Today, Gwen, is a different girl. At 7 years old, she suffers from severe epilepsy and would experience 40-50 seizures a day, ranging from tonic to myoclonic. That was until her parents, as a last ditch effort to afford their daughter a chance at life, tried treating her condition with CBD.
“It was absolutely horrifying. She’s in a severe seizure state, not being able to think or do anything.” Her father, John, said. “Not knowing what that meant was absolutely horrifying in every way. I felt I had two choices. One, to go mental and completely break down, or two, figure out, delve in, and understand what was happening two her.”
In a tonic seizure, the tone is greatly increased: the body, arms, or legs become suddenly stiff or tense. A person may be aware or have only a small change in awareness during a tonic seizure. They usually happen during sleep and usually involve all or most of the brain, affecting both sides of the body.
However, most of Gwen’s seizures were Myoclonic, which are brief shocks and jerks – generally less noticeable than other types of seizures. However, they’re still seizure like states and due to their frequency, they can cause brain damage. CT scans would reveal constant subclinical seizure activity, meaning there was constant misfirings. Despite 8 different medications and all of her doctor’s efforts, nothing was proving to be effective.
Out of Options
At the age of two, Gwen was stuck at a 4 month year old level of cognition. They felt like they were out of options. Her father would take matters into his own hands and decided to learn as much as he possibly could about epilepsy.
“I was looking to understand what was happening to my daughter. I was looking to see if there was something that hadn’t been thought of. It would eventually lead me to learning about Cannabis.”
Cannabis has been a hot topic in the health community, especially with epilepsy, with hundreds of thousands of people reporting their success stories.
“To begin we had to get a prescription, as I wanted to commit to doing things in an “as legal” way as possible. I wanted her doctors, her neurologists to be a part of this. To be able to follow her progress.” He said. “If nothing else is working, then let’s try it.”
However, only one of her eight doctors agreed to write the prescription. At the time, the only way you could purchase and consume cannabis legally (in Canada) was through its dry form. This meant his daughter would have to smoke it, which simply wasn’t going to work. In addition to the risks associated with smoke inhalation, it is also very difficult to dose smoked cannabis.
Fortunately, CBD, the chemical in cannabis that is beneficial in treating seizures, is fat soluble, meaning it can be ingested as an oil based concentrate. But cannabis, in an oil based form, is illegal in Canada, a narrow minded and archaic law. They would proceed with the treatment anyhow, resulting in nearly the complete absence of seizure activity in her brain.
“1 week, 2 weeks, then 5 weeks. Nothing, no activity. We went in for an EEG and there was still no seizure activity. “John said. “Wow, this is actually the first thing that actually helped her.”
It was one of the greatest moments of life for the Rapetski family. It also seemed that, in general, their daughter was happier. She laughed, she was sleeping better, she began to eat more. She has made huge strides over the year.
“The doctors couldn’t believe there was no epileptic activity on the EEG. Her quality of life has improved dramatically and so has the quality of life for our family.”
Treatment with CBD
An open dialogue is necessary for us to unlock the true potential for the health benefits of CBD, as it has shown to be beneficial in treating much more than just epilepsy. It is currently being used in the treatment of pain, inflammation, anxiety, sleep, and much, much more. Doctors need to be comfortable with the fact that CBD is indeed another option for the treatment for their patients.
Canada has since removed the word “dried” from their legislation, which allows citizens to legally ingest cannabis as a fat soluble concentrate. Still, lots of research needs to be done.
From 9 medications to just one, Gwen continues to grow and develop. Her brain is returning to a normal state for a girl her age and has not a seizure in over a year.