Purple Day is a global grassroots movement dedicated to raising awareness about epilepsy. Lavender is the international colour for epilepsy and also represents solitude. Purple Day was motivated by Cassidy Megan, a nine-year-old Canadian and her struggle with epilepsy. The goal of observing this day is to raise general public awareness, reduce the social stigma that many people with epilepsy face, and empower people living with epilepsy to take action in their communities. Dr Pooja Kohli, Vice President, HempStreet, explains epilepsy management on this purple day.
Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder affecting people of any age, gender, or ethnicity. Unfortunately, an all-pervasive myth that epilepsy is a sign of a mental or psychiatric illness discourages patients and families from seeking medical attention, even though epilepsy is an entirely treatable condition in most cases. Furthermore, the misconceptions about seizure first aid make it extremely dangerous for patients.
Although there is no quick fix for epilepsy, it can be successfully managed through medication, surgery, or alternative forms of treatment. Several organizations and initiatives in India are working to increase awareness and access to epilepsy care. The Indian Epilepsy Association is a national organization that advocates for people with epilepsy and provides patients and their families with information and support. Furthermore, The Government of India launched the National Epilepsy Control Program in 1983 to provide free antiepileptic drugs to needy patients.
Managing Epilepsy With Medical Cannabis
Medical Cannabis, or its derivatives for medical purposes, has been found to have potential therapeutic benefits for patients who have epilepsy. Cannabis contains cannabinoids, such as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), which can affect the nervous system and the brain. CBD interact with the GPR55 receptor, which is involved in the progression and development of epilepsy. CBD reduces the severity and frequency of seizures in epilepsy patients by binding to this receptor. THC, on the other hand, has a more complicated relationship with epilepsy. While THC has been shown in animal models of epilepsy to have anti-seizure effects, it may also have proconvulsant effects in certain situations. The benefits of medical cannabis do not stop there; it also helps with pain relief, anxiety, appetite stimulation, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, Multiple sclerosis, and many other conditions.
Epilepsy accounts for a significant portion of the global disease burden, affecting approximately 4 and 10 per 1000 people. Every year, an estimated 5 million people worldwide are diagnosed with epilepsy. Even though epilepsy affects many people, it is still widely misunderstood. Therefore, the primary goal of epilepsy education and awareness programmes for the general public is to combat stigma to improve the quality of life for people with epilepsy. Therefore, it is critical that people with epilepsy and those in their social circle, including healthcare organizations and the government, participate in more awareness-raising initiatives such as Purple Day.