products.