(photo: David Novin)
Words by Lily Moayeri
Tommy Cappel was not born with the propensity for seizures.
Rather, the co-founder, co-producer, and drummer for Beats Antique developed them after multiple concussions as a result of altercations and sports injuries in high school. His seizures continued for years, putting Cappel on disability and causing additional physical problems. “Every digit, elbow, and joint I have is chipped,” he says, chuckling. “My bones are damaged from landing on my face in a parking lot, hitting my head on a rock five, 10, 20 times because that’s the environment I’m in when it’s happening. My tongue — chunks are taken out of it and it grows back. Cracked teeth and broken glasses. Lots of broken glasses.”
Cappel has a sense of humor about this now, mainly because he has a handle on the situation. He was first treated with prescribed medications. They held back his seizures, but lowered his energy level so the excessive amount of electricity his brain was producing wouldn’t result in convulsions. “It was like a 400-pound blanket on my whole body and brain,” Cappel remembers. “I was walking around with a lot of weight.”
A partaker of recreational marijuana from his later teenage years, it was only through observation that Cappel noticed a correlation between how he felt after smoking and the slowing down of his seizures, eventually realizing that it was relaxing him far more than his prescriptions. (It should be noted that Cappel has no scientific evidence to back this up, but has personally researched the health benefits of CBD — the non-psychoactive chemical compound the cannabis plant produces — for the treatment of his formerly debilitating seizures.)
There has been a great deal of coverage on CBD’s effects on health in recent years, including reports on the use of CBD to control seizures by CNN and CBS News. Moving to the West Coast helped convince him of its worth, too. “Things changed when I came to California,” says Cappel who is originally from Virginia. “On the East Coast, weed was just weed. People here are more aware of different strains and what they do to you. I did some experimenting with