For the 300,000 Canadians living with epilepsy, a seizure can strike at any time. 

These recurrent and unexpected episodes can cause sufferers to experience confusion, loss of consciousness and uncontrollable movement of the arms and legs. Although each seizure can have different symptoms, experiencing them is stressful for both the individual and those trying to help them.

This chronic disorder, characterized by abnormal electrical activity in the brain, is often attributed to brain injury or family history. However, many cases have an unknown cause. And for now, the disorder does not have a cure.

How is Epilepsy Treated?

Many people living with epilepsy can manage their seizures using anti-epileptic medication. Although effective, this treatment option can result in a variety of side effects including fatigue, speech problems and lack of coordination. Surgery and restrictive diets may also be recommended to help reduce seizure frequency and duration.

Unfortunately, approximately 40% of epilepsy cases do not respond to traditional anti-epileptic medications. This can be very problematic, especially for children suffering from the condition. Drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE) can be associated with developmental delays in children and infants, so finding effective treatment options are imperative. 

Recently, many parents and patients alike are reaching for a natural alternative that is improving the quality of life for those living with epilepsy: cannabis.

CBD to Treat Rare and Severe Forms of Epilepsy

Cannabis flew into the spotlight as a potential treatment for epilepsy back in 2013 when the story of Charlotte Figi made headline news. Charlotte’s condition, known as Dravet Syndrome, caused seizures so frequent and severe that her ability to eat, walk and talk became impaired. Her parents, desperate for a solution, decided to try medical cannabis despite the concern of those around them.

The treatment, rich in cannabidiol (CBD), dramatically reduced Charlotte’s seizures. The results were so amazing that the strain used to treat her condition was subsequently named “Charlotte’s Web.” Cannabis has continued to be used to treat severe forms of epilepsy, and 2018, the FDA approved the first drug comprised of marijuana as an active ingredient to treat these rare conditions.  

Cannabis and Seizures: More Exciting Research

In a survey conducted the same year as Charlotte’s story was published, 19 parents belonging to an online forum for families with epilepsy tried CBD enriched cannabis. 84% of participants reported a reduction in their child’s seizure frequency. Impressively, two of the families reported complete seizure freedom altogether.

Another exciting study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2017. In this double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, children with drug-resistant seizures were given an oral solution of cannabidiol. These patients experienced the greatest reduction in convulsion seizures within the study.

Although these examples are extremely positive, many cannabis naysayers will argue that there is simply not enough research to support the hype. Luckily, the widespread interest in the link between cannabis (CBD specifically) has piqued the interest of the medical community and more exciting research is underway.

Cannabis for Epilepsy: Visit our Calgary and Edmonton medical cannabis clinics

Your appointment is free and covered by Alberta Health Services. Before your medical consultation with one of our licensed physicians, our Cann-Experts will educate you on how medical cannabis works in our body and how it reacts to our endocannabinoid system.

During your education session with a Cann-Expert, you will learn:

  1. The main differences between an Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid strain
  2. Benefits of THC, CBD, and Balanced strains
  3. The body’s unique Endocannabinoid Systems (ECS)
  4. The timing of inhalation vs ingestion

At the time of your consultation, your Revolution Medical Cannabis doctor will review your medical history and ensure that cannabis will not conflict with any medications you’re currently taking.

Our Calgary and Edmonton medical cannabis prescribing doctors can help prescribe an epilepsy management plan that may help you or your child with managing seizure frequency and duration. Our team will guide you in selecting a licensed cannabis producer as well as the registration.

Schedule your free appointment today.

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