Medical Cannabis | Progress Still to be Made

August 22, 2017

I had planned on not writing a blog post and devoting time to finishing our extensive report about hemp-derived CBD last week. But then I was derailed by a seizure. The second one I’ve had: a tonic-clonic (formerly known as grand mal) seizure. After a short trip to the ER, I was told by doctors there that I should begin taking Keppra right away to prevent this from happening again.

I tried Keppra last time this occurred, and it ruined several nights of my honeymoon, I was a zombie if I was awake at all. I have no interest in returning to that medication. So today, I asked my neurologist what my options were beyond Keppra. He told me, with my current age and health status: “there are no better options”. I specifically inquired about cannabis-derived CBD, and he told me “you can risk trying that if you believe it will help you.”

There it was, laid out in front of me. I didn’t ask for a prescription, nor for this physician to put his name, reputation or license on the line. After merely asking for a professional opinion, I’ve been shut out, my valid concerns and opinion discarded. Evidently, this is how medical experts approach cannabis in August 2017, in a U.S. state where it has been both medically and recreationally legalized. Despite years as an analyst in this field, with all my exposure to data, studies, and most commonly, conflicting opinions, nothing really prepared me for that sentence (“if you believe it will help you”).

My professional training is in data collection and analytics, not neuroscience. Who am I to make this decision? Who can I trust to tell me which medications I’m permitted to take to treat seizures, and what will be safe (or do harm) if not my neurologist? The choice on what to do in this situation must be infinitely harder when it has to be made on a child’s behalf – not terribly uncommon when it comes to epilepsy and seizures – and I thank my lucky stars that’s not a decision I’ve got to make today.

But the overarching issue remains: Are we as a society simply going to treat all cannabis – even non-psychoactive elements of it that have track records of effectively treating medical conditions – as “snake oil” until it is no longer a Schedule 1 substance? Is this status quo acceptable? Why shouldn’t physicians consider cannabis among the valid and viable options for their patients?

Here at Brightfield, we are not writing law or enacting policy, but we do work extremely hard to publish accurate data and relevant, timely analyses in the hopes that they will help propel this field forward. Today was a reminder of just how important this mission is, and how far we still have to come.

August 23 and Sept 6 we will be publishing a two part series on the growing CBD Market, learn more about this product category in the Hemp Derived CBD Report now available.

Access our Free CBD Report on HelloMD participants and how they use this product to treat medical conditions.