Seizures can be debilitating. They can have a profound impact on your physical and mental health. Around 3.4 million Americans live with epilepsy. But in recent years, there’s been an increase in recommending medical marijuana for seizures and epilepsy, and it’s garnered considerable attention as a potential treatment option.
In this article, we’ll look at:
- symptoms, causes, and treatment of epilepsy
- alternative therapies beyond conventional medicine
- promising results of medical marijuana for seizures in children and adults
- how to obtain a medical marijuana card in Florida
Understanding Epilepsy: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments
In general, a seizure is a sudden, abnormal electrical activity in the brain that can cause changes in behavior, movements, feelings, and consciousness. A variety of factors can cause seizures. These factors might include:
- head injuries
- brain infections
- brain tumors
- drug and alcohol abuse
It’s common for people to think of seizures and epilepsy as synonymous. However, as you can see from the above list, not all seizures are caused by epilepsy.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that’s characterized by recurrent seizures and convulsions. Some of the most common causes of epilepsy are:
- brain injury
- brain tumors
Diagnosis of epilepsy typically involves a neurological exam, medical history, and imaging tests like an EEG, MRI, or CT scan. Once you have a diagnosis, there are several treatments available for both epilepsy and seizures in general. The most common are:
- lifestyle changes (getting enough sleep, avoiding alcohol, etc.)
So let’s move on to considering some of the alternative treatments that can help in avoiding seizures.
10 Alternative Therapies for Seizures: Beyond Conventional Medicine
Combining conventional medical treatments with complementary and alternative therapies may help reduce the frequency and severity of seizures. In some cases, alternative therapies alone may prove effective in cases of treatment-resistant epilepsy.
Here are 10 possible therapies to consider.
- Ketogenic diet: A high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet has been shown to reduce seizures in some people with epilepsy. The diet can be effective for epilepsy in children and adults with epilepsy, particularly those with difficult-to-control seizures.
- Herbal remedies: Certain herbs like skullcap and valerian root may have anticonvulsant effects.
- Mind-body therapies such as meditation and yoga may help to reduce stress and improve overall wellbeing, which can help with seizure control.
- Essential oils like lavender, chamomile, and frankincense may have calming and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Vitamin and mineral supplements such as vitamin B6, magnesium, and vitamin E may help to reduce seizure frequency.
- Massage therapy may help to reduce stress and anxiety, which can potentially help with seizure control.
- Acupuncture: By focusing on specific acupressure points for epilepsy, acupuncture can calm the nervous system and reduce the frequency of seizures.
- Chiropractic care: Applying pressure and performing adjustments in certain areas of the spine may offer relief and help patients experience fewer seizures. Research has shown that this can be an effective therapy for minors and adults.
- Biofeedback uses electrical sensors to alter brain waves and may help stabilize the areas of instability in your brain if you live with epilepsy.
- Medical marijuana: Cannabinoids may help in reducing seizures and be a potential therapy for drug-resistant seizures in children and adults.
Medical Marijuana for Seizures: Promising Results for Treatment-Resistant Epilepsy
The use of medical marijuana for seizures is still relatively new. Nevertheless, there are already studies that show promising results in reducing the frequency and severity of seizures in people living with epilepsy, particularly those with treatment-resistant epilepsy.
Researchers from the NYU Grossman School of Medicine have recently found that CBD, one of the cannabinoids in marijuana, blocked the brain signals that trigger seizures. This study focused on treatment-resistant pediatric epilepsies.
A similar study was also conducted by researchers from Imperial College London, where whole-plant medicinal cannabis was effective in reducing seizures in children with intractable epilepsies.
While many of the alternative approaches, including medical marijuana, were shown to be effective in reducing seizures, it’s important to note that natural treatments for minors with epilepsy should be used under the guidance of a healthcare provider. This is because their developing brain may be more sensitive to the effects of certain supplements and therapies.
A Complementary Treatment Option
Prescribing medical marijuana for seizures is not a cure for epilepsy and should not be replacing other proven treatments. But it may be a helpful addition to other treatments for some people, specifically adults with treatment-resistant epilepsy.
Interestingly, studies have also shown that CBD may help adults with epilepsy to handle the adverse effects of anti-seizure medication, improving their quality of life.
Who Can Use Medical Marijuana in Florida?
Medical marijuana is legal in Florida for individuals with qualifying medical conditions, including epilepsy and seizures. To use medical marijuana for seizures in Florida, you need a Florida Medical Marijuana Card. That means you’ll have to
- get a recommendation from a qualified healthcare provider and
- register with the Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU).
Florida residents are not the only ones who can take advantage of medical marijuana treatment. You may like to know that seasonal residents require only 31 days of residency in Florida to be eligible for medical marijuana use.
Emerald Medical Group’s Integrative Approach to Medicine
Working closely with your healthcare provider is crucial to determine whether medical marijuana is safe and appropriate for your needs.
Our team at Emerald Medical Group is here to guide you every step of the way! If you’re wondering about taking medical marijuana for seizures, contact us today and let’s talk!