Epilepsy Talk

Medical Marijuana — What the Experts are Saying | October 13, 2018

“It doesn’t have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes Marijuana is the only thing that works… It is irresponsible not to provide the best care we can as a medical community, care that could involve Marijuana. We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.” — Dr. Sanjay Gupta / Neurosurgeon.  

“In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within the supervised routine of medical care.” — Hon. Francis Young – DEA Administrative Law Judge

“The evidence is overwhelming that marijuana can relieve certain types of pain, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms caused by such illnesses as multiple sclerosis, cancer and AIDS — or by the harsh drugs sometimes used to treat them. And it can do so with remarkable safety. Indeedmarijuana is less toxic than many of the drugs that physicians prescribe every day. – Dr. Joycelyn Elders, MD, Former US Surgeon General

“People who are dying and suffering in states where medical marijuana is legal should be able to use the drug under a doctor’s supervision to ease their pain without having to worry that the federal government is going to bust down their door and arrest them. It is immoral to deny people access to medicine that can help relieve their pain and suffering.” — Maurice Hinchey, Member of the US House of Representatives (D-NY)

 “As a physician, I am frustrated that I cannot prescribe marijuana for patients who might benefit from it. At the very least I would like to be able to refer them to a safe, reliable, quality-controlled source.” — Andrew Weil, MD, Director of Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine

“I have seen many patients with chronic pain, muscle spasms, nausea, anorexia, and other unpleasant symptoms obtain significant — often remarkable — relief from cannabis medicines, well beyond what had been provided by traditional (usually opiate-based) pain relievers.” — David Hadorn, MD, PhD, Medical Consultant for GW Pharmaceuticals, Ltd.

“I grew up knowing that cannabis could be a medicine… I’m not aware of any proven long-term [harmful] effects from cannabis. People have been trying to find major risks [from marijuana], but I’ve never seen any documented. We know if you smoke cannabis your chances of getting lung cancer are less than if you don’t smoke anything at all.” — David L. Bearman, MD, Physician and Medical Marijuana Expert

 Cannabinoids are now known to have the capacity for neuromodulation, via direct, receptor-based mechanisms, at numerous levels within the nervous system. These provide therapeutic properties that may be applicable to the treatment of neurological disorders, including anti-oxidative, neuroprotective effects, analgesia, anti-inflammatory actions, immunomodulation, modulation of glial cells and tumor growth regulation. Beyond that, the cannabinoids have also been shown to be remarkably safe with no potential for overdose.” – Gregory T. Carter, MD, Clinical Professor at the School of Medicine at The University of Washington

I have found in my study of these patients that cannabis is really a safe, effective and non-toxic alternative to many standard medications. There is no such thing as an overdose. We have seen very minimal problems with abuse or dependence, which at worst are equivalent to dependence on caffeine. While a substance may have some potential for misuse, in my opinion, that’s a poor excuse to deny its use and benefit to everyone else.” – Philip Denney, MD

“Many of the chronically ill have successfully sought relief with the use of medical cannabis, an age-old remedy that now shows real scientific efficacy. Hundreds of thousands of the sick have replaced disabling narcotics and other psychotropic medications with nontoxic and benign cannabis. The anecdotal evidence is overwhelming.” Jay Cavanaugh, PhD, National Director Of The American Alliance For Medical Cannabis

 “After 4,000 years of humans taking cannabis for epilepsy, we have scientific evidence it works.” — Orrin Devinsky, MD,  Harvard University, on results from his team’s late-stage clinical trial of cannabidiol to treat Dravet syndrome.”

The Epilepsy Foundation supports the rights of patients and families living with seizures and epilepsy to access physician directed care, including medical marijuana.​The Epilepsy Foundation calls for an end to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) restrictions that limit clinical trials and research into medical marijuana for epilepsy. The Epilepsy Foundation believes that an end to seizures should not be determined by one’s zip code. — The Epilepsy Foundation statement on Cannabis

“The evidence in this record [9-6-88 ruling] clearly shows that marijuana has been accepted as capable of relieving the distress of great numbers of very ill people, and doing so with safety under medical supervision. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record.” — Francis L. Young, former Chief Administrative Law Judge at the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

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  1. As Canada is about to celebrate marijuana legalization this Wed Oct 17, I remain hurt, damaged, and traumatized, as to what it took, to have our marijuana laws declared unconstitutional Dec. 10,1997, and upheld buy the Ontario Court of Appeal July 31,2000. Prohibition is a holocaust of unnecessary deaths, due to cancer, neurological disorders, along with the unlawful imposition of unauthorized various Nuremberg Code violations. it is most shameful, that despite my efforts since 1977, to recognize marijuana for blocking seizure disorder, I was subjected to misrepresentation , fraud, and criminal assault and battery, as to undermine the effectiveness of cannabis for epilepsy. I’m sorry, but this abuse, exploitation, and neglect, is too painful, as to celebrate Canada’s Legalization Day. Terry http://www.ontariocourts.ca/decisions/2000/july/parker.htm

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by hscguineapig414895 — October 13, 2018 @ 2:19 PM

    • OMG. I’m so very sorry, Terry.

      And I’m sad that you can’t celebrate your ultimate triumph.

      P.S. Is it my imagination or did they spell marijuana wrong throughout the court document?


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — October 13, 2018 @ 3:26 PM

  2. Cannabis has been invaluable to me as an aid in stepping back on AED meds. It can be used as a sort of “methadone” to ease the withdrawal symptoms.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by paleobird — October 13, 2018 @ 3:05 PM

    • Good. I’m glad you have access to Cannabis. And the proven ability of marijuana’s effectiveness in easing withdrawal symptoms.

      Anything that lowers the need for AEDs is a savior in itself.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — October 13, 2018 @ 3:38 PM

  3. Yes, California is a legal for medical and recreational purposes state. You can buy your pot in well lit, respectable looking stores with knowledgable employees. It’s really nice.

    Am I remembering correctly, Phyllis, that you have some kind of breathing difficulty? (or it may have been someone else on this site).
    In any case I have learned recently that cannabis is a bronchodilator which has been tested against albuterol for people with asthma and has come out on top with zero side effect.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by paleobird — October 13, 2018 @ 4:44 PM

    • I have no breathing difficulty, happily, but that’s fascinating to know Paleo.

      You’re so compassionate, with so much useful information!


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — October 13, 2018 @ 9:57 PM

  4. There is constant experimentation with everything else imaginable. Too much of anything can kill anyone. Why not at least let doctors ‘try’ with this; it could prove to be very effective for many.patients.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Karen — October 13, 2018 @ 5:17 PM

  5. Hmm, with all these professionals admitting that Cannabis is a good drug, yet it’s still on the Federal schedule one drugs. Unbelievable what a long time it’s taking the feds to reschedule it. Can they not admit a mistake has been done? Or are they worried about all the dangerous Cannabis smokers out there. hahahaha.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Zolt — October 13, 2018 @ 9:34 PM

  6. Marijuana growers wrestle with cannabis’ high-tech, industrial future



    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — October 13, 2018 @ 10:23 PM

  7. theindependent.com
    Section E
    Page 5

    Mayo Clinic article on cannabis

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Karen — October 14, 2018 @ 5:05 PM

  8. Phylis this might be of interest, it concerns the first FDA approved drug, Epidiolex,, developed by a British company from marijuana, for the treatment of a narrow range of epilepsy conditions.




    Comment by Michael H — October 27, 2018 @ 11:14 PM

    • Thanks Michael, for the link and the information.

      “Why this is not a big deal–many thought that following the approval of Epidiolex, the FDA would completely de-schedule cannabis, but it did not do that.

      What it did, instead, was to find a narrow path to allow the legal sale of Epidiolex in the United States.

      The FDA approval is limited to FDA approved drugs that contain a very limited amount of CBD.

      At the moment, Epdiolex is the only drug that falls within that definition.

      Since biotech start-ups and small pharma companies usually do not have the resources to secure FDA approval of a new drug, some see this order as benefitting only big pharma.

      While this may be true in the short term, this order may make it easier for biotech start-ups and small pharma engaged in CBD research to attract the capital needed to get through the FDA approval process.”


      BIG Pharma scores again. (IMHO.)


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — October 28, 2018 @ 12:11 AM

  9. Phylis I forgot to add that EPIDIOLEX costs about $3,000 a month! Medical Marijuana costs only a few hundred dollars a month ….but …. the dosage is less precise and could be a problem for young patients.

    Ironically although the drug was developed by a British company, Medical Marijuana is not fully legal in the UK yet. However, my son who still lives there, tells me it will be shortly.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Michael H — October 28, 2018 @ 12:41 AM

    • OMG! $3,000 a month?

      I do know that in the US, once you get your card, you are interviewed at the dispensary — with your medical records — before your dose is recommended.

      As for young children, I can see why it might be dicey. But in many cases, those are the people who need it more. (Dravet Syndrome)


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — October 28, 2018 @ 12:53 AM

  10. I saw this recently. When is a “crime” not a crime?


    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Andy — November 12, 2018 @ 9:19 AM

    • I’d say that a “crime” is when someone is hurt or adversely affected.

      As far as legislative crimes, I’d have to say many of them are politics.

      Or policies driven by BIG Pharma.

      No state/country/or Federal institution is going to step up until there’s money to be made.

      That being said:

      “On Jan. 1, 2018, the US’s largest and most populated state — California — oversaw the legalization of recreational marijuana. Though not the first state to do this, California’s action is a milestone for the cannabis industry, and for American drug legislation in general. Almost as, if not equally, important is the fact that marijuana’s recreational legality comes with major taxes: a 15% statewide tax on all recreational and medical cannabis products, and additional local taxes and fees.

      Much of the country’s outmoded views on cannabis persist, but in the arena of legislation, these arguments are falling on deaf ears. Legalization of cannabis has opened a door to a massive, new source of revenue for state governments.” https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewdepietro/2018/05/04/how-much-money-states-make-cannabis-sales/#4cf67739f181


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — November 12, 2018 @ 9:53 AM

  11. If you are thinking of using marijuana to reduce seizures, keep in mind that in a well-stocked dispensary, there may be dozens of strains, even hundreds, each with a different use. It’s a little like apples: cider apples, baking apples, pie apples, and those for eating out of hand. Some strains of marijuana may have no effect on you. Some may make your seizures worse.

    For our purposes, marijuana is a drug like any other drug. What you use will depend on what kind of epilepsy you have, and what meds you are already taking. A medical person should be involved, and your first questions should be, “How many prescriptions for pot have you written?” and, “What were the outcomes?”

    I have a temporal lobe condition. My choices are limited to two or three strains, per a discussion with my neurologist; and I chose not to go that route.

    One of the problems is that it’s very hard to gauge dosage. If you’re smoking or eating cookies, by the time you realize you’ve had too much, there’s no way to back off. If you do decide to experiment, consider having a non-user nearby in case you should need a trip to the ER.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by HoDo — January 21, 2020 @ 11:40 AM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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