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Marijuana in Seizure Disorder: What to Know

Mayo Clinic defines a seizure as “a sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain. It can cause changes in your behavior, movements or feelings, and in levels of consciousness. If you have two or more seizures or a tendency to have recurrent seizures, you have epilepsy.”

Simply put, a seizure is an unusual surge of electrical activity in the brain. Multiple seizures can lead to epilepsy. A person having a seizure looks normal and awake, but they don’t respond for 30 seconds to a minute.

In some situations, seizures can be risky. It can be life threating for the person who is driving, thereby causing car crashes. People with seizures disorders like epilepsy have memory problems and are prone to depression or anxiety. Top of that, they may have trouble finding the job.

This way, it affects the quality of life. It is estimated that this medical condition claims nearly 2,600 lives a year in the USA.

Role of Medical Marijuana in Treating Seizures

Over the years, many clinical studies have proved that medical marijuana can treat several medical conditions. Apart from that, the majority of US states have approved marijuana for treating debilitating diseases.

Can it treat seizures?

There are many cases when medical marijuana helped the patient overcome the seizures. One of the popular cases is of Charlotte Figi.

Charlotte Figi lived in Colorado and has continuous seizures. Her failed treatments prompted her parents to give her medicinal cannabis in CBD. It is said that this drug reduced her seizures from 300 grand mals per week to only two to three seizures per week. While this case may be a ray of hope for the people suffering from seizures, it is important to consult your physician before trying medical marijuana for your seizures.

Research published in the Journal of Epilepsy Research found that CBD can improve seizure control based on their multiple trials on the patients.

In June 2018, the FDA approved cannabis-based medicine EPIDIOLEX oral solution for the treatment of seizures for two common epilepsy syndromes like Lennox Gastaut syndrome and Dravet Syndrome.

How Medical Marijuana Works

Marijuana is said to contain nearly 400 psychoactive chemicals. THC and CBD are two key chemicals of them. They interact with the receptors in the brain. However, it is not yet confirmed how it works in case of seizures or epilepsy. There have some small studies that show its benefits for such medical conditions. However, researchers have admitted that the efficiency of the drug is determined by the way it is taken or the plant it is extracted from.

Does Medical Marijuana Cause Side-Effects?

While medical marijuana is seen as a promising remedy for seizures, researchers don’t sideline the drug’s side-effects.

For example, marijuana can affect memory like most seizure medications do. This may cause skipped doses, meaning that seizures can strike. According to the study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, cannabis use in children can lead to a decline in their cognitive abilities. According to some studies, CBD might interact with other drugs for epilepsy.

For example, some enzymes of valproic acid (VPA), a common anti-seizure medication, can interact with CBD. This may risk some patient at increased risk of liver tissues. Onfi is another commonly used drug which interaction with marijuana can lead to tiredness in some people.

Also Read: Advertising for marijuana: is it so easy?

Side effects are also determined by the way drug is taken. For example, smoking can harm the lungs, while oral administration of the drug would not. Therefore, you should talk to your doctor before taking any type of drugs.

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