Medical marijuana opened up many doors for Illinois man with epilepsy

David and son, Rylan, hanging out together

David and son, Rylan, hanging out together

Four months ago I wrote a post about David Kurfman, friend, Illinois medical cannabis patient, medical cannabis advocate and now an employee in the Illinois medical cannabis industry. It has been such an interesting journey for David. His family and friends bought into the propaganda that marijuana use was evil and was a gateway drug to harder drug use. He believed them and he never went near it.

However, David has had epilepsy for most of his life and has been on powerful ant-seizure medication for 26 years. He was tired of all the side effects. Kudos to David for overcoming the stigma and the lies he was fed. He decided to enroll in the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program (MCPP) from the very beginning in November, 2015. I recently caught up with David to see how he is doing.

David was able to reduce his medication, the anti-seizure drug, Dekapote, from 2000mg a day to 0 over the span of several months by using medical cannabis flower and oils. However, he was experiencing small tremors in his hands every other day and was told this may very well be a precursor to a more serious problem. After a month of using only medical cannabis products, he went back to taking 500mg of Dekapote, 250mg twice a day. He has continued experimenting with different medical cannabis products and different delivery methods. In addition to flower and oils, he has been using concentrates and edibles and is a big fan of the vape pens. He was happy to report that he is no longer taking additional medications for anxiety and pain; medical cannabis is all he needs.

For those of you with no experience with cannabis usage, finding the best strains and delivery methods require patience and a lot of trial and error, particularly if you have never used it and don't know what to expect.


If you've never heard of Rick Simpson, you should watch this video. His Full Plant Cannabis Oil, known as RSO oil, is a staple in many dispensaries these days.

When the MCPP started 9 short months ago, the only product available to patients was flower. Since then, dispensaries are offering a dizzying array of choices which include Rick Simpson Oils (RSOs), concentrates, extracts, tinctures, topicals, capsules, edibles and some even have suppositories. Many patients use their supply of cannabis, 2.5 oz every 2 weeks, to make their own oils, tinctures, topicals and edibles. Not everyone has the inclination to do this as it is very time consuming. There is so much going on in the medical cannabis world with new products coming out all the time. Just today, I saw an article about a cannabis inhaler which controls asthma and COPD which will be available very soon in California. I expect it to make its way to other states soon after.

David found a flower strain he liked which is high in CBD; the compound in cannabis discovered to be the most effective in controlling seizures. He was using that in conjunction with the oil, Charlotte's Web, named after Charlotte Figi. The Stanley Brothers created the CBD oil at the request of her desperate parents. It saved Charlotte's life and that of countless other people. Here's the link to her story. Many medical cannabis dispensaries carry it.

David discovered he needed a lot of cannabis to control his seizures. Unfortunately, insurance does not cover it and the products are expensive, especially the oils. They cost twice as much as the flower. Like every patient, he wanted to get "as much bang for his buck." So, he experimented with a flower that contains some THC and discovered mixing that with his high CBD flower worked extremely well. David's ultimate goal is to get off Depakote completely; he noticed he experienced withdrawal symptoms when he was off it this summer.

But, lots of really great changes have occurred in David's life in the past few months. He had lost his job and was looking for a new one. After months and months of applying for so many jobs, he landed his dream job of working in the medical cannabis industry. I was very disappointed to hear that he was turned down for 10 jobs because he has a medical cannabis card. He is moving to a different city for this job. Thankfully, it turned out well because he will be moving much closer to his son who lives with his mother most of the time. He will be the Lead Supervisor of Security at one of the newly opened dispensaries. He has many years of previous law enforcement experience, so this is perfect for him. He will continue to do public outreach and cannabis education for those with epilepsy.

Good luck to you, David, in this new episode of your life!

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