Cannabis Patient Care - August 2021


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19 august 2021 | cannabis patient care patient focus some doctors who have taken the time to learn more about cannabis. But there are still questions about its efficacy—and the scourge of epilepsy marches on. The Macro—and Micro—View The statistics tell a chilling story. There are 65 million people around the world who have epilepsy; 3.4 million people in the United States have epilepsy; 470,000 children in the United States have epilepsy; one in 26 people in the United States will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime; and there are 150,000 new cases of epilepsy in the US each year (6). One of the people who likely inherited a genetic disposition to epilepsy is Vanessa Jones, the founder and CEO of Your Vir- tual Right Hand (7), an executive assistance, marketing, and business development firm. Jones was diagnosed with epilepsy at 8 years old. "It wasn't a big surprise," she said. "I have epilepsy in my family and there's at least one epileptic every generation. Because we had experience with epilepsy, my mother opted to not put me on medication." Jones had one or two seizures a year until she was 13. "Then, it just stopped," she said. "It wasn't until I was in a seri- ous car accident after my high school graduation that my sei- zures came back." She was having three seizures within a single episode, and had to take Lamictal (8), an anti-convulsant, for seizure con- trol so she could attend college. "Lamictal was a nightmare for me as it kept me in a constant state of anxiety," Jones said. "I wasn't able to attend my classes and had to move back home to be on 'watch.'" In 2005, Jones began taking medical cannabis to gain some control of her epilepsy and regain her autonomy, giving her a significantly greater quality of life. "Unfortunately my doctors at the time, between 2010–2014, were not receptive of canna- bis as an alternative treatment plan and wanted to continue changing my medication cocktail," she said. She initially started taking 1 gram of full extract canna- bis oil (FECO) a day because research showed cancer patients were experiencing remission using that same dosage. "So I fig- ured if it worked for cancer, why not seizures?" It took her about two months to get to 1 gram of FECO a day. She takes a half gram at 4:20 a.m. and a half a gram at 4:20 p.m. "I was lucky when I started in 2010 that California grow- ers under Proposition 215 (9), the Medical Marijuana Initiative, and California Senate Bill 420 (10) provided compassionate care programs that supplied me with organic and clean medi- cine for cheap, as well as guidance on dosing and further edu- cation about the plant," Jones said. "At that time, I had access to 2:1 CBD/THC ratio through California growers, and kept a journal on how dosing made me feel, and recorded seizures or auras." (An aura is the term that some people use to describe the warning they feel before they have a seizure [11].) During her transition to cannabis, she had two seizures within the first four months, she said, and has been sei- zure-free for years now. Epilepsy is a qualifying condition in California, she said, along with many other states (12). "But now with California Nurse Deb McCauley Vanessa Jones

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