Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy – An Overview

Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy – An Overview

Medical marijuana is more readily available as a treatment option now than it has ever been. The mention of weed as a treatment option refers to the entire plant, i.e. the cannabis you chew or the one used through smoking. It can also refer to specific marijuana-based chemicals such as CBD or THC that have been extracted from the plant and formulated as oil, capsules, and gummies or in other forms.

Epilepsy is one of the conditions for which cannabis can help manage symptoms. Epileptic seizures are the reason why we have medical marijuana for seizures.

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is the most prevalent neurological condition in the world. It affects both men and women equally, and it cuts across demographics around the globe. Epilepsy is caused by an abnormal surge in electrical activity in the brain. 

When this surge of abnormal neurological function occurs, it results in seizures, and the patient loses control of body functions for a while. In some instances, the person completely loses awareness of their surroundings.

Epileptic seizures are not all the same. Some people pace out for a few seconds and then regain control while others twitch all over the body, fall and lose consciousness. Some people experience nocturnal seizures, which often occur in their sleep.  It is important to note that a single seizure doesn’t mean that the individual has epilepsy.

Investigations for the disease should begin if a person gets at least two seizures without any external factors causing them.  People with epilepsy have the same kind of seizure over and over again. Management of the disease, therefore, doesn’t have to keep changing from seizure to seizure.  

The ordinary course of treatment involves medication and surgery, which sometimes can help with the reduction of seizures. There are also cases in which seizures dissipate over time with exposure to drugs.

Still, there are some instances, especially in children, where the patient outgrows the illness. In the worst-case scenario, a patient will need to take medication for the rest of their lives to help manage the condition.

Does Cannabis Help Seizures?

Marijuana’s two main cannabinoids are CBD and THC, which work in the body by binding and slowing down pain signals. Research on medical marijuana treatment for epilepsy centers on CBD, which, unlike THC, is not psychoactive. The study shows that CBD works not only on pain signals, but it also affects the entire messaging system.  

Research conducted on mice concluded that CBD was effective in the reduction of seizures in some cases, but it was not effective in others. The different results could be attributed to the potency of different strains of marijuana used as some strains appeared more potent than others. It could also be attributed to the method of intake since there was a difference in effectiveness between different intake methods. CBD oil for seizures is the safest way to use marijuana for the management of seizures. 

The Studies Behind and FDA Approval

Medical Marijuana Epilepsy

FDA approved pharmaceutical-grade CBD (Epidiolex) for use in the management of two problematic cases of epilepsy. These are Lennox-Gaustat Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome; the two are treatment-resistant. 

This approval was based on three trials, which involved 516 patients with Lennox-Gaustat and 516 patients with Dravet.  These studies compared patients who took Epidiolex with some who took a placebo. In all three of them, patients who received Epidiolex experienced fewer seizures than those who took a placebo. Epidiolex is mainly recommended for children, but you can buy other quality CBD oils for seizures in adults. 

Possible Risks and Side Effects of Medical Marijuana for Epilepsy

Epidiolex has the following main side effects. Drowsiness, increased liver enzymes, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, increased risk of infections, rash, and diarrhea. Remember, Epidiolex is pharmaceutical-grade CBD oil for seizures, and its side effects are not necessarily the same as those of the entire weed leaf

This is why you probably have heard of cases of marijuana causing seizures, and that knowledge may lead one confused, wondering, “Does weed help seizures, or does it cause them?”

Final Verdict

While research may not have found out exactly how it works, weed appears to help with the reduction of seizures. The recent discovery of terpenes as a critical component of grass may be the key to unlocking the specific way in which medical marijuana helps manage epilepsy.

You may have heard of a person who experienced seizures after smoking weed, and this leads to the obvious question, “can marijuana cause seizures?” If you try to use THC for seizures, the outcome is likely to be more seizures.

The result of the relationship between weed and epilepsy depends on the marijuana you use. Buy CBD oil for seizures if you intend to reduce them.  CBD also comes in gummies, capsules, and vape oils.

Read further if you want to know more about CBD: CBD and Anxiety & Depression

Dwight K. Blake Written by: Dwight K. Blake

Dwight was a Mental Health counselor at Long Island Psychotherapy & Counseling in Westbury, New York for more than 15 years. He believes that CBD is the prime solution to this mental illness and more-- with proper research, medical acknowledgment, and application.
Through his work at AmericanMarijuana, together with the rest of the team, he wishes to provide everyone with genuine results and high-quality product reviews for everyone to enjoy for free.

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