How to Talk to Your Doctor About Using CBD for Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a serious medical condition that is manageable with the help of physicians, lifestyle modifications, and often, prescribed medications. If you or a loved one have epilepsy, it’s likely you have read about CBD as a potential treatment option. So, how can you talk to your doctor about CBD for epilepsy?
It shouldn’t be as hard as it seems. Here’s why.
Your Physicians Are There to Help You
If it’s not apparent when you walk into your physician’s office that your health is their top priority, you simply have the wrong physician. Maybe it’s an issue of bedside manner or a poor culture fit, or perhaps you need to consult a specialist. However, it isn’t an outlandish assumption that all physicians became physicians for the common goal of helping people be well.
Why should this calm your nerves? It’s likely that if you have been diagnosed with a condition like epilepsy, you’re used to checkups and doctor visits. Epilepsy is characterized by disturbed nerve cell activity in the brain that results in seizures, making everyday activities like driving dangerous if not impossible. To limit seizure events, you are probably on some sort of medication, and it’s likely that you haven’t been on the same medication for the entirety of your condition.
Changes in prescriptions occur for the reason that your doctor wants to manage your symptoms in the best way possible, and find what medication works best for you. CBD may be that answer. However, your doctor may or may not prioritize this as a treatment option, so it may be up to you to ask questions and speak up.
In brief, help your physician help you.
Communication is Important
This leads us to our next point: communication. Talk to your physician often. Keep him or her in the loop. Let them know about side effects you are experiencing or the nature of your seizure episodes, especially if they’re changing. If your physician doesn’t know the details of your symptoms — such as how well or how poorly you’re tolerating a medication — how can they help you fix it?
If you have read about CBD as a treatment for epilepsy, and, even if you haven’t, ask your doctor:
- Have they prescribed CBD for epilepsy? If so, how well was it tolerated? If not, why not?
- What do they make of the research?
- Have any of their colleagues prescribed CBD for epilepsy?
- Is it right for you?
- What concerns do they have, if any?
Asking your doctor these questions can give you expert insight into CBD as a treatment option. Sure, there is public research available, but you may not be used to a lot of the lingo or feel like sifting through details.
On the other hand, if you have put in research time on your own, but are met with a “no” or any other insufficient answer from your physician — feel free to get a second opinion from another expert.
You and your physician, that is, the right physician for you, have common goals. The main goal is to have you feeling your best. Everyone’s journey to wellness is different, even among those who have epilepsy, a condition that can vary widely from person-to-person. CBD may just be part of your journey, but not for other patients your physician is treating.
If you have the capacity to try a new treatment, or, if you, unfortunately, have not found relief from other treatments, CBD may be the solution. This was the case for the founder of Palmetto Harmony, a mother named Janel who wanted to help her daughter, Harmony, find relief from seizures. Harmony is one of a growing number of success stories.
What the Research Says
CBD as a potential treatment for epilepsy didn’t just come out of nowhere. It didn’t come without substantial evidence, either. In fact, cannabis has been used to address epilepsy for hundreds of years, as it is generally very effective and well-tolerated.
The FDA approved Epidiolex in June 2018 for two forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome. This, however, is available by prescription under the supervision of your physician. If you are curious about how other forms of CBD may help your epilepsy, you should still consult your physician. Keep your doctor informed to avoid unwanted drug interactions.
There is also research to suggest that nonherbal, or synthetic CBD may also be effective in treating epilepsy. Both herbal and synthetic appear to have the same ability to limit the severity and frequency of seizures. Synthetic CBD may be a more viable option in some areas, where cannabis is still a controlled substance. Synthetic CBD has other advantages as well but is still going through clinical trials (at a fast pace). Hemp cultivation is not necessary for synthetic production and may allow more consistency.
Further Resources for Support
If you want to learn more about epilepsy or find support, consider organizations such as the Epilepsy Foundation, the American Epilepsy Society, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Research is still ongoing for other forms of CBD medications formulated for epilepsy. It’s likely that the right treatment for you is in the works — if not out there already. Remember, talk to your doctor often and ask questions. When it comes to your health, there are no dumb ones!
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