Seizures & Medical Marijuana

An Epileptic Seizure is an abnormal, momentary, involuntary, neuromotor system response characterized by minor to violent jerking and twitching. Seizures are caused by an overactive triggering of neuronal groups in the brain

Types of Seizures - Treatable with Medical Cannabis

  • Tonic seizures - constant contractions of the muscles
  • Clonic seizures - shaking of the limbs in unison
  • Myoclonic seizures - spasms of muscles in either a few areas or generalized through the body
  • Absence seizures - subtle paralysis with small head movement and eye blinking
  • Atonic seizures - the loss of muscle activity 

FDA Sponsors Medical Cannabis Component (CBD) in Epilepsy Studies

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have recently allowed Epilepsy Clinics to prescribe and study the compassionate use of a Medical Marijuana component called Cannabidiol (CBD). FDA related studies focus on difficult to treat Epilepsies such as Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet Syndromes in children.

Critical findings on Epilepsy and Cannabinoid therapy were presented at the American Academy of Neurology, April 22, 2015 in Washington DC.  A summary is as follows:

Study Parameters

  • Test subjects ages, 2 to 26 years
  • conditions did not respond to available treatments 
  • 18% had Dravet Syndrome (DS)
  • 16% had Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LFS)

Summary findings

  • Seizures (all kinds) decreased by 54%
  • DS seizures decreased by 63% over 3 months
  • Atonic seizures decreased by 67%
  • Cannabis medication effects lasted six months


“A big seizure just kind of grabs the inside of your skull and squeezes. It feels as if it's twisting and turning your brain all up and down and inside out. Have you ever heard a washing machine suddenly flip into that bang-bang-bang sound when it gets out of balance, or a chainsaw when the chain breaks and gets caught up in the gears, or an animal like a cat, screeching in pain? Those are what seizures felt like when I was little.

--  Terry Trueman, Stuck in Neutral


Science of Cannabis and Epilepsy

Cannabinoids in the Treatment of Epilepsy

"The pharmacological and biochemical features of Cannabinoids make them candidates for anti seizure medications. At this time, anecdotes have outstripped controlled clinical trials as sources of support for their clinical value."

Cannabinoids - Defending the Epileptic Brain

"These studies show that seizures rapidly activate the endogenous Cannabinoid system, which provides protection against excessive neuronal activity by reducing excitability of hippocampal pyramidal neurons and activating intracellular signaling cascades.

Enhancing the Cannabinoid system may prove to be an effective treatment for epilepsy, especially in cases in which standard drugs fail to control seizures."

The Endogenous Cannabinoid System - Regulates Seizure Frequency

"Our results demonstrate that activation of the CB1 receptor by cannabinoid drugs and possibly endogenous ligands significantly alters seizure activity and is more effective than conventional anticonvulsants in treating the refractory seizures.  Further investigation of the Cannabinoid anticonvulsant phenomenon may illuminate novel therapeutic"

MMJDOCTORONLINE Notes:  Patients with Epilepsy can be evaluated by our Medical Marijuana Doctors, here online. Our Cannabis Doctors provide 420 Evaluations and Medical Marijuana Cards that allow easy access to Medical Cannabis from any licensed Club or Dispensary in the State of California.

Further Reading 

What American MD's say About Seizures and Medical Marijuana

“History of Cannabinoids for Epilepsy,”   Orrin Devinsky, MD

“Basic Mechanisms of Cannabinoids in Healthy Brain,”   Nephi Stella, PhD

“Cannabinoids and Epilepsy: Experimental Evidence,”   Benjamin J. Whalley, B. Pharm, PhD

“Challenges in Pediatric CBD Trails: Seizure Identification,   Placebo Response,” Dennis J. Dlugos, MD

“Cannabis for Epilepsy: the Colorado Experience (in adults),”   Edward Maa, MD

“Colorado Experience in Children,”   Kevin Chapman, MD

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