Medical Marijuana - It's A Long Way To The Pharmacy by Brady Derrah
Thanks to medicinal marijuana I have been seizure free for over three years.
This is no small claim. Seizures are extreme events of the body. Planning your life around them is like living in San Francisco. You know the earthquake is about to happen, you just don’t know when. But with seizures, the earthquake hits, regularly. You dare not drive because you never know when the shock waves will seize your body and mind.
I was diagnosed with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy in March of 1991 after I began having grand mal seizures in 1990. My doctor, Thomas F. Clark, M.D., prescribed Dilantin for three years but the seizures continued. He switched me to the drug Tegretol in March of 1994 which lengthened the period between the seizures—but I continued to have them. The Tegretol dose was then increased, resulting in slightly longer seizure-free periods. But still, I regularly continued to experience these convulsive, disorienting shocks to my body and mind.
Finally, on my birthday (Jan. 13 1997), I made a resolution to find a way to live seizure-free so that I could get on with my life.
I had previously smoked 2-3 grams of marijuana per week (medically supervised) as an adjunct to pharmaceutical drug therapy, and I was sure this helped control my seizures. But how much? The only way to find out was to use my own body as a laboratory for the experiment. For me, the stakes were high: I wanted to go to college. I wanted to have a “normal” life, something you take for granted unless you’re prevented from it.
In the three years leading up to my birthday resolution, between January, 1993 and December, 1996, I had experienced six seizures, each about half a year apart from the next. These seizures all occurred on days that I did not smoke any marijuana. My last seizure had been on December 15, 1996, and I resolved to make that the last seizure ever.
My birthday resolution was to smoke 2-3 grams each day (not just each week) of high-grade “skunk-bud” marijuana, in combination with my other therapies, carefully assessing the results of this course of treatment as I began striving to achieve my dreams. Here is what I found.
In order to live seizure-free, there are four factors that I MUST do EVERY day. First, I must have a regular sleeping pattern (meaning I have to sleep at night and be awake during the day, and I can’t stay awake for two days without sleeping). Second, I must have a regular eating pattern (I have to eat at least two times a day, and I can’t go for a whole day without eating).
Third, I must rigorously take my Tegretol at regular intervals to keep my blood-level of Tegretol elevated (I have to take 400 mg. when I wake up in the morning at 8:00 a.m., 400 mg. in the afternoon at 2:00 p.m., and 600 mg. before bed at 8:00. p.m.). Fourth, I must smoke up to a gram of high grade marijuana three times a day (at the same times I take my Tegretol, I inhale five good sized bong hits).
To date, I have now gone over three years without a seizure. If I adhere daily, without fail, to the four behaviors described above, I won’t have any seizures. Not being a doctor, I do not know exactly what the marijuana does to prevent my seizures, but I know without a doubt that marijuana is one of the four daily practices necessary to prevent me from having them.
The marijuana helps me in other ways too. First, after taking my Tegretol, the marijuana settles my stomach. Second, the marijuana makes me hungry so I can eat regularly. Third, the marijuana helps me get to sleep so I can sleep regularly. Thus, marijuana is helpful as an adjunct therapy to the other three therapies—taking my meds, eating, and sleeping.
Every new day when I wake up and each night when I go to bed without having had a seizure, I thank God for creating such an important medicine. It lets me live my life.