In Mexico, as in other countries where many families are low-income or middle-income, good health care can be hard to come by
For epilepsy patients, a lack of good health care or any health care at all can mean a difficult life for them and their families. The promise of cannabidiol or CBD oil treatments and the possibility of living a higher-quality life is worth any price to these families. Mexico recently passed a medical cannabis law making 1 percent or less THC cannabis extracts legal, and they will soon be more available to patients with epilepsy in urgent need.
As epilepsy patients like Charlotte Figi and others have demonstrated, the demand for CBD oil to treat epilepsy is high in the United States, and continues to grow in Mexico. At events like CannabiSalud (the first Latin American symposium on medicinal Cannabis for health professionals held in Guadalajara, Mexico), that demand is palpable.
What Is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a chronic seizure disorder and is often accompanied by other neurological issues. In patients with epilepsy, electrical signals in the brain cause physical and mental symptoms such as auras, difficulty talking, inability to swallow, repeated blinking or unusual eye movements, tremors, jerking movements, convulsions, and rigid or tense muscles.
These electrical events are known as seizures, and can affect patients differently depending on the location in the brain where the event occurs, the length of the event, and how much of the brain is included. Severe epileptic disorders, such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome(LGS) can cause so many seizures that the intellectual and physical development of patients is impaired. Patients with severe seizure disorder also have another problem: their form of epilepsy is often resistant or unaffected by traditional anti-seizure medications.
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder and can affect people of all ages – it often emerges during childhood or in the teen years. Epilepsy is a spectrum disease, and therefore affects each person differently; in general, unpredictable seizures occur and can interfere significantly in the lives of patients, their families and their communities. The cause of epilepsy is often unknown, although some seizures can be caused by reversible medical conditions or brain injuries.
Who Suffers From Epilepsy?
Approximately 50 million people suffer from epilepsy across the planet according to the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO notes that almost 80 percent of people who suffer from epilepsy live in low- or middle-income societies in countries like Mexico – these people are less likely to obtain the treatment they need and often face discrimination and social stigma.
The high rate of epilepsy in low- and middle-income countries may be due to the increased risk of diseases like malaria; increased risk for vehicle crashes, birth defects and injuries; and lack of adequate medical care. In Mexico alone, two million people were diagnosed with epilepsy in 2015. Increased treatment of epilepsy patients in Mexico with CBD may have extensive social, psychological, and economic effects that could ripple through the country and positively affect the lives of many people with the disorder.
How Can CBD Oil Treat Epilepsy Patients?
As in the case of Charlotte Figi, some epileptic patients have seen success in significantly reducing the amount of seizures they suffer from by ingesting CBD oil. In 2016, an Israeli medical study found that most participating patients with intractable epilepsy experienced a reduction in seizure frequency following at least three months of CBD oil treatment. Of the 74 children in the study, 13 had a 75-100 percent reduction in seizures, 25 had a 50-75 percent reduction, 9 had a 25-50 percent reduction, and 19 had a 25 percent reduction.
For patients with severe epilepsy, a reduction in seizures of this magnitude can increase the quality of life immensely. Although five patients reported aggravation of seizures following the treatment, the high treatment success rate is extremely promising for the other 69 patients.
In 2016, Medical Marijuana, Inc., became the first company to legally export CBD to Mexico. CBD, a therapeutic derivative of the hemp plant, has been shown to help patients with severe epilepsy symptoms and chronic pain. A corresponding 2016 research study on cannabis treatment for pediatric epileptic patients in México and the official pro stance of El Hospital General de Mexico’s epilepsy clinic demonstrated that CBD is an antiepileptic. The article notes that the unknown risks of cannabis treatment in minors is outweighed by the possibility of a return to human dignity and the preservation of human life that CBD can offer.
What’s Next For CBD Oil Epilepsy Treatments In Mexico?
In response to the high demand for CBD oil treatments for epilepsy patients in Mexico, Medical Marijuana, Inc., opened a subsidiary called HempMeds® Mexico in Monterrey, Mexico, in June of 2017. The company produces zero-tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC) hemp oil called RSHO-X, and has hired lawyer and cannabis activist Raul Elizalde, the president of the nonprofit Por Grace Foundation of Mexico. Elizalde’s daughter Grace was the first cannabis patient in Mexico treated per federal judicial order. The HempMeds® México location will be the patient hub for sales, marketing, and distribution of RSHO-X, and will help further scientific research, education, and product development for neurogenerative disorders like epilepsy. CBD treatments are coming to Mexico’s epilepsy patients, and none too soon.[Image credit- Pixabay]