Welcome to the third issue of Cannabis Patient Care! The focus of this edition is seizure disorders.
I must confess that when I first thought of the idea for this publication, I was heavily influenced by the pediatric patient stories I heard at various conferences over the years. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a parent myself or if it’s just the idea of a parent or caregiver doing everything they can to help a sick child that touches my heart, but those cases had a big impact on my outlook of medical cannabis. When I first entered the cannabis industry about 6 years ago my focus was mainly on the analytical testing side of things—quality control, best practices for laboratories trying to test cannabis, and so forth. This is still a big focus for my other publication—Cannabis Science and Technology. However, at every conference I attended I would find myself drawn to the medical cannabis talks. I would sit and listen to doctors, nurses, parents, and often patients themselves share these incredible success stories of how medical cannabis changed their lives or improved their child’s quality of life and I was always blown away by it. Those talks always left me wondering why more people didn’t know about medical cannabis for all these ailments. Thus, the idea for Cannabis Patient Care was born and our mission to share patient stories and help educate a broader group of medical professionals and patients continues.
With that in mind, I am honored to bring you several pediatric caregiver stories in this issue as well as insight from Dr. Bonni Goldstein who treats a lot of pediatric patients with medical cannabis. Dr. Goldstein discusses her observations about how cannabis can “move the brain forward,” explaining how she has seen it help some of her worst seizure disorder patients who had severe developmental delays begin to advance developmentally while using cannabis medicine (page 8). I also had the privilege of speaking with Matt Figi, Charlotte Figi’s father, about her journey to finding help with cannabidiol (CBD) and the Stanley Brothers, the start of Charlotte’s Web, and her enduring legacy on the medical cannabis community (page 12). We also spoke with Jari Sugano, who is the caregiver for her daughter MJ in Hawaii (page 34). Sugano shares some unique insight on being a caregiver in Hawaii and how medical cannabis has helped her daughter.
On the adult side, we connected with two epilepsy patients—Vanessa Jones and Deborah McCauley—who shared their stories about finding relief with medical cannabis (page 18). Jones talks about the initial treatments doctors recommended that didn’t work, and why cannabis gave her some control of her epilepsy and provided a significantly greater quality of life. McCauley’s path to cannabis began as a medical mainstream insider—an RN—who gained more insight as she changed the treatment for her seizures from the usual pharmaceutical regimen to cannabis—while facing backlash from the medical community.
Janna Champagne, BSN, RN, shares her unique expertise as a cannabis nurse (page 22). She explained that she has supported epilepsy patients through education, resulting in
success using cannabis with outcomes including a reduction in antiepileptic drug (AED) pharmaceutical reliance. On the research side of things, our new regular contributor Ruth Fisher, PhD, offers a high-level overview of what is going on in her article titled “A Brief Overview of the History, Efficacy, and Safety of Cannabis for Epilepsy” (page 26).
Advocacy continues to play a huge role in patient access to medical access, as exemplified by C.J. Carter’s work in Kentucky. “The State of Cannabis in Kentucky: A Story of Cannabis, Epilepsy, and Advocacy” (page 30) highlights Carter’s own use of medical cannabis for epilepsy and how he turned that need into a call to action and is now the Kentucky State Director of Minorities for Medical Marijuana trying to change the tide for future patients in his state. Finally, we spoke with Pepper Hernandez, a board-certified holistic health practitioner and the CEO and founder of the Cannabis Holistic Institute, who has suffered from an epileptic disorder since she was 19 years old (page 36). Hernandez also took her medical cannabis experience and turned into a passion for helping others find wellness.
On August 31st, we will be hosting a 90-minute e-symposium featuring a presentation from Janna Champagne and a patient-focused panel discussion with Deborah McCauley, C.J. Carter, and others. Please join us for this free event and learn more about how cannabinoids are helping treat patients with seizure disorders.
Enjoy this issue and I hope to see you August 31st!
Group Editorial Director