CBD for Treating Epilepsy – A Personal Story
Cannabis has shown to be an effective way to reduce epileptic seizures and other symptoms of epilepsy. As a result of rigorous research, in June 2018, CBD, as synthetic Epidiolex, was approved by the FDA for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, in patients two years of age and older. Currently, CBD is used for treating epilepsy currently in both adults and children.
According to the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance, it’s expected that approximately 260,000 Canadians have epilepsy (7.46 per every 1,000 people). We spoke with Jennifer Banfill, who is diagnosed with epilepsy, about her experience using CBD as part of her treatment.
To read the research check out our guide on Treating Epilepsy with Cannabis.
I was diagnosed with Myoclonic epilepsy when I was in grade 12. So I was around 16 -17 years old (I am currently 38 years old).
With Myoclonic epilepsy, the seizures are brief shock-like jerks of a muscle or group of muscles. The person is still conscious when this happens. For example; if I am holding something in my hand when the seizure occurs, I may drop it on the floor or toss it across a room. One time I flung a full plate of spaghetti at my friend’s house shortly after they had put in brand new light coloured carpet (true story…what a mess!!!).
What led to my final diagnosis? At first, I thought these muscle jerks were nothing because they were just here and there. But after some time, the uncontrolled muscle jerks began to happen more and more often. They appeared to occur more when anxious or when I’m not getting enough sleep. When my symptoms became more intolerable I had an EEG test which showed spikes in my brain waves. That’s when I was diagnosed with epilepsy.
Challenges associated with the diagnoses
I experienced challenges when I would get these muscle jerks in public places or even in front of friends. I would try to hide them and play it off as if nothing happened. Doing so would cause me more anxiety and ultimately resulted in the symptoms getting worse.
When I played sports, I would sometimes get muscle jerks in my legs and fall down at games or practice (with no one around me). Some people didn’t know what was going on and would laugh and it was embarrassing to have everyone looking at me. Some thought I was just clumsy and not paying attention. I was also often sad about it, because sometimes people would say things like “what the heck is wrong with you? Why did you do that?”. It made me feel like I was weird and different and I didn’t want to have to explain myself. It also made me sad, at the time, because I had no choice but to take pills every day to be “normal”. So, it made me feel depressed every time I opened my cupboard and saw all kinds of pills bottles with my name on it.
Challenges with finding the right treatment
It was challenging trying to find the right medication for me. Initially, it took 4 different medications to find a combo that worked best. At the time, I was taking 5 different prescription medications, some of them twice a day which is challenging to keep track of. During that time, I slept a lot which made my depression worse.
I also experienced a couple of Grand Mal seizures while the doctor was trying to find the best medication. This was a scary experience.
Treating Epilepsy with CBD – How things are going now
Now, I don’t let my condition get in the way of anything I want to do in life.
I’ve been a mental health nurse for 10 years now. I am also a very active person; I played soccer at Algonquin College for 3 years. I’ve competed in the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships representing Canada for the past 4 years in a row. Overall, I’m very happy, I’ve mostly overcome the embarrassment of my condition and have more of a sense of accomplishment.
What led you to try adding CBD to your health routine? What is your current routine?
I started seeing articles about CBD for treating epilepsy and I was already smoking cannabis so I started to read into it more.
What really caught my attention in regards to CBD treatment for epilepsy was the story about the Charlottes Web strain named after the little girl with epilepsy (Read the story here). I was so fascinated by the effects CBD had on this little girl that was seizing most of her days. So I asked my doctor about a prescription for medicinal cannabis. At the time I was prescribed both THC and CBD.
Then I added different CBD consumption methods to my routine (capsules and tinctures). After some time passed, I went from taking 4 different prescription medications to taking 2 prescription medications once a day and CBD twice a day.
Now, for my epilepsy routine, I take 20mg of CBD in the morning and 20mg at night. If I feel too anxious in between, I might take some more. Typically, I take my CBD in capsules or tinctures as I have found them to be the most effective.
If you’re interested in the use of cannabis for managing symptoms of anxiety check out our other article.
Adding CBD into my daily health routine has made a significant difference in my overall health. I feel a sense of well being (in a natural way). The number of medications I take has decreased. I sleep better at night and am way less of a ball of nerves because of it.
What advice would you give to other people diagnosed with epilepsy about CBD?
The advice I would give to people diagnosed with epilepsy about CBD is simply to talk to your doctor about adding CBD into your health routine. Or educate yourself on CBD, how it can help you manage your symptoms and the types of CBD products before trying.
Read our article on Treating Epilepsy with Cannabis to learn more. At Envy, we do recommend you speak to your doctor about adding CBD into your health routine, particularly when you’re taking other medication (read our article on drug interactions). But if you choose to experiment on your own always start with a low dose and work your way up slowly.
Miss Envy CBD Products
I strongly recommend all of MISS ENVY CBD products!! They are all-natural and made with love, what more could you ask for! I have tried all of them!!
In my workout routine, CBD helps me heal faster in a natural way (I haven’t taken over the counter pain medication in years now). Not only does the CBD products help with the pain and healing process. The 1:1 THC/CBD products, THC bath bombs and the Buddha Bar are amazing and I swear by them!!
CBD for Pain
Endometriosis is not the same as PMS but cannabis and CBD may help manage symptoms in a similar manner. Read more about treating PMS symptoms with cannabis.
Also, if you’re interested in more information about the use of cannabis and CBD for managing pain check out that article here.
Jennifer Banfill, is originally from Windsor, Ontario- currently living/working in Ottawa Ontario. She is a Registered Practical Mental Health Nurse and is a medical cannabis patient and advocate. She likes to encourage people to do their best all the time, even when things are challenging. She’s very active and is an OCR (obstacle course racing) world championships competitor for the last 4 years in a row representing Canada. Jennifer is also a proud dog owner to a husky/border collie named Zoey.
Are you a fan of Miss Envy products and want to share your story about using CBD as part of your health and wellness routine? Send an email to email@example.com or contact us on social media.