Medical Marijuana For Epilepsy In Tennessee
Does Epilepsy and Other Seizure Disorders Qualify for Medical Marijuana in Tennessee?
Epilepsy and seizure disorders are one of the most common neurological disorders. Affecting approximately 1.2% of the population, about 3.4 million people were living with active epilepsy in 2015 according to the CDC. Despite its prevalence and the serious impairment it can cause for those living with the disorder, scientists have not found a cure yet.
Thankfully, there are ways to manage the condition and keep seizures and side effects to a minimum. One such treatment is medical cannabis, which is approved in Tennessee for medical use by epilepsy patients. Epilepsy patients are eligible to use medical marijuana to ease their symptoms and control seizures.
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What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder 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 lifetime. 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 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 often there is no known cause for the condition. This makes it a very difficult condition to treat, especially if standard treatment methods such as pharmaceutical medication have little or no effect on someone’s epilepsy or seizure severity.
Treating Epilepsy and Seizures with Cannabis
Currently, the most widely prescribed treatment for epilepsy is pharmaceutical medication. Despite the wide variety of medications available, many people are not effectively treated by these medications.
By some estimates, nearly a third of people with epilepsy have a treatment-resistant form of the disorder, meaning that currently available medications do not help their condition. Without a way to manage seizures, epilepsy can become a highly debilitating disease.
For people that do choose to treat their epilepsy with pharmaceutical medication, they 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 pharmaceutical medications do not help some people, makes cannabis an approachable alternative as a viable treatment option in Tennessee.
Medical cannabis used 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 successfully treated their seizures with other medication.
The fact that CBD has been proven to be effective for treatment-resistant types of epilepsy opens the door for thousands of people who were previously living without any way to manage their symptoms.
There have also been minimal adverse effects related to 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 cannabis with a medical professional. If you would like to learn more about medical cannabis and take the first step towards treating epilepsy with CBD, please reach out to us, we’re here to help!