For kids with uncontrolled seizures, technically an illegal drug offers hope. Parents are desperate for relief and are taking unusual steps to help their children plagued with seizures. The relief, however, comes in a most unlikely form: marijuana. As many as 30 percent of people with epilepsy or about one million Americans still have seizures while on FDA approved treatments. Its left parents who have children with seizures turning to medical marijuana and its derivatives in an attempt to take back control of a disease with no cure.

How much scientific evidence is there for cannabis effectiveness? Dr. Samba Reddy from the Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine studies therapies for epilepsy. “There is a lot of media attention about how medical marijuana is good for epilepsy. We became interested in finding out whether there was scientific evidence in the literature to support the claims of these people who have seen great benefits.” They found a compound in Marijuana that reacts with the brain to aid in anti-seizure action; however, the exact mode of action is unclear. These compounds may provide benefits without some of the risks or the legal issues associated with the plant. BUT there must be standard clinical trials to answer these questions which is not easy since cannabis is still listed as a Schedule 1 substance by the federal government; therefore, gaining permission to use it in research on human participants is extremely difficult. It is important that these trials take place since some people have seen at least 50 percent reduction in seizures.

The Epilepsy Foundation doesn’t specifically discourage cannabis use, but urges anyone exploring this treatment to work closely with their physician. “Despite all the controversy about medical marijuana as a potential therapy for seizures,” Reddy concludes, “most people agree that what we need is greater rigorous scientific study into cannabinoids to prove or disprove their safety and efficacy.” Read the full article: Houston Medical Times, article by Christina Sumners

For those parents looking for other treatments for your child suffering from seizures, please meet with your doctor and discuss these options. Texas, in a law passed during the last legislative session in 2015, legalized low-THC cannabis oils for people with intractable epilepsy. It never hurts to ask!

Susie Bean Team