Can cannabis help treat epilepsy symptoms?

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Q:

Dear Nurse Jessica,

My child has epilepsy and the current pharmaceuticals she has been taking are causing harsh side effects. There are so many different cases online and in the news that give me hope that cannabis oil is effective, but I am not sure where to go because my neurologist won’t help us and has turned us down completely after I finally mustered up the courage to ask. I left feeling like a bad mother to have even brought it up. Since I don’t really have friends that are connected, what do you think I should do?

A:

Your call to cannabis is an intuitional pull as you seek harmonious treatment for your child. Your concern and consideration show you are a good mother—you don’t need to question that. You did what you were “supposed” to do and the treatments have not been effective up to this point. Now it’s time to incorporate cannabinoids and establish homeostasis to calm your child’s internal storm.

Just recently I drove through the night to meet with a family about seven hours from my nest. The family was told there was an unexpected shortage in the pharmaceuticals her son had been taking since age three. There was only a short window of time to switch drugs.

During this time, the boy’s mother soon discovered the side effects of her son’s medication detoxing were as powerful as those that accompany heroin withdrawal. For a 10-year-old, I thought, how is this legal? His mother told me that if she would have known how powerful the drugs were, she would have never agreed to giving them to her son. Other pharmaceuticals presented came with the same laundry list of toxicity and side effects. It feels like experimental poisoning sometimes.

Although her neurologist wouldn’t write a prescription for cannabis, she persisted until the doctor was willing to write a referral to a cannabis clinic that could help. This step is critical for access. Waiting lists and patient overload are leaving time-sensitive cases to wait for access to cannabis, especially pediatrics.

This mother and I spent time together making oil from high-CBD cannabis and prepared her son’s medicine with different methods and different temperatures. Doing all of these things alone can come with some hesitation, so this is why we rise up—to support our community in need. I believe that together we can facilitate great healing through cannabis consciousness.

My advice to you is to try reaching out to local cannabis clinics, dispensaries or a licensed producer for answers and advice. There are cannabis educators, clinic operators, nurses, doctors, growers and other parents out there who can help you. My experience in the cannabis community is that if someone doesn’t know the answer, they will often do their best to find you someone who can.

Listen to your intuition and keep pushing until you get what you know is right for your child. Join groups online and find other parents who can share some of their journey with you. If the doctors you are working with can’t help at this time, there are others who will—trust me. I believe that the world needs more physicians and neurologists to confidently step forward to protect and facilitate pediatric access to cannabis. We need more support systems for families.

Nurse Jessica

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Written by Jessica Ferneyhough
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Jessica Ferneyhough, a registered practical nurse, brings a unique approach to care, empowering patients as a medicinal cannabis nurse and horses for healing advocate.

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