Tuesday March 11, 2014
Cannabis Works for Convulsions: Medical Marijuana Saves EpilepticsGuest Contribution to Salem-News.com
Life changing results for one person.
(SALEM, Ore.) - (Editor's forward: This contribution was sent to Dr. Phil Leveque, our medical writer, after a conversation with the writer, who asked for their name to be withheld. Dr. Leveque found this story to be significant and our appreciation goes out to the person who share this with us.)
I was only ten when it began. I had been healthy until that beautiful spring morning. Outside on the playground, beneath the wearing heat of the sun, I collapsed onto the ground and began violently seizing.
The incident was diagnosed as simply being a one-time event; it is common for individuals to experience a seizure at some point in their life, I was told. But then things changed two weeks later, as I fell onto my middle school cafeteria’s worn, blue, linoleum floor and again, began seizing.
It would be the beginning of a journey through thousands of convulsions, 13 anti epileptic drugs, multiple alternative treatments, and five brain surgeries. For eight years I would endure the often devastating side effects of Western medicine, until finally, when hope had begun wearing thin, I discovered the answers to my prayers and my first effective treatment: cannabis.
It was the conclusion to my senior year of high school when I inhaled my first puff of marijuana smoke. As it entered my body, my constant plaguing thoughts of seizures dissipated.
It was as if my prison had dissolved. Unfortunately, the escape was brief, and following that day, I felt as if my use of marijuana would never again occur, that I would never be able to evade my persistent memories of past convulsions.
The indefinite feeling lingered for nearly two years, until my arrival in Fort Collins, Colorado, where I would be attending Colorado State University as a sophomore.
But I was too anxious to attain a cure, too impatient to see if I would ever be able to employ marijuana as a treatment. My first surgeries had been unsuccessful, but I was optimistic that pursuing the process again would result in success—a life without the concern of collapsing onto the sidewalk on my way to class.
And so, under the supervision of my physician, I applied for a medical marijuana license just prior to reentering the operating room that summer. To my dismay, the ramifications of the procedures would not reflect my positive approach; not only would I continue seizing, but rather, this time, I would be paralyzed on my left side due to an unforeseen level of swelling in my brain.
Then left struggling to move my left hand and still continuing to seize, I turned to my last resort, the one treatment that would free me from my ailment: medicinal marijuana. It was an immediate difference. I adopted a new identity, one that incurred fewer convulsions and less paramedic encounters.
I transitioned from being reclusive to, instead, exerting an outgoing and assertive personality, as a pre-law junior at Colorado State University. In two years as a medical marijuana user, now having achieved dozens of accomplishments, I have taken advantage of the opportunity to rebuild my life anew.
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