Epilepsy is one of America’s most common neurological disorders, with seizures affecting nearly 3.5 million people every year. It’s an extremely complex condition that can often strike without much advance warning – in fact, half of epilepsy cases arise without a known cause.
November is Epilepsy Awareness Month, a time dedicated to not only raising the profile of the disorder but also to educating the public about the nuances between seizure types and proper procedures for administering help to those experiencing one. Although seizures are uncontrollable electrical disturbances in the brain, there’s still a stigma associated with them due to misconceptions about what epilepsy is, and the oftentimes violent nature of the condition.
Like many disorders involving the neurological system, cannabis is starting to gain momentum as a potentially viable way of treating symptoms. CBD in particular has been studied as a natural option for epilepsy patients, with the FDA approving the first drug formulated with CBD to treat certain types of severe epilepsy in children and adults. While cannabis alone doesn’t stop seizures and should not be taken in lieu of prescribed medications, there is growing evidence that the plant may help reduce frequency or severity within patients suffering from epilepsy.
Where cannabis shows the most promise in epilepsy patients is in treating the psychological side effects of the disorder. Many patients, especially ones who’ve experienced debilitating seizures for much of their lives, also suffer from mood disorders and the anxiety that comes with not knowing when the next seizure will come. Cannabis can help patients improve their appetite and get more sleep, leading to a better overall state of mind.