Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy: Everything You Need to Know

Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy - Everything You Need to Know

The medical use of marijuana has been a topic of interest in scientific studies for years. According to a study published in The Journal of the International League Against Epilepsy, the medical use of marijuana dates back to 2,700 B.C. in China. The Chinese used medical marijuana to treat different conditions such as gout, malaria, menstrual disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, constipation, and more.

In a survey published by Pew Research Center in 2019, an overwhelming majority of U.S. adults (91%) say marijuana should be legal either for medical and recreational use. This research shows that many believe in the health benefits of marijuana use. One of the claims about medical marijuana is that it can be used to help treat epilepsy. To know the truth about marijuana and epilepsy, let us dive into some studies conducted to search for relief of this condition.

Symptoms of Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by repeated seizures and loss of awareness due to abnormal brain activity. It is the fourth most common central nervous system disorder, and anyone can develop it — both men and women regardless of race and age.

The symptoms of seizures are different. Some people stare blankly during seizures, while some twitch certain body parts. Some of the other symptoms are:

  • Temporary Confusion
  • Loss of Awareness
  • Fear, Deja Vu, and Anxiety

Having one seizure is not enough to diagnose a person with epilepsy. The required number of unprovoked seizures for diagnosis is at least two. Treatment for epilepsy includes medication or surgery — these two options control seizures in most cases. While some need to undergo lifelong treatment, there are cases where seizures do not recur. For instance, some children tend to outgrow this neurological disorder.

Causes of Epilepsy

While there is no identifiable cause for approximately half of the patients diagnosed with epilepsy, the remaining half is said to be caused by the following factors:

  • Genetics – There are types of epilepsy linked to specific genes, which make some people more sensitive to factors that may trigger a seizure.
  • Head Trauma – People who have been in car accidents or any other accidents that caused head trauma may develop epilepsy.
  • Brain Disorders – Stroke, brain tumors, and other brain disorders that damage the brain can also cause epilepsy to develop. Stroke is proven to be one of the most common causes of epilepsy in adults of ages 35 years old and beyond.
  • Other Causes – Other factors can cause epilepsy to develop. Some of which are developmental disorders, infections in the brain, prenatal injuries, and more.

Is Marijuana Good for Epilepsy?

Marijuana or medical cannabis has cannabinoids that act on cells in the body, including the brain. The two main cannabinoids used in medicine are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Many research studies suggest that cannabidiol (CBD) — the second most prevalent chemical compound found in marijuana — has potential benefits in controlling seizures. However, more studies are still required when it comes to the relationship between THC and epilepsy.

Based on these studies, there is still a lot to be uncovered about the potential benefits of medical marijuana in epilepsy. Recent studies support the claim that marijuana helps epileptic patients who may not respond well to traditional medication.

Here are some of the studies that support the use of marijuana:

1. The findings of a study entitled, “Effect of Cannabidiol on Drop Seizures in the Lennox–Gastaut Syndrome,” showed a significant decrease in the frequency of atonic seizures in children and adults when CBD was used alongside other seizure medications.

A total of 225 people were observed in the study, where 76 people received a CBD oral solution with a dose of 20 mg/kg of their body weights twice daily in 14 weeks. There were 73, meanwhile, who received a dose of 10 mg/kg of their body weights, and 76 did not receive any.

The results showed a 41.9% decrease in the number of seizures for the first group. The second group, on the other hand, experienced a 37.2% decrease. For patients who did not receive any dose of CBD alongside their medication, the frequency of seizures decreased by only 17.2%.

2. Another study published in The New England Journal of Medicine showed the same results about epilepsy treatment with weed. Still, this time, the patients were diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome — an epilepsy syndrome that usually begins during early childhood.

The study showed 43% of patients who received a specific dose of CBD alongside seizure medications experienced a 50% decrease in the number of convulsive seizures. On the other hand, 27% of patients who received seizure medications alone experienced a 50% decrease in the frequency of convulsive seizures.

3. In a 2015 study, 54% of the 214 patients observed had fewer seizures when administered with Epidiolex — an FDA-approved oral solution. Patients aged 2 to 26 years old did not respond to seizure medications.

4. The results of a 2017 study published in The Journal of Epilepsy Research showed a significant decrease in the number of seizures in two epilepsy syndromes — Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome — in patients who received a specific dose of purified CBD products. There are even cases where seizures stopped.

Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a complex disorder that affects the quality of life of those diagnosed with it and their families. The emergence of studies on epilepsy treatment with weed is only natural in the quest to find a cure or relief to manage this condition. If you are diagnosed with epilepsy and consider including medical marijuana in your treatment, consult your doctor first. They can assess your condition and advise you if marijuana is the proper treatment for you.

Altitude Organic Cannabis is the go-to source for the best medical marijuana products. We are committed to giving people access to the highest quality of marijuana products at affordable prices. Visit our dispensary in Dillon, CO, to check out the products we offer. If you have any inquiries or questions, do not hesitate to contact us.