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Potential Medicinal Benefits of Cannabis for Epilepsy

Heather Suhr
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There are more than enough pharmaceutical drugs in the market today, not because of the need per se, but because of the financial incentives. The fact is that many holistic treatments and medicines are readily available and as effective as western drugs, with less side effects.

Cannabis is such a medicine. According to Dr. Gedde, owner and founder of Gedde Whole Health in Colorado, “It’s time to ask questions and look at a new way of thinking about this plant.” (1,2)

There appears to be ample evidence that cannabis is a promising natural medicine. More specifically, some evidence shows that cannabis may be effective in reducing the rate of seizures in children. (1,3)

A brief overview of the cannabis plant: two distinct properties

The cannabis plant has two medicinal properties: cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The THC has psychoactive properties that makes people feel ‘stoned,’ however CBD is not state-altering. The entire plant also contains a variety of terpenes with medicinal properties. (1)

In order for the cannabis plant to be use in human medical treatments, the plant must contain higher doses of CBD. Some growers have started producing plants with higher CBD and lower THC. (1)

Currently, Washington DC and 23 other states have already legalized medical marijuana. (4) Additionally, 9 other states have pending legalization of medical marijuana as of April 6th, 2015. (5)

Limited cannabis research on children with seizures, but some are documented

In the most recent policy updated by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in January 2015, the document acknowledged that while they oppose the use the marijuana outside of the regulatory process of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, they recognized that “marijuana may currently be an option for cannabinoid administration for children with life-limiting or severely debilitating conditions and for whom current therapies are inadequate.” (3)

In Dr. Gedde’s experience, when giving cannabis oil to children, approximately 25% of them experienced a rapid reduction in seizures. She noted that results vary and not every child will respond immediately; some children are sensitized to medications and they need to start with smaller doses. (1)

Some hospitals still object the use of cannabis with children, especially for uncontrolled seizures and the lack of evidence supporting long-term use of CBD. Dr. Gedde says that’s a good point and one must weigh many different options before deciding whether the use of CBD is a good choice for children on an individualized basis. (1)

An awareness shift: U.S. Surgeon General On the State of Marijuana

It appears that the U.S. is starting to shift their perspectives on the use of cannabis as a medical value for patients. Fairly recently, the U.S. Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, spoke out his favor in the use of medical marijuana. “We have some preliminary data showing that for certain medical conditions and symptoms, marijuana can be helpful,” said Dr. Murthy, who became surgeon general in December. (6)

Dr. Murthy’s statement is yet another in the growing viewpoint regarding the medical benefits of marijuana. Perhaps there are more hurdles to come, but it at least the potential healing of marijuana is not being ignored as it was in the past.

Sources for this article include:
(1) articles.mercola.com
(2) www.geddewholehealth.com
(3) pediatrics.aappublications.org
(4) medicalmarijuana.procon.org
(5) medicalmarijuana.procon.org
(6) www.reuters.com

Image source: flic.kr

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