Frequent seizures and neurodevelopment delays; two of the biggest characteristics of Epilepsy. Cannabis has two major components, THC (psychoactive) and CBD (healing properties). Most of us are aware that cannabis is currently being studied as a natural treatment for this condition, but just how far back in our history does the specific research go? India, 6,000 years before the Christian Era (1,000 B.C). An ancient text called the Ayurveda (meaning life – know) was written. In this text we find Epilepsy referred to as Apasmara. Two chapters of this book are devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of Epilepsy. This was one of the earliest 8 diseases known to be controlled only by medical therapies. Medicinal healers would first awaken the heart and blocked mind by vomiting and cleansing the bodies of their patients. They would then use herbal butters, nasal application, and a healing stick almost like incense to help their patients calm their bodies and minds. William O’ Shaughnessy, an Irish doctor, took a position in Bengal at the young age of 24. As he studied many ancient texts, he immediately saw the healing potential in what is now called Hashish (18th century). Beginning experiments on dogs, giving them extracts and tincture, O’ Shaughnessy noted that hashish caused intervals of dosing and greediness when it comes to the animals’ food, these effects only lasting a few hours. He was given the opportunity to provide medication to a 40 day old baby with convulsions. We can tell the treatment was successful as his first medical paper refers to hashish as “…an anti-convulsive remedy of greatest value”. After William traveled to England in 1841 and cannabis was introduced to western medicine.
In 1976 a study was conducted showing that the effects of CBD were as effective as two anti-epileptic drugs and more effective than three of them.
The plant quickly became the most common medicine for treating opium addictions, cholera, and insomnia. The positive healing effects toward epilepsy were noted by numerous physicians. J. R. Reynolds; former British Medical Association President and personal physician to the royal family, noted in an 1890 publication of The Lancet “… there are many cases of so called epilepsy in adults … in which India Hemp (Indica / Kush) is the most useful agent with which I am acquainted.” In 1976 a study was conducted showing that the effects of CBD were as effective as two anti-epileptic drugs and more effective than three of them. Some of these medications are still used today. Around this same time frame, we see crude cannabis extracts (similar to today’s CBD oils) being given in 200 mg doses and being effective in stopping seizures.
There is no lack of information or studies, from around the world, in different time periods showing the positive effects of the plant and it effective treatment for Epilepsy. Although, now federally illegal, we see chemists and scientists risking their freedom to study this new, yet not so new, natural option. We are breeding high CBD strains such a CBD OG (19.5%) and Tora Bora (8.52%) that are being turned into concentrates with up to 56.5% CBD levels. The number of parents treating their children naturally is also increasing. We hear stories every day about children on numerous medicines still having seizures, but then a couple days on CBD medications and the seizures dissipate and the parents are able to wean children off the toxic drugs. Today we are being told, “finally a breakthrough for cannabis and epilepsy”. But if you ask me, this breakthrough was found thousands of years ago; we’re just rediscovering what the human race had always known.