Billy Caldwell was 11 years old, dying from severe epilepsy. He was having having up to 100 grand mal seizures every day. His Mom did everything the doctors told her – tried every medication available, changed his diet. Nothing worked.
Billy’s epilepsy is intractable, which basically means it doesn’t respond to normal medicine. When epilepsy is bad enough to cause 100 seizures per day and doesn’t get better with medicine, it becomes life-threatening. Billy had no quality of life and struggled to do normal things like walk, talk, eat and sleep.
As a last resort, Billy’s Mom took him to the US to receive medical marijuana treatment. He immediately stopped having seizures and didn’t have another for 250 days. This amazing result meant that Billy’s life was saved and he could start to live like a normal child. His prescription was transferred to his doctor back home, Brendan O’Hare, and he became the first person in the UK to receive a prescription for medical marijuana.
This is just another piece of evidence that backs up what we, in the medical marijuana community, have known for years. CBD Oil is a miracle treatment.
Over the last ten years there has been many similar cases in the US and Canada. In 2013, the almost identical case of Charlotte Figi circulated the news channels. She was having 300 grand mal seizures a week, didn’t respond to any medication, and her parents tried CBD Oil as a last resort. The same amazing thing happened and her seizures were reduced to just a few per month.
Charlotte Figi’s story is one of the most famous and talked about CBD success stories. In fact, a particular strain of CBD Oil called Charlotte’s web was developed to help her and is now the most popular strains for treating epilepsy and similar illnesses. Created by the Stanley Brothers of Colorado the strain has a 30:1 ratio of CBD (the compound with medical properties) to THC (the unwanted compound that gives the psychoactive effects associated with cannabis).
Obviously, CBD Oil has amazing properties that saves lives. Unfortunately, it is not yet available in all pharmacies and hasn’t been FDA approved.
Back to Billy’s story. Just last week, Billy’s CBD medicine was confiscated when him and his Mother tried to travel to from the UK to Canada.
Because it is not legally available in the UK, the customs officers had to take the CBD Oil away. This became a big story in the UK, which resulted in the UK government handing Billy’s medicine back. This might seem like a small thing, but it creates precedent for future patients to get CBD Oil prescribed.
Fortunately, in North America, CBD Oil is easier to access and is quickly becoming the go-to treatment for epilepsy and other seizure related diseases.
Why CBD Is Not Available In Pharmacies Yet
CBD Oil hasn’t been approved by the FDA, which means it isn’t available in your local pharmacy and can’t be prescribed by your doctor. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a safe and effective treatment.
In April this year, a panel of experts – convened by the Food and Drug Administration – voted in favour of an ‘experimental’ CBD-based epilepsy drug. The drug, Epidiolex, has been in trials since 2016 and was created by one of the big pharmaceutical companies, GW Pharmaceuticals plc. While the drug isn’t FDA approved yet – that decision is expected in June – it does provide some peace of mind to people considering using CBD Oil as a treatment for seizures.
John Mendelson, one of the experts and a senior scientist at the Friends Research Institute, said, “This is clearly a breakthrough drug for an awful disease.”
If a panel of outside experts vote that a CBD-based drug is a safe and effective treatment, patients can start to feel a bit better about using CBD Oil. This is a landmark decision, that should hopefully lead to a wider acknowledgement of CBD Oil as a miracle treatment.
The amazing effects of CBD have been known for years, but to get FDA approved, a drug has to go through wide-scale testing. Until last year, the biggest study done on the effectiveness of CBD on seizures in humans, tested 162 patients. In the test, seizures were reduced by a monthly average of 36.5%, 5 patients saw motor seizures completely disappear and 2 patients became completely seizure free. While these results are generally positive, the study wasn’t of a high enough quality for FDA approval. Firstly, there was no placebo administered. All of the patients had CBD and were aware they were taking it. Secondly, the sample size wasn’t big enough – while 162 patients sounds like a lot, normal clinical trials would test thousands of people and be done over a number of months or years.
Fortunately, there are three large clinical trials currently researching the effects of CBD on epilepsy. One is specifically investigating children between 1-18 with epilepsy, attempting to determine the optimal dose of CBD to treat Dravet syndrome. Another is looking into CBD and drug-resistant epilepsy, the same as Billy’s condition.
What this means is that finally the wider medical community is taking note of the amazing healing properties of CBD Oil, hopefully meaning that patients can get access to it quicker than ever.
How It Works (And How To Know If It Will Work For You)
Before trying to understand how CBD Oil helps epilepsy, it’s important to understand what epilepsy is. It’s defined as abnormal and disorderly discharging of brain nerve cells which result in a disturbance of motor, sensory or mental functioning. When a person has an epileptic fit, they lose control of these functions, which is known as a seizure.
Healthy people, without epilepsy, can have seizures under certain circumstances. But it is normally caused by some damage to the brain, for example a tumor or head injury. It can also vary in severity. Billy Caldwell has an extremely severe case of epilepsy, that could threaten his life if left untreated.
It isn’t known exactly how CBD Oil helps epilepsy and other seizure-related conditions. There are, however, a few indicators. Firstly, there are compounds found in CBD Oil that are anticonvulsant. Anticonvulsant drugs are already used to treat epilepsy and bipolar disorder, amongst other conditions. They suppress the rapid firing of neurons during seizures and stop the seizure from spreading throughout the brain.
Another reason CBD Oil helps is that it prevents neuron damage, which can be one of the main causes of seizures.
If you are thinking about using CBD Oil to treat your epilepsy, you should be careful to source it from a reputable company. You might also want to consult with your doctor, although don’t be put off if they don’t recommend it. Because of the long history of stigma against medical marijuana, some doctors don’t like to nail their colours to the mast. Like with many illnesses, you have to find what works for you.
Traditional Alternatives For Epilepsy Sufferers
Around 30% of patients are resistant to traditional anticonvulsant seizure drugs. As well as this there is a long list of potential side effects including nausea, liver failure, headaches, irritability, hair-loss, depression, vision impairment, weight gain, sleep and mood disturbances and impotence. This is causing more and more patients to try CBD Oil as a healthier alternative, and encouraging more research.
The Future Of CBD Oil And Epilepsy
Just ten years ago, the end of this blog post would be very different. CBD Oil has come a long way as a medicine and the stigma is slowly being overtaken by the huge amounts of evidence surrounding CBD Oil’s amazing medical properties.
CBD Oil is even being used to treat dogs with epilepsy! Since the story of Charlotte Figi, CBD Oil manufacturers have been creating products to help dogs that suffer with seizures.
If the FDA approves Epidiolex – the CBD-based drug created by GW Pharmaceuticals – then we can expect even more widespread used of CBD Oil to treat epilepsy and other illnesses. It will be prescribed by doctors and patients like Billy Caldwell won’t have to travel to get the medicine they deserve.
CBD Oil has been proven to treat many ailments including anxiety, pain and inflammation, acne, psychosis, cancer, nausea, diabetes and alzheimer’s. It’s a naturally occuring medicine that has miracle healing powers and has been ignored for too long.
How You Can Help
It’s important for the medical marijuana community, researchers and patients to keep pushing for it to be approved by the FDA. If you are reading this article, then maybe you have been affected by epilepsy or a similar condition. Maybe you’ve even used CBD Oil and it has changed your life. If that’s the case, then get in touch and we can help you tell your story. The more patients tell their stories told about the amazing medicinal benefits of CBD Oil, the more pressure is put on the government to formally recognize this life-changing product. That means more patients like Billy and Charlotte can get the medicine they need.