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Today, Wednesday March 26, is International Epilepsy Awareness Day.
Since our launch, Ladybud Magazine has been committed to sharing the stories of people with epilepsy – both children and adults – who are struggling with state and federal laws to achieve safe, reliable, and consistent access to cannabis medicine.
Our first story about cannabis treatment for epilepsy featured Vivian Wilson, who is now living in Colorado and was recently featured in Sanjay Gupta’s Weed 2 on CNN. Thanks to medical cannabis, Vivian is demonstrating visible developmental progress. She now enjoys playing outside and is adjusting to life without the eyepatch she previously wore for seizure control, as her parents work to find the best combination of cannabis medication to treat her seizures. Another recent success story featured Cooper Brown, whose quality of life has improved dramatically since he started using medical cannabis.
But not all of our stories have happy endings.
Many other patients have lost their battle with epilepsy in the past year, and this video created by the Dravet Syndrome Foundation honors members of the Dravet community who have recently passed away.
Ladybud has also reported on legislation inspired by the potential of cannabis as a treatment for epilepsy. Unfortunately, pending legislation in states like Wisconsin, Utah, and Florida strictly limits access, and sadly, division within the “cannabis for epilepsy” movement has resulted in a whole lot of confusion and strife.
A great divide has occurred in the movement: one one side, advocates who believe that access to whole plant cannabis is essential for the well-being of patients, and on the other side, advocates pushing for legislation that allows Cannabidiol (CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid) and strictly limits the allowable level of Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, which is psychoactive, but also has countless medicinal properties).
Ladybud opposes “CBD-only” legislation. As explained in an article by Vanessa Waltz, many patients – including some with epilepsy – would not benefit from the medicine allowed by these laws. Expert Martin Lee, of Project CBD, spoke out against CBD-only legislation, describing the beneficial “entourage effect” of THC and CBD. Ladybud writer Tori LaChapelle recently testified in Wisconsin about the dangers of CBD-only legislation.
Media coverage like Weed 1 and Weed 2 has brought medical cannabis into an unprecedented national spotlight. But sadly, many Americans – even parents using cannabis to treat their epileptic children – are still largely in the dark about how medical cannabis works, and how and where they can safely access CBD-rich strains of medical cannabis.
Many people who saw the “Charlotte’s Web” strain featured in the CNN specials mistakenly believe that this strain, available only in Colorado and California, is the only strain in the country that can treat pediatric epilepsy. THIS IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE. Epileptic patients in Colorado and California, as well as other medical states, are effectively treating epilepsy with other strains, including R4, Cannatonic, AC/DC, Harlequin, Valentinex, and Haleigh’s Hope. Online groups like Pediatric Cannabis Therapy are playing a vital role in educating parents about the many options available for their children.
We at Ladybud are committed to continue spreading the truth, and helping people to better understand the science of medical cannabis, the progress of legislation throughout the country, and most importantly, different options for accessing the medicine they need. An upcoming feature will highlight a promising new option for epilepsy patients awaiting access in Colorado, and we encourage story submissions about treatment options like CBD-rich strains and THCA from patients, caregivers, and providers.
We also want to thank you for sharing the stories we have published, and hope that you will continue to spread the word.
Where there is progress, there is hope. Many committed writers, activists, scientists, and families have joined together in this fight and are working hard to promote knowledge as well as safe access.
Together, we will win this battle, both to improve the lives of those in need and to honor of those who have lost their fight.