Propelled by her own personal success story, Leyland has launched a cannabis consulting company alongside Jonathan Rice, the first medical marijuana patient in Maine after being diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease found in people who have suffered repeated blows to the head. The pair aim to help deliver medicine to people suffering from epilepsy, PTSD, pain management and concussions. “Our goal is simple,” she says. “We want to help people gain access to CBD and eradicate the stigma associated with it, so that people don’t have to feel like criminals to access the medicine they deserve.” Leyland is working with influencers and athletes in order to bring people together in the cannabis community—and more importantly, to move the cause forward. “It’s about reprogramming the way people perceive cannabis. It’s about educating people and sharing our stories,” she says.
Her long term goal, though, is to convince her sister’s doctors that CBD oil will help. Despite a recent study by the American Epilepsy Society which found CBD could be effective in reducing both the frequency and severity of seizures in children and adults, Leyland says most doctors refuse to believe the results.
People in 29 states can legally use medical marijuana, and therefore CBD oil, for a variety of problems, including the relief of pain, anxiety and stress. But what if you want to travel with it?
“My dream is to improve my sister’s quality of life. But I can’t do that until the medical industry stands up to actually listen to their patients, to the studies. I feel cheated by the fact that I was on drugs for so long. It’s time for some change.”
Another side effect of the epilepsy drug Leyland was taking, called Keppra, is rage. “It sounds really funny, but there’s a term called Kep Rage, which was actually a family joke. Whenever I’d lose my temper my dad would start shouting Kep Rage, Kep Rage. It’s so hard, because when you need to take something, you have no choice—you just put up with it, no matter how bad the side effects are. Otherwise I was risking falling down and having a seizure and cracking my head open.”
Leyland also works closely with the Epilepsy Society—a leading provider of epilepsy services in the UK, including in-patient care and research on site—where her sister is a permanent resident due to the severity of her condition. Leyland recently launched a Mark Cross X Chelsea Leyland capsule collection with 20 percent of sales benefiting the organization—the DJ’s second collaboration for the Epilepsy Society after a successful Farfetch yoga project, which included a unitard line with Live The Process.
People will often ask Chelsea Leyland, who was diagnosed with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy at 13 years old, if she’s high.
Her parents are now 100 percent behind her, she says. “They’re so happy for me and really, really supportive. They’re telling everyone about it.”
This ongoing column explores off-label or emerging treatment options, drug development trends, and theoretical concepts in the field of neuroscience.
There has been a surge of interest in the “Charlotte’s Web” form of marijuana. 14 The Charlotte’s Web medical marijuana has very little THC, with greater than a minimum 30:1, CBD:THC ratio. The discussed person, Charlotte, had intractable Dravet syndrome epilepsy and her parents said that using this type of marijuana in their child attenuated her seizures; that led to the popularity of medical marijuana. It sparked interest in cannabinoids as a treatment for epilepsy, even despite the lack of scientifically proven evidence for safety or effectiveness. For legal access to it, her family moved to Colorado, heightening publicity, even though marijuana remains inconsistently legal elsewhere.
A neuronal balance between excitatory and inhibitory synaptic communication is required for normal brain function. An imbalance can result in ictal phenomena. 2 The brain’s endocannabinoid system provides on-demand protection against convulsive activity, having a major role in regulating the central nervous system. Endocannabinoids, their receptors, synthetic and degradative enzymes, and uptake mechanisms make up the endocannabinoid system. Exogenous cannabinoids reportedly mimic endocannabinoid activity in reducing seizures and countering neurodegeneration. This has precipitated questions about employing marijuana to establish ictal control. 2 Cannabis-derived substances, such as medical marijuana, are exogenous cannabinoids undergoing clinical applications and research to determine whether they diminish seizure frequencies. Dronabinol, nabilone, and nabiximols are pharmaceutical derivatives of cannabis under investigation, with the latter one rich in cannabidiol. 3