A treatment for seizures – The Parents Giving Cannabis to their Kids

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William James Downing

Imagine having one hundred seizures a day. Now imagine that the treatment for this requires taking 15-20 different medications per day. The medication does not entirely work and it has some debilitating side-effects and is generally very expensive. One of those medications is benzodiazepine, a medication given to those suffering from PTSD, alcohol withdrawal, insomnia and other conditions, which has devastating side-effects both in the short and long term. Now imagine that you are a child and having to do this or have this done for you. This could be your child.

Now instead imagine putting a few drops of a herb extract, an oil under your child’s tongue. The extract is inexpensive, as yet has no significant negative side-effects and moves your child’s seizures from one hundred per day to two per month. Two. Two seizures per month.

With this information wouldn’t you jump at the opportunity to do this for yourself, partner, parent or child? Would you fight for it? Would you break the law or move country? Many people have and do. This belief and movement has even created a demographic called ‘Expots’. Why are they called Expots? They are moving to other countries to treat their own / their child’s condition with this extract. The extract they are using is from that horrible, mind-breaking, government overthrowing, easily grown, non-taxed, big-pharma coffer-emptying, public enemy – marijuana. Dun dun durrrr!

CBD is a chemical found in the hemp plant that is presently being used to treat (even cure) both causes and symptoms of a huge range of diseases and conditions – even being used to treat the side-effects of other treatments. However it is only recently that this has even started to be done legally or at least overtly.

Hemp (or Cannabis Sativa as Latin speakers will insist on calling it) is a product that, as well as being used to build the hammer of the British Empire – the British navy’s – ropes, sails, clothing, maps and charts, etc… – has also been used for centuries for medicinal and recreational reasons.

The type of hemp that we are familiar with, at least colloquially, is that consumed by hippies 50 years ago, students presently (and it would seem eternally), Barack Obama but not Bill Clinton, people who visit Amsterdam for the architecture and also 12.5% of the UK population. This hemp is higher in THC than the hemp used as fabric (for example). THC is a chemical present in all hemp but in differing concentrations and it is the compound that gets you high mostly because of its psychoactive properties. It is known by many names; weed, skunk, hash, marijuana, green, dope, pot… and when people say cannabis they usually mean this stuff. Whilst I could write an article about the positives, negatives, hypocrisy, insanity and misconceptions of THC rich hemp, I will in fact be preaching about the properties of another of hemp’s compound’s – the aforementioned CBD.

CBD

CBD stands for Cannabidiol and is an anti-emetic (reduces nausea / vomiting), anticonvulsant (suppresses seizure activity), antipsychotic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-tumoral and anti-depressant.

I have already touched on the anti-convulsant properties of CBD and it is presently being used by patients suffering from seizures that are as a result of genetics, brain injury, pathogens, chemical imbalances and so on. CBD has not had extensive research done on it in humans and success stories are just that, stories, they are anecdotal. People are turning to it as a last resort after other drugs, brain implants and surgery has not helped. In one study reported by the Wall Street Journal, 33% of children using CBD to combat the seizures associated with Dravet Syndrome found that seizures reduced by more than half.

For some epilepsy sufferes the seizures have been eliminated since they have been using CBD and for some it made the seizures more frequent (but only during use, not when they stopped ingesting the CBD) Why was cannabis kept as a schedule I drug for so long? Why were researchers not allowed to investigate it? Why are extensive studies not being overtly carried out at the moment? 33% is a huge number. Huge. These were patients using a drug that has not been fully researched and had not been approved by [US federal body] the FDA. The question is, even if there are people for whom it makes it worse or does not significantly reduce the number of seizures, why is this not being made wildly available and publicised for people to use?

Children are going from being catatonic and developmentally stunted by seizures and/or the treatment, to being able to sit up, feed themselves and say “I love you” to their parents for the first time. Why the hell are we not pursuing this? If we can help ourselves and children in a natural and, most importantly, ethical manner, then why not?

How about its anti-emetic properties? CBD is reported to be used by people in chemotherapy to reduce their nausea, meaning that they can live and eat with a lot less restraint and a lot more pleasure. Alongside chemicals (such as the aforementioned THC) they can also increase their appetite.

CBD is anti-tumoral meaning that it is, in a few cases so far, part of the treatment and even prevention for certain types of cancer: A study of CBD users showed there were 45% less instances of bladder cancer than those who did not use CBD. Similar results have been effected with prostate and breast cancers.

CBD is an anti-depressant, so it can be used to treat depression, anxiety, PTSD, PND and a whole catalogue of mental illnesses that are usually treated with drugs that either don’t work or have horrible side-effects.

CBD is anti-inflammatory and has been used to treat the pain associated with sickle-cell diseases, cancer, arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, IBS and the atherosclerosis aspect of heart attacks, strokes… it even the helps with flu!

CBD, and this is an important one for understanding the problems of cannabis prohibition, is anti-psychotic: Far from compound the causes and effects of mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, it actually reduces the cause and effect. You may be wondering why you are told that cannabis causes schizophrenia – the answer is simple (and I will be brief). Hemp contains many chemical compounds and two of the most prevalent are CBD and THC. CBD counteracts the psychoactive effects of THC.

As most importation of prohibited strains of hemp is so that people can get high, it follows suit that growers and importers would focus on THC rich and CBD poor strains of hemp so that everyone gets more bang for their buck. If, however, strains of hemp with moderate levels of THC in it were legal then there would potentially be more strains being consumed recreationally that have CBD in. Therefore, and in conclusion, a disorder such as schizophrenia which affects about 0.7% of the UK population could not only be reduced in triggering but reduced in treatment if CBD were more widely available.

CBD is an anti-oxidant, although this information has been garnered from anecdotal and pre-clinical trial evidence. However, if it is proven to be true and effective, this will mean treatment for Alzeimers, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, and alongside the aforementioned other properties of CBD, it could of course be used to treat Parkinsons, cancer and atherosclerotic diseases.

A final myth to bust is that the consumption of cannabis has to be via smoking, which has inherent health risks and stigmas associated with it. Whilst it is true that people can administer the properties of CBD rich hemp by smoking, there is also the facility for it to be administered orally as an oil from a dropper or via food and drink (anything from tea and cakes to soups, pasta dishes, casseroles… you name it!). It can be administered as a poultice, topical or tincture – the tincture itself can be vaporised in vape-pens or larger vaporisers meaning that you are inhaling (I believe) just CBD, water and vegetable glycerine.

To produce and consume CBD is incredibly simple and incredibly cheap, as opposed to other medications offered for serious conditions. To reiterate the previous question – why not? Why are people being restricted in how they choose and are advised to medicate themselves, especially when the negative impact on them, their community and country (with the exception of health secretaries, large pharmaceutical companies and the brown envelope industry) seems to be negligible at most?

Consumers and suppliers, families and vendors, are having to indulge in criminality (and being treated so) so that they can help themselves and those around them. Even if the law has changed in their home, they are having to undergo this treatment without medical supervision. This is tragic also. If you want to punish me for this, screw you. If you want to punish my family for this, screw you. If you want to punish my child for this, screw you. No longer should people have to operate in illegality or grey areas with a Damoclean sword from their nation’s legal system hanging over them. Do the research, do it fast, swallow your pride, make the change, move on.

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