Medical Marijuana for Epilepsy & Seizures
in South Carolina
Does Epilepsy and Other Seizure Disorders Qualify for Medical Marijuana in South Carolina?
Epilepsy, including seizure disorders, is the fourth most common neurological disease. Despite its prevalence and the serious impediment it can cause in the lives of people with the disease, scientists have yet to find a cure. Thankfully, there are ways to manage the condition and keep seizures and side effects to a minimum. One such treatment is medical marijuana, which will soon be available in South Carolina. Epilepsy patients are eligible to use medical marijuana to ease their symptoms and control seizures.
Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy and Other Seizure Disorders
Currently, the most widely prescribed treatment for epilepsy is pharmaceutical medication. Despite the wide variety of medications available, many people still are not effectively treated by these treatments. By some estimates, roughly a third of people with epilepsy have treatment-resistant types of the disease, meaning that currently available medications do not help their condition. Without a way to manage seizures, epilepsy becomes a highly debilitating disease.
The people that do choose to treat their epilepsy with medication, often face unpleasant side effects such as dizziness, sleep disturbances, skin rashes, memory problems, and more. The problem of unpleasant side effects, coupled with the fact that pharmaceuticals do not help some people, makes it all the better that cannabis will be available as another treatment option in South Carolina.
Medical marijuana for epilepsy treatment has been studied for years. Specifically, cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive component of marijuana, is effective at controlling and reducing the occurrence of seizures. Cannabidiol (CBD) will not produce the “high” that many people associate with marijuana. As a non-psychoactive substance, CBD does not seriously impact one’s mental state. Rather, it works with receptors in the body to impact things such as pain, inflammation, and anxiety. Notably, CBD can also function as an anticonvulsant.
A study published in The Lancet Neurology in 2015 examined the impact of CBD on treatment-resistant types of epilepsy and found that CBD could reduce seizure frequency for people who have not been successfully treated with medication. The fact that CBD has been proven effective for treatment-resistant types of epilepsy opens the door for thousands of people who previously were living with epilepsy without any way to manage their symptoms. They also found minimal adverse effects related to the CBD treatment, another positive note given the side effects that accompany many existing medications.
The efficacy of cannabis for treating epilepsy is promising. If you or someone you love is living with epilepsy and is interested in the benefits of CBD, discuss medical marijuana with a medical professional. If you would like to learn more about medical marijuana and take the first step towards treating epilepsy with CBD, please reach out. We’re here to help!
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a chronic, neurological disease that causes recurrent seizures. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, an estimated 65 million people worldwide are living with the condition, and 1 in 26 people in the United States will develop epilepsy at some point in their lives. Someone is diagnosed with epilepsy if they have two or more seizures without an apparent, treatable, or reversible cause.
Under the umbrella of epilepsy, someone may experience many different kinds of seizures. The two major categories of seizures are generalized seizures, which affect both sides of the brain, and focal seizures, which start in one specific area of the brain. Where in the brain the seizure originates, how much of the brain it impacts, and its duration all influence the effect of the seizure on someone’s body.
Sometimes, the onset of epilepsy can be attributed to a traumatic brain injury or genetics. But, most of the time there is no known cause for the condition. That makes it all the more frustrating when standard treatment methods such as medication have little or no effect on someone’s epilepsy and seizure severity.