Recently, Lil Wayne has been chastised in the headlines for using marijuana on an airplane. But could there be more to this headline than was first speculated considering Lil Wayne’s history with stress-related seizures?
TMZ reported on July 21 that Lil Wayne asked to smoke marijuana on a private jet, but the pilot said no. When the plane took off, Lil Wayne lit up a joint anyway — so the pilot turned around and parked him at the airport.
Was this pilot just standing up for his rights, or will we eventually look back and see this pilot as persecuting Lil Wayne’s need to precisely control stress and seizures with medicinal marijuana? Interestingly, there is a lot of evidence that adds up in Lil Wayne’s favor.
When Lil Wayne first had his seizures in early 2013, he thought it was from sizzurp withdrawals. However, doctors told him soon after the seizures were not caused by codeine-based sizzurp — they were due to a lifelong struggle with epilepsy triggered by stress.
On March 23, 2013, Lil Wayne was reported by CBS News as having a recent horrifying seizure that dropped his heart rate to “30 percent of its normal activity.”
The article by CBS News goes on to say that “[d]ifferent activities can trigger seizures, including mental stress or difficult times in a person’s life.” About the experience, Lil Wayne said the following.
“Basically, I could’ve died soon. That’s why it was so serious. The reason being for the seizures is just plain stress, no rest and overworking myself. That’s typical me, though.”
Unfortunately, medications for seizures do not always work, and major epilepsy centers for research like Cornell University admit frustrating facts for seizure sufferers such as “researchers have had difficulty proving the scientific relationship between stress and seizures.”
Along those lines, marijuana may be working as an anti-seizure solution for Lil Wayne, despite being prescribed epilepsy medication in the past.
Sadly, side effects associated with epilepsy medications may also be unsuitable for someone like Lil Wayne, who has a busy rap career. Epilepsy Matters states the following explanation related to epilepsy medication problems on their website.
“In some cases, however, the side effects from taking medication may affect an individual’s behavior and/or emotional state. Such changes may include an impairment of drive, mood, sociability, alertness, or concentration.”
How high are the chances that marijuana might be the only solution for Lil Wayne to control his seizures? The National Health Service in the UK says that only 70 percent of people with epilepsy get control over their seizures with pharmaceutical medications. That leaves about 30 percent of people that have seizures in a group that might try marijuana as a solution.
Supporting the idea that marijuana is a good idea for epilepsy sufferers, Medscape states on March 23, 2014, “For patients who have exhausted conventional therapies, medical marijuana, for which there is anecdotal evidence of seizure control, could be considered as an unproven, ‘compassionate use’ alternative. Any such use of marijuana should be carefully monitored by a physician.”
What that means to people like Lil Wayne is that controlling seizures is a bit of a medical Wild West where doctors do not always have answers for everyone.
Adding to that, Cornell University says that stress-related seizures can be triggered by “stress caused by fear of having a seizure, the resulting loss of control over one’s life, cognitive and behavioral dysfunction, social limitations, stigma, sexual functioning, driving restrictions, medication side effects, and others.”
In other words, in order to continue touring, dropping records, having kids, a career, a girlfriend, and avoiding feeling vulnerable related to having seizures, Lil Wayne may be trying to reduce his stress levels (and stress-triggered seizures) as much as possible by smoking marijuana.
In the same article about the links between stress and seizures, Cornell University also says that “missing just one dose of medication” is enough to trigger a seizure.
This means that if Lil Wayne has been using marijuana regularly to successfully treat his stress and seizures, perhaps he needed to light up on the plane because waiting a couple of hours would be the equivalent of missing a dose.
It is also possible that if Lil Wayne is abusing marijuana, suddenly decreasing the amount he is smoking could trigger a seizure.
The Epilepsy website states, “Marijuana also has bothersome side effects, and stopping marijuana suddenly after using it recreationally could increase the risk for seizures.”
With all of this evidence from reliable sources, is it possible that fans will look back one day and see Lil Wayne as someone persecuted for using medical marijuana?
On the other hand, Lil Wayne may not care to be recognized as an advocate for using medical marijuana to control stress and seizures. Around the first of June in 2013, Lil Wayne said to Jimmy Kimmel that having seizures was something about his life he would like to keep private.
Despite the fact that fans might worry about Lil Wayne, sizzurp, marijuana abuse, and his seizures, Lil Wayne has reminded his fans that it is all under control.
In an interview with Nylon Magazine in December 2014, Lil Wayne says that his lifestyle has not changed much because of seizures, and that there is over-emphasis on the time in his life when he had seizures in 2012 and 2013. Instead, Lil Wayne stated in December 2014 that he simply needs large amounts of weed to be creative.
[Feature image via Bryan Steffy, BET/Getty Images]