If there’s one question that everyone is asking today, it’s this one: why not legalize pot in the US? Doctors are starting to prescribe cannabis oil to treat patients with a variety of medical problems, and there’s a growing demand for cannabis to treat some forms of epilepsy. In particular, many parents exhausted from watching their children suffer through multiple seizures per day are now heavily advocating for the right to treat their children with cannabis without fear of legal charges.
Is Pot Really the Answer?
While some patients are able to control seizures with medication, there are many people suffering from retractable seizures that aren’t controllable with medications currently on the market. Many patients, including small children, endure brain surgeries and suffer crippling side effects of dangerous medications in attempt to control their epilepsy. Unfortunately, many of these treatments come with long-term consequences that lead to more medical problems.
When approved medications prove ineffective, patients start looking for alternatives. This is especially true of parents watching their children suffer from uncontrollable seizures on a daily or weekly basis. Many are moving to states where pot has already been legalized, and surveys of parents are showing mixed results regarding the effectiveness of cannabis for seizure control.
In one case, survey results determined that parents moving into legalized states reported better results than parents already living in legalized states. This suggests that parents desperate enough to move to a new state may perceive better results than may actually exist, but there is another factor to consider: these surveys include all parents of children with epilepsy regardless of their specific diagnosis, the strain of cannabis used or the dosage used.
Here are some things to keep in mind when considering those generalized surveys:
1. There are many different types of epilepsy, and patients with the same diagnosis may display different symptoms.
2. Different forms of epilepsy respond to different types of medication, and each patient responds to medication differently. What works well for one patient may not work at all for another, even when they share a diagnosis. Researchers are now starting to conduct studies with patients of specific forms of epilepsy to determine whether there are genetic markers that predispose some people to responding to cannabis better than others. This may explain the mixed results seen in surveys considering children of random diagnoses.
3. It’s likely that some strains of cannabis are more effective for the treatment of epilepsy than others. Many studies are now using specific strains from specialty growers, such as the Charlotte’s Web strain.
While further research is needed to maximize effectiveness when treating epilepsy with cannabis, many patients are already controlling their seizures through the legal and illegal use of pot. According to Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE), strains with high concentrations of cannabidiol, or CBD, have the greatest potential to help control seizures, but research is limited due to “regulatory hurdles” that limit access to cannabis for research purposes. This is just one of many cases in which legalization of pot could impact thousands of lives for the better.