Cannabis and Epilepsy

Decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana for a large part of the country is a matter of life and death and a conversation most try to skip over. Lives are being saved and illnesses reversed with the use of cannabis and CBD oil products, so it’s a conversation I was glad to have with the gentleman you see here.

Meet Rashad Houston, the Navy vet and father of two who was diagnosed with epilepsy the summer of 2015 at the age of 29. Having developed this tragic illness from what seemed like something out of the blue, this month Rashad is celebrating seventeen months seizure free. The only reason he’s here with us today is because of his strong will to live and the use of cannabis to treat his epilepsy.

“Every day was a game of Chess with death as my opponent. I felt alone even with people around me because I couldn't express my pain. A constant surge of electricity attacked my body; a personal hell I would not wish on anyone,“ says Rashad when asked about life with epilepsy.

No one brings to the light the traumatic toll chronic illnesses play on your psyche. Often time patients not only suffer the affects of said illness, but also experience times of deep depression. With no one able to give Rashad answers or relief, the brunt of having multiple Grand Mal Seizures daily wore him down both physically and mentally.

“The storm in my brain put me on the edge and I fell into a state of depression I felt I’d never recover from. I attempted suicide six times because four Grand Mal Seizures a day was just too much to handle. The decision to medicate with cannabis not only stopped my seizures, it pulled me back from the edge.”

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Grand Mal Seizures, also known as tonic-clonic seizures, occur in two stages effecting both sides of the brain simultaneously. Most will only have one of this type of seizures in their lifetime, but Rashad was suffering through four of these a day.

So how does cannabis actually helps with seizures? One of the more known chemical compounds of the marijuana plant, cannabidiol (CBD).

Cannabis should not be taboo in a society where opioids are killing hundreds of people daily. Weed can change the world if people give it a chance
— Rashad Houston

In June 2018 the FDA approved the first marijuana based epilepsy drug to treat epilepsy. The drug Epidiolex which is a form of CBD Oil can now be legally used to treat Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndrome, two rare kinds of epilepsy according to USA Today. This is a move in the right direction when it comes to publicly acknowledging the fact that this herb in its many forms can save lives. I asked Rashad just how important it was for us as a people to aggressively push to get more legalized use of cannabis therapy and CBD oil as alternative methods. With a clear seriousness in tone he replied:

“I need people to understand this is about life and death. I’ve witnessed people with numerous conditions feel hope because of cannabis. The healing power in the herb is changing and saving lives, and people need to open their minds to this medicine.”

We’ve done articles on the benefits of CBD oil in the past, so to have a first hand account from someone who literally saved their own life with its use feels we are doing the right work. This month Rashad celebrates 17 months seizure free and its by the power of cannabis he’s here to tell his story. As he says often, the herb saved his life.


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Penned by Erin Freeman, VP of Black Men With Beards

A public relations driven brand strategist, content creator, event curator and podcastor- Erin is a lover of words, fries and beards of course! Born and raised in New Orleans, LA, now residing in the Dallas, TX she provides stellar business consultancy and brand building for personal and small business brands.