Weekly Epileptic Seizures Reduced by Medical Cannabis

By:  Lance Fogan, M.D.

Photo Credit: www.depositphotos.com

Lance Fogan, M.D., is Clinical Professor of Neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. His hard-hitting emotional family medical drama, “DINGS, is told from a mother’s point of view. “DINGS” is his first novel. Aside from acclamation on internet bookstore sites, U.S. Report of Books, and the Hollywood Book Review, DINGS has been advertised in recent New York Times Book Reviews, the Los Angeles Times Calendar section, and Publishers Weekly. DINGS teaches epilepsy and is now available in eBook, audiobook, soft, and hard cover editions.

A study was summarized by Robert Herpen, MA, and Shenaz Bagha on the American Epilepsy WebSite. The researchers, Xintian Lyn, BS, a student in the department of experimental and clinical pharmacology at the College of Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota, and her team reported on their recent poster at the American Epilepsy Society meetings earlier in December 2023 that adults with epilepsy given medical cannabis had a significant decrease in weekly seizure frequency.1

There is a paucity of data on the effects of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol, the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis) on seizure frequency. This research group in Minnesota was interested in cannabis’ effects on seizure frequency.

From 2016 to 2019 one-hundred-twelve adults with epilepsy, 70% of whom were aged 18-64 (54.5 % were male) were studied. The participants had at least four visits for treatment for at least 6 months. They may or may not have had antiseizure medications prescribed, too. The outcome of the study was that 57 participants reported fewer weekly seizures, 47 enrollees reported no change—including 34 with zero frequency seizures during the study period—while 10 patients reported an increase in their seizure frequency. In all three of these groups, participants were dispensed both CBD (cannabis) and THC. The study found a significant difference reported in CBD total daily dose among those who recorded either a decrease or no change in seizure frequency. CBD is a chemical found in marijuana. CBD doesn’t contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana that produces a high.

Thirty patients relied on only CBD cannabis to manage their epileptic seizures. Most of this study population were also taking one to five antiseizure medications.

If your epilepsy is poorly controlled, discuss adding CBD (cannabis) to your treatment with your physicians. Additionally, explore the potential of brain surgery as your epilepsy treatment if no other treatments benefit you. Several of my previous 160 monthly blogs are on my website: LanceFogan.com dealt with brain surgery as a chance to improve your epilepsy when medications fail (See Blog # 89 December 26, 2017: Surgical Removal of Seizure Foci in Your Brain to Cure Poorly Controlled Epilepsy is Safe!; Blog # 103 February 26, 2019: Epilepsy—fit to drive?; Blog # 114 January 26, 2020: Epilepsy surgery in childhood and long-term employment is encouraging.; Blog # 121 August 25, 2020: If your seizures aren’t controlled epilepsy surgery is safe and really can help).


Lyu X. et al. Medical cannabis and seizure control in Minnesota medical cannabis program. Presented at American Epilepsy Society annual meeting Dec. 1-5, 2023: Orlando, FL.

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