CBD and Epilepsy

Grower’s self-experiment works

It’s already mid-March. Spring is nearly here and pot farmers are itching to plant their cash crop and pray for good weather. Any day now, Doug Gardner expects to have, up and running, one of the largest—43,560-square-feet—cannabis cultivation sites in Sonoma County. He has all the necessary permits for his property, which is close to the Napa County line.

I spoke with Doug during a light drizzle. “We need a real downpour,” he says. Spoken like a true farmer. He adds, “I’ll do almost all of the work myself.” He sorely needs knowledgeable, skilled workers, but they’re not easy to come by.

Doug has been on a long, strange trip. He suffers from epilepsy and has experienced thousands of seizures. He loses the ability to speak and has memory lapses. Brain surgery has helped. When his seizures began, Doug was a law student. He gave up the dream of lawyering, went to business school and now has an MBA, not a JD.

By experimenting on himself, Doug found that CBD can slow down the onset of a seizure, help him sleep and make it possible for him not only to survive, but to thrive as a new father and cannabis farmer. He points out that CBD is not a cure for epilepsy, but that it makes it possible to manage his condition. “It’s almost too good to be true,” he tells me.  

For more information about CBD, which was first discovered by chemists more than 80 years ago, go to Martin Lee’s website: projectcbd.org.

Doug cultivates cannabis in the Mayacamas mountains, where for years most pot farmers have grown without permits. “I have never been an outlaw,” Doug tells me. “I plan to follow 99.9 percent of the rules.”

All his life he has been in and around the cannabis industry. Indeed, one might borrow an expression that derives from cultivation: “The fruit falls not far from the tree.”

During the past few decades, Doug’s father, Fred, has helped lead the battle for the legalization and normalization of marijuana. He’s touted the benefits of CBD for more than two decades, worked with doctors friendly to cannabis and helped educate the general public about terpenes, phenotypes and genotypes.

Fred edits, publishes and writes for O’Shaughnessy’s, a publication for cannabis clinicians, where he broke the story about medicinal CBD. Doug belongs to the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Enthusiasts (SVCE). He’s the organization’s treasurer and executive director. Michael Coats, the president, says, “SVCE promotes Sonoma Valley’s distinctive cannabis to residents of California and beyond.” He adds, “Our goal is to highlight local cannabis’s remarkable terroir and spotlight how Valley cannabis, properly grown, adds value to our environment and community.”

Jonah Raskin is the author of the noir mystery, “Dark Past, Dark Future.”

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