Alexis, a 12 year old girl has been suffering with seizures for her whole life, and while she doesn’t remember her first seizure. But her father, Dean Bortell, does. Her father explained:
“We were literally folding clothes, and Alexis was sleeping on the couch,” Bortell told Newsweek. “All of a sudden, I heard her make this shriek—I mean, it was a scream of terror,” he said. “I look over, and Alexis is stiff as a board, on her back, spasming.”
Three years ago, Alexis began taking medical marijuana, and her seizures disappeared. The basic outline of Alexis’s story has been well reported: Horrible seizures forced her family to move to Colorado from Texas, where she could use products with compounds derived from marijuana. Epileptic seizures happen when those signals go haywire.
These rogue cells can create something terrifying to experience or watch, and you can’t know when the next seizure will strike. That’s only half the battle; controlling the seizures is the other
Alexis tried at least 20 different doses, combinations and methods of CBD, her father said. Weeks later, the Bortells packed their bags and drove to Colorado, ready to try a different course of treatment: a tincture of cannabidiol and a spray with THC. The CBD tincture tastes “Bad and earthy,” Alexis told Newsweek, but it’s been working.
Clinical trials have shown that CBD and THC can be useful to treat seizure disorders, but we’re still learning why it works. CBD could be working along about a dozen different pathways and receptors, said Dr. Jerzy Szaflarski, the director of the epilepsy center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
“It doesn’t mean that THC doesn’t work for seizures,” said Szaflarski. “It just means that we have much less data because we’ve been studying this much less.” Despite their utility, these products aren’t without risk, Szaflarski Noted.
In the UK, GW pharmaceuticals have created a drug containing THC specially for treating those suffering with seizure disorders such as epilepsy. THis drug is known as Epidiolex, showing that THC does work and is an effective treatment in treating epilepsy and other seizure disorders.