From Seizures to CBD - Part Four

Part Four In Which Our Intrepid Reporter Endeavors To Convince His Parents That He Is Not Just Trying To Get Legal Weed

My parents are understandably leery about my starting on CBD. Firstly, because it’s me trying to get weed (legal or otherwise). And secondly—more importantly—because they question whether it could possibly be safer to smoke weed than to take the pills the doctors have prescribed me.

I’ve done my research. A LOT of research. Tracked down studies, testimonies, and spoken with people who regularly use weed to treat the wide variety of ills that it does.

But still: there’s that deep-seated stigma against weed. It’s dangerous, addictive, and makes you either crazy or lazy or some wacky hybrid of the two. My folks grew up in a culture where it was socially acceptable to mix drinks, but not to roll joints. There WAS dope-smoking, of course, but it was unarguably illegal and using it made you socially suspect. 

And you must remember: while weed was a prominent part of the American counterculture, there was nowhere near the amount of scientific analysis on the positive effects of marijuana that are now available. (If you’re interested in an outdated but excellent resource about the Devil’s Lettuce, I wholeheartedly recommend checking out Dr. Lester Grinspoon’s Marihuana Reconsidered (1971).)

Marihuana Reconsidered by Lester Grinspoon MD

Marihuana Reconsidered by Lester Grinspoon MD

It’s been an uphill battle.

I told them that it wasn’t harmful (and shown studies to back that up). That CBD was being used to treat not only seizures, but also anxiety, TBI (just ask the NFL!), multiple-sclerosis, cancer, and PTSD. Just to name a few.

I explained that, because the marijuana-compounds I was talking about contain less than 1% THC, it was not psychoactive (which, in turn, means that it isn’t illegal). This means that the kind of marijuana that I am trying to get for my seizures will not get you high—and that is a crucial point.

But skepticism. Ah, skepticism.

The studies were inconclusive. The insistence that it wouldn’t get me high (and thus potentially impact my daily activities; job-performance) was unfounded.

And above all: this wasn’t what the doctor ordered. Sure, I’d gotten the ‘go-ahead’ from a few docs (see previous installment)—but not really. They just said that it wouldn’t conflict with what I had been prescribed. Not that CBD would help, or that it was better than what I’d been prescribed.

I was already being prescribed Lamo, and that was an anticonvulsant (kind of. See last installment again.); who was I to doubt what Dr. N______ said was the right way to treat my seizures?

That was the unshiftable bedrock-argument, right there. The doctors gave me pills that were developed to treat these things (admittedly with a few more-than-minor side-effects, but hey, nobody’s perfect). CBD (AKA, from my parents’ POV, Marihuana) was untested, with only patchy anecdotal evidence to suggest that it had any effectiveness in fighting seizures.

While discussing this seemingly-insurmountable hurdle with one of the regular medicinal users I had sought out for advice and information, she suggested that I show them this sixteen-minute segment about Charlotte Figi (the namesake of the CBD-oil “Charlotte’s Web”), from Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s first CNN special about Medical Marijuana.

Charlotte Figi

Charlotte Figi

Charlotte suffered from debilitating seizures which none of the medications prescribed to her could remedy. The segment (which you have to watch, honestly. Stop reading this. Seriously. Forget about me. Click that link, and spend sixteen minutes with the Figis.) is incredibly moving, and shows just how much good—objectively, mind you—medical marijuana brought into the life of a family whose daughter was crippled by a disease which conventional medicine couldn’t cure.

At the end of those sixteen minutes, both of my parents were on board with my starting CBD.

NEXTiME: Establishing A Baseline

Adam Singer is a writer, allpurpose consumer of media, unlicensed investigator of curiosities, mediocre caricaturist, and perennial roadtripper. On March 8th, 2016, he had a seizure which has been a catalyst for deep introspection and drastic change. You can find him on Twitter, @timeofposting. If you have had a similar experience, or are investigating medical CBD, he encourages you to tweet @ him.