medical marijuana and epilepsy

What is Epilepsy

Epilepsy is defined as ‘a tendency to have recurrent seizures (fits).’ That simple sounding definition is misleading; epilepsy is an astounding complex medical condition.

Seizures are caused by a disruption to the electrical activity in the brain, causing the brain messages to become confused or even to stop temporarily.

What causes epilepsy?

For the majority of epilepsy sufferers – 60% of them – the cause of their illness is unknown. For other sufferers causes are varied and include: traumatic birth, severe blow to the head, meningitis or other brain infection, or a brain tumor.

How is epilepsy diagnosed?

There is no test that can conclusively diagnose epilepsy, although a recording of brainwave patterns (EEG) can provide useful back up information if a physician suspects that epilepsy might be the problem. Diagnosis is based on the patient’s description of their symptoms and the expertise of the doctor.

Treatment for epilepsy

Conventional epilepsy treatment involves the use of anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs), which act on the brain and suppress or reduce seizures. If these drugs don’t work (and they don’t always) brain surgery, vagus nerve stimulation and a ketogenic diet are possible alternatives.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation

Vagus nerve stimulation involves the implantation of a small generator under the skin just below the collar bone. The generator sends electrical impulses to the vagus nerve via a small coil that wraps around it. The impulse passes from the vagus nerve onto the brain, helping to lessen the frequency and severity of seizures.

The Ketogenic Diet

A ketogenic diet causes the body to go into starvation mode; it is high in fat, low in carbohydrate and provides just adequate protein causing the body to go into a state of ketosis. The diet was developed early in the twentieth century and was used to treat seizures in children. As anticonvulsant medications were discovered the diet went out of favor but it is once again widely used in the management of children with epilepsy.

Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy

Drugs such as Tegretol, Dilantin, Klonopin, Mysoline, and Zarontin are notorious for their appalling side effects, which include: anemia, headache, hair loss, depression, psychosis, gum swelling, impotence, and loss of libido. It’s truly a case of the cure being worse than the original condition. Given these problems it’s no wonder that patients, doctors, and researchers are exploring other avenues of treatment.

Marijuana patients report reduction in headaches as well as reduction in seizures when using cannabis instead of conventional medication. And, as we reported just yesterday, researchers have found that marijuana use may indeed be beneficial for the epileptic patient.

Medical marijuana has been reported to help these medical conditions.

Medical Marijuana Strains for Epilepsy:

Jack Herer

Kali Mist

Super Silver Haze

White Widow


Author Dianne Morgan

More posts by Dianne Morgan

Join the discussion 16 Comments

  • Jim says:

    I got viral encephalitis in sixth grade and my seizures disappeared without medication. Then came the return, 25 ft up in a tree working, thankfully I had my line tied. This was 12 yrs later. I’ve been on almost all the medications, most provided more negative side effects than good results. I have even been a guinea pig for the FDA but my Dr.’s said don’t screw with the pot or try any other natural cures. BS, I have done everything these pill happy Dr.s have suggested with no real effective response. Then it was my time to try my own scripts, Medical Marijuana, Ashwagandha, Gaba, Deer Antler Velvet, 5-HTP and Valerian Root. They are working better than anything I’ve had in the past and with only good effects. The pot I have been experimenting with are the high CBD strains, although Blueberry (straight or a hybrid) have had the best results. Good Luck!

  • tamra says:

    i have a 5 yr old daughter with seizures and night terrors what do u think and but puting her on medical marijuana,thanks

    • admin says:

      We would never condone giving marijuana to a 5 year old. Night terrors will pass with time, as for seizures, seek professional medical advice.

      • scott says:

        yes you can. admin you don’t know what you’re talking about. I know of 3 year old patients. do your research please!

  • doesn't matter says:

    let’s see been over week and i have nothing but stress and headaches one seizure later hurts inside

  • Samantha says:

    I have severe epilepsy, and have been on basically every medication ever created to treat it. The most effective of all of these medications for me only got me down to having about 7 full blown “grand mal” seizures a day, this was a very high number and I felt completely helpless and like I wasn’t in control. I had it for only a short time and I felt like my life was ruined from that point on. My long time boyfriend even left me because he couldn’t handle it.
    I was diagnosed in April of 2010, and about 6 months later I found out about medical marijuana. I tried it, and when I use it at least once a week I don’t have a single seizure! Its amazing! I also noticed that it has improved my long time depression. I am lucky enough that I don’t need to use it every day because of how much my body clings to medications and how slow it is at getting it out of my system.

    But yes Medicinal Marijuana is a miracle for me!! I think it should be legal in every state though!!!!!

  • Lance says:

    People who have epilepsy should NEVER, and I repeat, NEVER smoke any cannabis high in THC, as it can lower the seizure threshold. Why? Because the higher THC levels mess with the neurotransmitters in your brain and excite and twist them in ways no brain with epilepsy needs to be messed with, get my drift?

    That said, the good news is if you have seizures, you may do just fine and even improve on cannabis that is HIGH IN CBD’s (cannabinoids) and LOW in THC….For example, strains like Harlequin or ATF are high in CBDs and best for those who suffer with seizures…….also remember to eat fish oils….Love and PEACE

  • Epilepsie Symptomen says:

    Thank you for this great article about epilepsy.

    I really can take benefit from it.

    I have bookmarked this and i also am looking forward to reading new articles.

    Keep up the great job!

  • May says:

    Ive had seizures for 18 years, the side effects from the pharms were eventually too much, and they lost their effectiveness. So I decided to switch to cannabis to fully control my seizures. No other medicine, Ive tried several, has been able to control them as well.

    In regards to epilepsy and cannabis I would recommend not using fertilizers with cadmium. The danger is that cadmium is much more easily absorbed by the lungs and is used as a blocker of elevated Ca2+.

    CBD (has been identified as a anti-spasmatic) and tends to elevate the intracellar Ca2+ which has proven to help regulate the hippocampus, an area of the brain.

    I suspect that THC plays a role in controlling epilepsy with the CBD as well.

    Personally I have found the indicas to be more beneficial for myself,
    However in the ruderalis, although low levels of THC are found
    they have relatively high levels of CBD.

    Unfortunately its difficult to obtain pure ruderalis seeds and the majority of the crosses have a higher percentage of indica or sativa in their breeding, and are bred for ruderalis ‘s autoflowering properties (flowering by plant age and not the duration of sunlight)

    I propose that a ruderalis 80/20 indica may more beneficial for epilepsy.

    • May says:

      Higher CBD content may be valuable for certain cancer patients as well, as well as certain psychological disorders.

  • marty says:

    Epilepsy for 23 years. Did all the AED’s and dealt with way too many side effects. Medical marijuana has saved my jife I’ll take brownies over 23 pills a day.

    Thank you for your support of medical marijuana.

  • kevin says:

    as a health coach I want to recommend MMJ to so many people…. I work for someone else though and would lose job.

  • Tim says:

    I had seizures at least once a week until August of last year when I started smoking marijuana every night at bedtime. I haven’t had a seizure since then.

    • Thank you for commenting on this article!

      You are an example of why medical marijuana is brilliant and should be more accessible. To hear that you can do something as simple as smoking before bed with a few tokes of some weed and you’re free of seizures – that’s just incredible. No pills and unnatural junk.

      Hopefully one day we’ll see more and more states legalize.

  • Trista says:

    I recently did a research paper on medical marijuana and i never really knew all the aliments that it could relieve with fewer side effects then the prescription drugs.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.