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joes journey medical marijuana for epilepsy

Patient Story: Joe’s Journey with Medical Marijuana for Epilepsy

Medically Reviewed by: Andrew Bucciarelli, BS, PharmD, RPh

At Solevo Wellness, we hear many encouraging stories about medical marijuana treatment and how it’s impacting so many lives today. This story of Joe’s journey with medical marijuana for epilepsy and other conditions is truly heartwarming. Pediatric care is of the utmost importance at Solevo, and the mission of our Pediatric Program is to be a resource for all topics relating to medical marijuana for children. Read on to hear how Joe’s mother details the steps in his journey and the healing that medical marijuana treatment has brought the Faust family thus far. 

Joe’s Journey

Our son Joe was diagnosed with seizure disorder in his young teens. Although, looking back we now know that the seizures were present as a young child and probable at birth.  Joe also was diagnosed with sleep apnea and hepatic steatosis, which is fatty liver disease. Joe turned 16 last year and was told he could not drive. This was very hard for him to come to terms with. In March of 2019, Joe had his first grand mal seizure, which thankfully myself and my husband were both there for him. It was difficult for us to see our son going through this.  Joe was taken to the hospital by an ambulance. At the hospital the neurologist told us that medical marijuana would damage Joe’s organs, not help his seizures, and the doctor was more knowledgeable and knew more about this than we did. The neurologist also told us Joe could die from SUDEP – which is unexpected death in an epilepsy patient. This started our journey to investigate, learn, and provide our son with the best treatment for his epilepsy.  

The medication that Joe has been prescribed over the years, by his PCP and prior to his diagnosis, were incorrect because they wanted to treat Joe for ADHD — which was not Joe’s diagnosis. The incorrect treatment could have caused him more harm to his seizure disorder, which we were unaware of at that point and time.  My sister-in-law, who is a nurse, told me to get Joe checked due to his heavy snoring. Being a nurse myself, I knew something wasn’t right. This led to the diagnosis of sleep apnea and an abnormal EEG.  The doctors wanted to take out his tonsils, which would have again been damaging to Joe’s health, serving him no benefit and would have been an unnecessary expense for surgery. The doctors performed further testing secondary to the abnormal EEG. Joe apparently was having at least 15 or more absent seizures in 3 hours or less. Furthermore, this meant Joe was missing a lot of information that passed through his brain.

Moreover, the doctors believed that the medications could help Joe.  Joe tried several of the medications, which were very harmful to his liver. Among other things the medication made him feel lethargic and fatigued. Joe greatly disliked the way the medications made him feel. The doctors even told us that these particular medications would not have helped him during his grand mal seizure. After doing our research and trying all sorts of medication, we decided to try and pursue medical marijuana for Joe’s seizure disorder per his choice. Unfortunately, the cost of medical marijuana is not covered by our insurance. Consequently, we have spent over two thousand dollars on medical marijuana, but we are seeing that Joe’s seizures are becoming more and more obsolete.

In Addition, the Solevo Wellness center in Squirrel Hill has been working to adjust the dose and type of medical marijuana for Joe. They are very close to my heart, because they have listened compassionately, educated, and helped myself and my son.  They are knowledgeable about medical marijuana and their staff of pharmacist, pediatric consultants, and other team members are always able to answer questions or concerns that I or Joe have. I also must show my appreciation for Dr. Rothschild. Dr. Rothschild is a compassionate and knowledgeable physician who helped us begin our journey towards medical marijuana.

In summary, since Joe has been taking medical marijuana, I have seen him become a person without constant seizures. He is alert and smart and his previous diagnosis of ADHD does not exist at all. I wish I could educate the doctors to know how much this has helped him.  It does not harm his liver or any other organ in any way. As a professional nurse and a mother, believe me when I say that medical marijuana is absolutely necessary for healing and treating Joe’s Epilepsy.     

Compassionately, The Faust Family.