Epilepsy is a chronic disease that causes unprovoked, seizures regularly. A seizure is defined a sudden rush of electrical activity in the brain that causes uncontrollable shaking. There are two main types of seizures, general and focal. Generalized seizures affect the whole brain. Focal, or partial seizures, affect just one part of the brain. Each type has several subtypes and we’ll discuss a few.
Simple partial epileptic seizures don’t involve a loss of consciousness. However, symptoms do include distorted taste, smell, sight, hearing and touch as well as dizziness, tingling and twitching. Complex seizures involve either a loss of awareness or a loss of consciousness. Other symptoms include staring blankly, performing repetitive movements and/or unresponsiveness.
Tonic seizures only involve muscle stiffness while atonic seizures lead to loss of muscle control where the main danger is falling and hitting your head. Clonic seizures cause repeated, jerky muscle movements in the face, neck and arms.
Causes of Epilepsy
For over 60% of people with epilepsy the cause can’t be determined. In the other close to 40% it seems to mostly be heredity. There is a list of things, however, that we know can lead to seizures and those include:
- traumatic brain injuries
- scarring on the brain after a brain injury (called post-traumatic epilepsy)
- grave illness or very high fever (over 105 degrees)
- stroke (which is a leading cause of epilepsy in people over age 35)
- other vascular diseases
- lack of oxygen to the brain
- brain tumors or cysts
- dementia or Alzheimer’s
- maternal drug use, prenatal injury, brain malformation, or lack of oxygen at birth
- infectious diseases such as AIDS and meningitis
- genetic or developmental disorders or neurological diseases
Looking through your medical history and symptoms will help your doctor decide which tests will be helpful to run. You’ll probably have a neurological examination to test your motor abilities and mental functioning first. In order to diagnose epilepsy, other conditions that cause seizures have to be ruled out.
Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy
This disease cannot be cured but medical marijuana eases symptoms to give patients a better quality of life. MM has been used to treat epilepsy and stop seizures for at least a century. Additionally:
- “One recent study found that the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) appears to be helpful in treating epileptic seizures in children. The researchers observed that for children with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and dissociative seizures, those given a treatment of oral CBD experienced a significant reduction in the frequency of their seizures compared to those taking a placebo; nearly 40 percent of those taking CBD had their seizure frequency reduced by 50 percent or more.
- Separately, a recent evaluation of combination CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabis oil also saw a significant drop in seizure frequency among children with Dravet syndrome, with seizure frequency reduced by an average of 70 percent over the course of the 20-week study period.” (Analytical Cannabis Co)
Marijuana strains that help with associated proteins and anxiety include:
- Mud Bite: This indica-dominant strain relieves anxiety and promotes a good night’s sleep along with helping with muscle stiffness.
- Double Stuffed Sorbet: This hybrid strain is 50/50, combining the best qualities of both. It relaxes your mind and and keeps you energized at the same time as many patients suffer from fatigue since seizures can be very exhausting.
- Robert Plant: This potent sativa gives patients a head rush and many claim that it has helped them have seizures less frequency. The results on this one are purely anecdotal but seem to be reliable.
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