Convulsive Disorder by Frank Breault
I use marijuana to help control my epilepsy. In 1997, I started having seizures for no apparent reason. I've had EEGs and CT scans, but there is no known cause. No brain injury. Nothing. I first smoked marijuana when I was 14. Then I smoked maybe once a month. I started smoking recreationally at the age of 19. When I had my first seizure, I had no idea what had just transpired. My girlfriend, who is my wife now, was distraught and crying hysterically. She told me I just had a seizure. I didn't believe her. I was confused, and my head was pounding. I tried to get out of bed. But as I went to sit up, I realized I couldn't. Every muscle in my body felt like it was on fire. Soon thereafter, I started seeing neurologists. My initial doctor put me on Depakote. He also advised me that the medical community does not view marijuana the same way as the legal community and told me not to quit. I didn't know what was going on, so I kept my smoking to a minimum. The seizures continued, and he increased my levels of Depakote. As the seizures continued, Carbatrol was added to my prescription list. I switched neurologists, and my second doctor told me to continue what I was doing. Currently, I am on my third neurologist, who has added trazodone to my list. I am now 36 and over the years I have noted some intriguing things. My doctors, particularly the first two, blamed my seizures on missing doses of medication, even if it was two or three weeks prior. My seizures tend to occur when I have gone an extended period (two or three weeks) without smoking marijuana. I even mentioned it to a former supervisor. Stated simply, when I consistently smoke, I don't have seizures. That's consistently, not constantly. My current daily list of prescribed medications is as follows:
I smoke about 1.5 grams of marijuana a day.
It also helps me after a seizure by easing my headaches and calming my stomach. I use a bong. Initially, my wife was concerned about my smoking immediately after a seizure. Now I think she realizes that my body is just doing what it needs to feel a little better. My prescribed medication has some horrible side effects. My short-term memory is affected. Sometimes my brain just kind of "freezes up", for lack of a better term. I can be in the middle of a conversation with someone and mid-sentence just get lost. I lose the rest of my sentence. I may even completely forget the topic. Whoever I am talking to has to tell me what we were talking about, and sometimes it doesn’t come back. The only thing I can liken it to is when a computer freezes up. I just now noticed that it can also happen when I am typing mid-word. When I was typing the word "freezes", I typed “f r e e” and had to stop and ask myself what I was typing. I am thoroughly convinced that marijuana helps to prevent my seizures. When I smoke, I don't have them. When I stop, they start. Coincidence? I don't think so.