When Cecelia Sivertson got diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 12, her parents followed their doctor’s advice that she begin a regime of prescription medications. Over the years, she estimates she was given around 15 different drugs. For decades, she took these medications with no side effects.
Then in 2013, Sivertson began to develop tremors and found herself feeling nauseous every day. After someone came into her office and recommended she use cannabis, she started Nana’s Secret Medibles. “I knew I couldn’t be able to afford to to buy medical marijuana if I didn’t have a business.”
Initially, she founded Nana’s Secret Medibles to make cannabis infused brownies, caramel suckers, and brownies. She switched to making soda once she realized that soda gets absorbed faster into the body. “When I started feeling sick, I needed immediate relief. After drinking one soda, I could feel relief within ten minutes.” Compare this to an edible that can take up to two hours for one to feel the effects.
Soon, Sivertson’s symptoms subsided to the point where she felt she could go off her prescription medications and treat herself solely with medical marijuana. Initially, she felt fine but soon learned another secret about the prescription medications she had been taking to treat her epilepsy. “Doctors don’t tell children or their parents that once you start taking prescription drugs to treat epilepsy, it’s a lifetime commitment If you stop taking your medications, you can end up in the hospital with deadly side effects.” In Sivertson’s case, she ended up with debilitating seizures. Other side effects reported by stopping their epilepsy medication include anxiety, depression, suicidal tendencies, and mood disorders.
Presently, Sivertson takes 200 mg of cannabis oil extract daily. She prefers oil made from whole plant extract and not the synthetic cannabis products that have started to make their way into the marketplace. “If I miss taking my cannabis pills for two days, I will start having seizures. But as soon as I take my pills, I am fine.” In her estimation, patients that have epilepsy have different brains with electric currents that misfire. When she takes her cannabis pills, her electric currents move correctly. Unlike prescription drugs that made her high at times, she does not experience any psychoactive effects from the medical marijuana that she takes.
Sivertson along wth many producers of cannabis infused edibles had to halt production of their wares due to Washington State’s elimination of their medical cannabis program. She plans to resume production as soon as the paperwork is in order for her to operate under the state’s new licensing process that enables cannabis edibles to be sold in recreational cannabis dispensaries. Also, Sivertson looks to license her brand to other states that have legalized cannabis for medicinal or adult recreational use.
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Also, Sivertson is working to raise money to form a foundation for children with epilepsy. She hopes to promote the view that cannabis oil is much less harmful to those children than the the drugs she took for decades. She feels the prescription drugs she was prescribed are being manufactured for billions of dollars profit rather than being produced to heal children.
She believes that if children could be prescribed cannabis pills, they could avoid many of the side effects she experienced while on prescription drugs, as well as the nasty withdrawal symptoms she is experiencing as she tries to get off her medications. “Each time get off one drug, I feel better. Know that once I can get off my prescription drugs, I will be back to full health.”
The Epilepsy Foundation acknowledges medical marijuana as a viable treatment option and offers a summary) of the treatment approaches in treating epilepsy with cannabis. In their estimation “Evidence from laboratory studies, anecdotal reports, and small clinical studies from a number of years ago suggest that cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive compound of cannabis, could potentially be helpful in controlling seizures. Conducting studies can be difficult as researchers have limited access to marijuana due to federal regulations and even more limited access to cannabidiol; there are also increased financial and time constraints.”