Weed and Its Effect on People Who Suffer from Seizures
Suffering from seizures can be terrifying to experience, especially if the seizure is part of the more extensive condition of epilepsy. A disruption in brain function can send anyone into an attack resulting in fits, shaking, and disorientation. However, a long history of the usage of marijuana to aid victims of seizures is now meeting rigorous scientific study, and results are promising. How might something like weed help with seizures?
How do Seizures occur, and what are the symptoms?
A seizure is an episode of uncontrolled electrical activity between brain cells that causes temporary problems with muscle tone or movements, behavior, sensation, or state of awareness. A seizure attack may look like uncontrolled stiffness, twitch, or limpness in the victim’s limbs. However, seizures also vary a great deal – single event seizures can be triggered in a number of ways. When seizures are recurring, this is known as epilepsy. Epilepsy, rather than single event seizures, is where weed may be most useful.
Neurons (brain cells) communicate through electrical impulses, but those impulses, when disrupted, can trigger a seizure. However, some types of seizures can also be the result of a genetic mutation. The most common cause of a seizure is epilepsy, but other causes can include:
- Extreme fevers
- Flashing lights, moving patterns, or visual stimulation
- Abnormalities in the blood vessels of the brain
The number of causes can vary quite a bit. If something can disrupt the natural electrical activity of the brain, it can cause a seizure. Because seizures’ intensity, cause, and frequency can vary so much, a professional diagnosis is necessary before looking into marijuana-based treatment. Weed for seizures can be useful, but a doctor’s input is necessary.
A Note on Epilepsy
Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder in the world and affects people of all ages. Epilepsy is a seizure disorder characterized by unpredictable recurring seizures. Left unchecked, these seizures can lead to other health problems. Just as seizures vary widely from person to person, epilepsy is a spectrum condition that encompasses a wide array of seizures.
Epileptic seizures are normally caused by observable things, such as flashing lights or head injuries. A person is diagnosed with epilepsy if they have two unprovoked seizures that were not caused by some new and reversible medical condition. Weed for seizures can potentially reduce the challenges associated with epilepsy.
Typically, seizures are classified into either focal seizures or generalized-onset seizures. Focal seizures will start in one place in the brain and then spread elsewhere. The symptoms can range from mild to severe based on the amount of the brain that is under duress. Generalized-onset seizures are considered surges of abnormal nerve discharges in the brain and may have a genetic marker. Such a genetic marker has a significant impact on the seizure threshold. Marijuana does show promise in reducing the seizure threshold, however.
Undergoing a seizure can be terrifying, with victims often suggesting they notice minor symptoms through an “aura” that lets them know something is happening to their bodies. As the seizure spreads, more symptoms appear. There may be cognitive issues, such as confusion or feeling dazed. Physical symptoms then occur, which can include shaking, muscle stiffening, fumbling, or chewing motions.
Weed for seizure treatment shows promise in reducing symptoms. While it is certainly not the same thing as just using marijuana for seizures, the FDA has actually approved two medications containing THC; both are for different forms of epilepsy.
How does marijuana help seizure victims?
Marijuana has the effect it does on our bodies due to cannabinoid receptors. These naturally occurring sites in the body absorb several chemicals found in cannabis, such as THC and CBD. These receptors have been found all over the body and even in the brain and central nervous system, involving the mitochondria. These receptors are what help weed treat seizure symptoms.
Because of how endocannabinoids work in the brain, there is evidence suggesting that marijuana can affect the seizure threshold. One study reviewed claims of antiepileptic properties of cannabidiol on human minds. History has even recorded the long association of marijuana with the treatment of epilepsy.
One of the few FDA-approved medications for seizure treatment that uses THC is Epidiolex. As more studies on marijuana treatment for seizures by the FDA come to light, there will be more updates. As it stands, though there is a historical tradition of using weed for seizures, medical science is slowly rolling out dedicated research to try to confirm these effects.
How can Ozark MMJ Cards help?
Seizures, including those with the characteristics of epilepsy, are included on the list of 18 qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in Arkansas, and they may be a qualifying condition in your state, too.
If you are worried you exhibit signs of seizures or have a confirmed history of seizures, reach out to an expert at Ozark MMJ Cards. Register for an appointment to begin the process of a medical marijuana card certification.
Ozark MMJ Cards has doctors on staff to answer your questions about medicinal marijuana.