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Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy

By on July 1, 2013

Summary (click to view)

  • Epilepsy is a disorder that causes frequent seizures
  • Cannabis was commonly prescribed for epilepsy in the 19th century
  • Around 50% of epilepsy patients who use marijuana say that it helps
  • CBD and THC both have anti-epileptic effects, but CBD may be more reliable
  • 2 small-scale studies have shown positive results in humans, but human studies have not been conducted since 1981  
  • epilepsy-marijuana-07-01TruthOnPot.com – Epilepsy affects approximately 50 million people worldwide, causing frequent and unpredictable seizures that cannot be cured. While long-term drug therapy can help most patients control their seizures, about 30% of cases are resistant to standard treatments.

    Interestingly, cannabis has been recognized as an epilepsy treatment ever since its introduction to Western medicine. Likewise, modern day studies suggest a role of the endocannabinoid system in seizure activity and seem to support the use of cannabis as an alternative to traditional drugs.

    History of Cannabis and Epilepsy

    The first record of medical marijuana as a treatment for epilepsy comes from ancient Indian literature, in which cannabis has been recognized as a medicine since 1000 B.C.

    It wasn’t until 1841 that marijuana was finally introduced to Western medicine by Dr. William B. O’Shaughnessy after observing its use in India and performing experiments with cannabis on his own. Dr. O’Shaughnessy suggested cannabis for the treatment of numerous conditions, epilepsy included.

    “In Cannabis, the medical profession has gained an anti-convulsive remedy of the greatest value.” – Dr. O’Shaughnessy

    New Remedies: Pharmaceutically and Therapeutically Considered (1843)

    Marijuana quickly became one of the most commonly prescribed medicines and its benefits in epilepsy were noted by a number of prominent doctors, such as Dr. J. R. Reynolds – former president of the British Medical Association and personal physician to the royal family.

    “There are many cases of so-called epilepsy in adults… in which India hemp (Indica/Kush) is the most useful agent with which I am acquainted” – Dr. J. R. Reynolds

    The Lancet (1890)

    Modern Day Use

    Unfortunately, cannabis became a prohibited substance early in the 20th century and was subsequently removed from Western pharmacopoeias. Even still, the use of medical marijuana has started to regain popularity in recent years.

    A survey conducted in 2004 suggested that 20% of Canadians with epilepsy were using cannabis on a regular basis, of which 68% reported improvements in seizure severity and 54% reported improvements in seizure frequency. Notably, none reported worse symptoms after using cannabis.

    THC vs. CBD

    While the Canadian survey failed to observe any negative effects of cannabis use among epilepsy patients, animal studies suggest that different marijuana compounds could have different effects. Specifically, cannabidiol (CBD) seems to provide more consistent benefits than tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

    Indeed, research on THC has shown conflicting results, with THC exhibiting both pro-convulsant and anti-convulsant effects depending on dose, type of epilepsy and other factors. Animal studies also reveal a possible ‘rebound effect’ from THC – withdrawal from THC exposure has been shown to increase brain activity and the potential for seizures to occur.

    On the other hand, animal research has conclusively shown that CBD can act as a strong anti-convulsant without the risk of exacerbating seizures.

    Evidence From Animal Studies

    Since the 1970s, the anti-convulsant effects of marijuana have been widely documented in animal models of epilepsy, including models of grand mal, cortical focal and complex partial seizures. Based on these findings, researchers came to the early conclusion that marijuana compounds could act as anti-convulsants in human patients.

    Carbamazepine is prescribed today

    Carbamazepine is still prescribed today

    Studies have even found cannabinoids to perform well when compared with standard anti-epileptic treatments. One of these studies was published in 1976 and compared the anti-convulsant effects of CBD, CBN and THC with 7 of the most common anti-epileptic drugs of the time, some of which are still prescribed today.

    The results showed that CBD was about as effective as carbamazepine and chlordiazepoxide and even more effective than phenytoin, trimethadione and ethosuximide. Interestingly, THC and CBN performed slightly worse than CBD, although both were still effective in most cases. The results also showed that CBD could interact with other antiepileptics by enhancing or diminishing their effects, depending on the drug.

    But in spite of differences observed in the 1976 study between different cannabinoids, other animal studies have also found crude extracts of marijuana to have strong anti-epileptic effects. For example, a study published in 1978 found that 200mg/kg doses of cannabis resin (17% THC) was 100% effective in stopping seizures, whereas 50mg/kg doses seemed to have no effect.

    Evidence From Human Studies

    Despite overwhelming support from researchers for human studies to be conducted, medical marijuana has never been tested on patients with epilepsy. However, 2 studies involving marijuana compounds have been published, both of which found positive results.

    The first study was published in 1981 by researchers from Brazil who conducted a randomized placebo-controlled trial (RCT) on 15 patients suffering from secondary generalized epilepsy. The patients were selected based on a lack of response to traditional treatments. 8 patients were given 200-300 mg of CBD in addition to their usual anti-convulsant drugs while the others received a placebo.

    Taken from the Salt Lake City telegram [May 20, 1947]

    Taken from the Salt Lake City telegram [May 20, 1947] (source)

    By the end of the study, 4 out of 8 patients that received CBD became seizure free and 3 others showed improvements. In contrast, only 1 out of 7 patients that received placebo showed measurable improvements.

    Interestingly, an earlier study observed similar benefits using synthetic versions of THC. The study was published in 1949 by researchers from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) and found that THC was highly effective at treating severe grand mal epilepsy in 5 institutionalized children.

    After several weeks of THC treatment, 2 of the children were either completely or almost completely free of seizures and the other 3 “responded at least as well to previous therapy.” Yet despite the researchers’ recommendations for “further trial in non-institutionalized epileptics,” THC has never been tested on epileptic patients since then.

    Similarly, researchers at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (Australia) commented on the strange absence of human trials involving medical marijuana and epilepsy since 1982, concluding that it was “surprising that there has been no further research on the anti-convulsant properties of CBD, especially as it has no psychoactive side effects.”

    • mr marsh

      I would be a test patient..

    • Jack Robbins

      I am 100% free of seizures with my 50/50 CBD/ THC tincture made with VCO and lecithin….without it I seize every 10-15 minutes….I cannot wait for their “studies” and many others cannot either

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    • Cynthia Cy

      I give all thanks to God almighty,I was once having the problem of epilepsy,for over four years,it come’s every two weeks,until i came across a post on the net about a Doc who can cure epilepsy,i contacted him, and he told me all i need to do,i took the medication for just five day,and that was all. for the past one year now i have not been attacked.you too can also contact him on alegbe3@gmail.com or 08104536179

      • Jeremy

        you must have had balls of steel sending out almost 500 bux on a whim

        • Mark Donald

          Am Mark Donald very grateful for medical marijuana association authorities for voting and alleging me as the best helpful Doctor , so for any inquiries or help of getting any of your Medical license ,Medicine,weeds, seeds, thc/cbd oil , medical marijuana Cards and so on do fast to get to me via email address ( markdonald045@gmail.com ) and contact number (313) 923-7690

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            I have been using Dr mark Donald THC/CBD cannabis oil in treating my sister’s rare form of left hand side breast cancer with a lot of improvement since 3 weeks and the oil is working in a miraculous way beyond our expectations. The medication is working with super proof though she is always euphoric with THC potency, but the medication is working miraculously. She is a Mother of 3 wonderful kids. i only text Dr Mark on his number (313) 923-7690 OR Email address (markdonald045@gmail.com .

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      we have top quality marijuana strains for sale text or call (567) 698 8469 or email … joshuamenez1137@gmail.com

    • 420

      Great article. It’s rather comical that this little weed plant has caused such controversy over the years. My epileptic husband has benefited from years of self prescribed marijuana. From our home studies to you I can vouch for marijuana and it’s effectiveness in curbing seizure activity. LEGALIZE IT.

      • Melissa Fraser

        My name is Melissa Fraser, I’m 39 years old and I thought I’d share my story about living with epilepsy.I was 6 years old and my mum and I were hit by a car. We were both badly hurt from this horrible incident. Mum was pregnant and lost her twins, and I was pronounced dead in the ambulance where my older brother who was 11 at the time was, my brother witnessed this. So with mum and me both hurt, and me pronounced dead, things were touch and go. By the way, I don’t remember much.
        So once we arrived at the Royal Children’s Hospital, they put me on support and took great care of me. I was in a coma and life support for 3 weeks, and the person I saw by my side when I came too was my mum.
        So since I was 6 years old I’ve lived with Epilepsy. I’ll be honest, there are some days where I go, I don’t want to go on anymore, but I need to prove to everyone I’m here for a reason. Without my family’s support and the support from the Hospital and others I would died. After leaving the hospital my brother order Dr. Lawson product and I do not experience seizure anymore So if you are in the same situation as me, believe me, I know it’s hard and someday you feel like giving up, but you’ve got to prove to the hates and the positive people around you that you can get through anything life throws at you. Thanks Doctor, contact him via his email dr.lawson52@gmail.com

        Thank you for reading my story.

        • 420

          I just got this message. I hope you are still feeling better and doing well.

    • Horst-Heinrich Beining

      My wife suffers from clonic granma seizures for the past 4 years and no doctors can seem to help her due to the epilepsy we have lost 3 babies and my wife is at wits end as shes getting 8-16 seizures n day and all the doctors do is sedate her

      • Melissa Fraser

        I’m 39 years old and I thought I’d share my story about living with epilepsy.I was 6 years old and my mum and I were hit by a car. We were both badly hurt from this horrible incident. Mum was pregnant and lost her twins, and I was pronounced dead in the ambulance where my older brother who was 11 at the time was, my brother witnessed this. So with mum and me both hurt, and me pronounced dead, things were touch and go. By the way, I don’t remember much.
        So once we arrived at the Royal Children’s Hospital, they put me on support and took great care of me. I was in a coma and life support for 3 weeks, and the person I saw by my side when I came too was my mum.
        So since I was 6 years old I’ve lived with Epilepsy. I’ll be honest, there are some days where I go, I don’t want to go on anymore, but I need to prove to everyone I’m here for a reason. Without my family’s support and the support from the Hospital and others I would died. After leaving the hospital my brother order Dr. Lawson product and I do not experience seizure anymore So if you are in the same situation as me, believe me, I know it’s hard and someday you feel like giving up, but you’ve got to prove to the hates and the positive people around you that you can get through anything life throws at you. Thanks Doctor, contact him via his email dr.lawson52@gmail.com

        Thank you for reading my story.

      • Mark Donald

        Am Mark Donald very grateful for medical marijuana association authorities for voting and alleging me as the best helpful Doctor , so for any inquiries or help of getting any of your Medical license ,Medicine,weeds, seeds, thc/cbd oil , medical marijuana Cards and so on do fast to get to me via email address ( markdonald045@gmail.com ) and contact number (313) 923-7690 .

        • Royal Canadianhotel

          I have been using Dr mark Donald THC/CBD cannabis oil in treating my sister’s rare form of left hand side breast cancer with a lot of improvement since 3 weeks and the oil is working in a miraculous way beyond our expectations. The medication is working with super proof though she is always euphoric with THC potency, but the medication is working miraculously. She is a Mother of 3 wonderful kids. i only text Dr Mark on his number (313) 923-7690 OR Email address (markdonald045@gmail.com

    • Melissa Fraser

      My name is Melissa Fraser, I’m 39 years old and I thought I’d share my story about living with epilepsy.I was 6 years old and my mum and I were hit by a car. We were both badly hurt from this horrible incident. Mum was pregnant and lost her twins, and I was pronounced dead in the ambulance where my older brother who was 11 at the time was, my brother witnessed this. So with mum and me both hurt, and me pronounced dead, things were touch and go. By the way, I don’t remember much.
      So once we arrived at the Royal Children’s Hospital, they put me on support and took great care of me. I was in a coma and life support for 3 weeks, and the person I saw by my side when I came too was my mum.
      So since I was 6 years old I’ve lived with Epilepsy. I’ll be honest, there are some days where I go, I don’t want to go on anymore, but I need to prove to everyone I’m here for a reason. Without my family’s support and the support from the Hospital and others I would died. After leaving the hospital my brother order Dr. Lawson product and I do not experience seizure anymore So if you are in the same situation as me, believe me, I know it’s hard and someday you feel like giving up, but you’ve got to prove to the hates and the positive people around you that you can get through anything life throws at you. Thanks Doctor, contact him via his email dr.lawson52@gmail.com

      Thank you for reading my story.

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      Natural medicine for epilepsy.
      My daughter started having seizures in 2008 and she was diagnosed later that year of epilepsy. We tried all the medications, drugs and therapy but it continued and she felt her end has come because she had seizure in front of the whole class this really made her angry, frustrated we usually used injections to keep her normal again and this do nor normally last long. All drugs failed and there was no improvement on her condition. A church member gave me Dr Humphrey’s contact and told me how he helped her neighbour using his medicine. I got the medicine and used it and it was really good, since then he has improved and the seizures are gone. If you need to contact him just reach him directly on josephalberteo@gmail.com for advise and for the medicine.,

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      The facts are clear, the testimonies are overwhelmingly many, its usefulness is unobjectionable. Marijuana is Medicine!!!! My heart goes to all those suffering with Chronic Health Conditions. I am available to assist with all of your Medical Cannabis healing needs. Feel free to drop an email whenever you have a special request for a Medical Cannabis product or service.
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    • Audrey Pence

      NATURAL CURE FOR EPILEPSY, MY TESTIMONY!
      One of my children went through epilepsy for years. I couldn’t find a cure with western anti-seizure medication. My child solution came, when I went to the internet for a personal search for cure. I read a testimony of a mother who went through the same problem, but his child was totally cured by Herbal Medication of Dr. Mohan. I contacted the doctor, and today my child is totally cured and free from seizures and jerks caused by epilepsy. For those whose loved one might be going through the same problem, you may contact Dr. Mohan through this email drajaymohanbose@gmail.com. You will find a cure just like I did for my child.

    • Peter Emmily

      I myself have epilepsy. Not to this
      extreme with grand mail seizures daily, but it still affects me in other
      ways daily. I am on medicine, which has slowly stopped working and I
      notice my twitches, blank stares, and memory loss (even in the midst of a
      sentence) starting to return. The side effects of this drug is
      noticeable and painful to deal with. It is so strong that if a normal
      person were to take my dose, they will die of an overdose.when i was
      going through the internet i come across Owens post thanking Dr Lewis
      hill for curing his seizure problem, and i got the contact of Dr Lewis
      hill and i quickly contacted him then he made me to know that the
      medication is 100% cure, and that was
      how i got the
      medicine which i used, after which i went for medical test It worked!
      Over a year now, i have not show any symptoms of seizure and I believe
      that am cure permanently if you need his help email him on
      drlewishill247@gmail.com

    • Dr Heyes

      Modern medical research has discovered beneficial uses for marijuana in treating or alleviating pain, insomnai, and other symptoms associated with certain debilitating medical conditions. In regards the Epilepsy, marijuana reduces the number of seizures in children and adults with Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, types of epilepsy that are difficult to control with current medications.
      Email me via //randyheyes@gmail.com// if interested in the cannabis oil for the epilepsy and/ any other ailments. Keep it Clean!