As the final days of November wind down, we wanted to make note of this month as National Epilepsy Awareness Month in the United States. Epilepsy affects around 3 million people in the United States alone, with around 65 million suffering from epilepsy worldwide. Every year, around 200,000 individuals are diagnosed with epilepsy. That’s more than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s combined.
In recognition of this month, we’ve put together some of the top headlines from this month in epilepsy. From mothers in Chile uniting for access to CBD oil to farmers in Oregon donating precious medicine to sick children, efforts to treat epilepsy with CBD are rapidly expanding. Here’s what this month brought in epilepsy awareness:
Three moms in Florida got together in an effort to advocate for the right and option to utilize cannabis in the care of their critically ill children. The moms were traveling out of state to get the medicine that they need for their sick children and were heavily involved in the effort to legalize medical marijuana in Florida. Though Amendment 2 did not not pass in Florida, the CannaMoms still have access to the life saving CBD oil and will push even harder for medical marijuana in 2016.
Clinical Testing For Cannabis Oil
Three different cities in the United States will soon begin testing cannabis oil in the treatment of Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy. Texas Children’s hospital will be among the first to test the cannabis compound Epidiolex. The drug is a purified CBD oil with no psychoactive effects and will be tested on children between 4 and 10 years old who are afflicted by Dravet’s Syndrome. Georgia and Illinois will be hosting future studies.
A worldwide movement? Perhaps. Similar to the CannaMoms of Florida, this group of Chilean Mother’s just put together a group of over 100 moms in order to exchange information about the use of CBD oil in the treatment of epilepsy. Though cultivation of cannabis remains illegal in Chile, these mothers found this treatment to be exponentially more effective than others at 1/8th of the cost.
An Oregon-based grow-op called TJ’s Organic Garden is treating Oregon children free of charge. Pictured above is 8-year-old Forrest Smelser who is one of the organization’s patients. Forrest was suffering from epileptic seizures up to every 15 minutes before he began using the CBD oil. After receiving the cannabis-based CBD pills, Forrest has now gone over 9 weeks without a seizure. TJ’s owner Jim Murphy vows to give out the medicine for free and has enough to supply around 500 patients.
As epilepsy awareness month draws to an end, let’s take time to celebrate the victories in the treatment of epilepsy and remember that there are millions still suffering. More research is on the way, and you can do your part by spreading this valuable information or donating to The Epilepsy Foundation here.
Photo Credit: Enduring Epilepsy
This post was originally published on November 25, 2014, it was updated on October 5, 2017.