You are hereCan epilepsy patients use medical marijuana to prevent seizures?
Can epilepsy patients use medical marijuana to prevent seizures?
I wanted to share my experiences with using medical marijuana to help prevent seizures and see how many other epileptics are using medical marijuana this way.
Warning: THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE! You must consult with your doctor or health care advisor before changing anything related to your health regimen for epilepsy. There is not enough clinical evidence & research about the benefits of medical cannabis for it to be used as a main source of medicine for epilepsy or any other condition, and you need to speak with a licensed health care advisor to make the right decision for your health and your situation. You may be surprised at how many doctors are willing to talk openly about medical cannabis. As with everything for epileptics, if you do make any changes, start slowly and avoid going overboard.
There are not enough studies about cannabis and epilepsy to know the complete effects. Until more studies have been conducted, I believe that cannabis should only be used by epileptics as a last resort, when nothing else has worked. If you do decide to try to prevent seizures with epilepsy, start slow and try to stay at the lowest dose needed to acheive results. Remember that any kind of stress on the body can make seizures worse. Some epileptics have claimed that any kind of medical marijuana will actually makes their epilepsy worse or even directly triggers seizures, so definitely don't just start smoking marijuana like it's a new epilepsy RX from your doctor. That being said, a lot of prescription epilepsy medicines can make seizures worse, too. It's all a matter of finding what works for your body.
Table of Contents
- How I Use Medical Marijuana to Prevent Seizures
- Possible Medical Strains for Epilepsy Patients
- Learn How to Make Edible Cannabis Extract Oil
- My story of medical cannabis & epilepsy
- Feedback we've received from other patients with epilepsy
- In the News - Treating epilepsy with cannabis
- Epilepsy Patients Share Their Experiences - Steve explains in this video how he prevents seizures with medical cannabis
The best treatment for me seems to be a mix of high-CBD oil and high-THC cannabis hash oil (sometimes referred to as Rick Simpson oil or RSO).
Most Effective For Me - Ingest Daily
- High-CBD cannabis extract oil
- High-THC cannabis extract oil
Please note that CBD will help counteract the psyhcoactive effects of THC. In addition to preventing seizures, this mix does not seem to affect my ability to function, especially when compared to smoked cannabis.
I am able to perform my professional duties just fine. I do not drive by choice, partly because I worry about being considered "under the infuence," but mostly because I fear having a seizure while driving.
I have learned that when I am ingesting both types of cannabis oil daily, I very rarely (if ever) get auras or need to resort to smoked cannabis in order to prevent a seizure.
When I don't use cannabis oil, I occasionally use smoked cannabis if I feel a seizure coming on, as smoked cannabis seems to be the fastest way to get an extra "boost" of cannabis in my system.
For example, sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with an aura, which is a weird feeling I get right before I have a seizure (if it happens when I'm awake). When this happens, I'll smoke a bowl and the aura almost always goes away completely. I usually fall right back asleep for several more hours of restful, seizure-free slumber.
So far, I've never has a tonic-clonic seizure since I started using medical cannabis. *knocks on wood*
When buds are tested for potency, I often get the best results from strains that test high for CBD and THC.
It is unusual to find a strain that tests high in both, so I will usually mix a high-CBD strain (like Harlequin, Charlotte's Web, etc) with a high-THC strain (found at nearly any medical cannabis dispensary).
I am fortunate enough to live in a medical state where I have access to medical cannabis dispensaries that sell specialized medical strains and also test their CBD and THC.
When not able to test cannabinoid levels, I have to try to pick what works for me based on appearance and strain name. In these cases, I tend to get the best results with buds from full Sativas and Haze strains.
Visually, they often are “uglier,” they appear less dense, sometimes fluffy and often very dusty compared to dense Indica buds.
Some of my favorite strains for preventing seizures are:
- Sour Jack
- Many "Haze" strains
- Durban Poison
- Sour Diesel
- Thai strains
- Hawaiian strains
- Grand Daddy Purp (GDP)
This is all just anecdotal evidence for now, but I would love to hear more experiences, good or bad, from other epileptics. If you have epilepsy and have ever used medical marijuana, please leave your feedback, good or bad.
How to Make Edible Cannabis Hash Oil
Also known as Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), Phoenix Tears, Hemp Oil, or Edible Hash Oil
I never had any seizures as a kid.
In college, I started smoking marijuana every single day, when I was about 21. I may have been subconsciously self-medicating myself for seizures without realizing it. Before my first seizure, I just knew that sometimes I felt weird and marijuana seemed to help.
I never missed a day of smoking for 7 years, until I was 28, and that's when I had my first tonic-clonic seizure. A tonic-clonic seizure is sometimes called a "grand mal" seizure; the kind of seizure most people think of, where people go unconscious, jerk around and bite their mouth uncontrollably.
I normally have any tonic-clonic seizures in my sleep or early in the morning.
After I had my first few tonic-clonic seizures I got some extensive testing on my brain by a team of neurologists, including an EEG and an MRI.
This testing showed that I was actually having partial seizures all the time, especially when I was tired or dehydrated. These partial seizures manifested themselves as stuttering, hand tremors, and me becomming unresponsive ("staring off into space" with no memory of the event), usually accompanied by a sudden sense of inexplicable confusion.
The fact that I was having partial seizures all the time explained some weird phenomena I'd noticed. Sometimes people would tell me I'd just paused in the middle of a sentence for several seconds, and I didn't seem to realize or remember these pauses. Sometimes I'd suddenly forget where I was, and feel confused like I just "woke up", having lost memory of the last few minutes, even if I was standing or in the middle of a conversation or task.
These are examples of partial seizures, and I've found that smoking medical marijuana regularly seems to dramatically reduce these partial seizures from occuring.
I had my first tonic-clonic seizure after taking a week-long break from marijuana after 7 years of daily use
I actually stopped smoking marijuana for a week before my first tonic-clonic seizure. This was the first time I hadn't smoked marijuana daily in over 7 years.
What neurologists have told me about about smoking marijuana...
When I had my very first tonic-clonic seizure, the neurologist at the ER noted that there was traces of marijuana in my blood, and said that marijuana use may have possibly triggered my first seizure. He wasn’t an epilepsy specialist, and I believe he was just pointing fingers because he didn’t know why I had the seizure.
In my heart, I felt certain this couldn’t be true. I may have had marijuana in my system (probably from smoking every day for so long), but when I had my first seizure, it was the first time I'd taken a break from smoking marijuana in 7 years.
It almost seemed like I my first tonic-clonic seizure was triggered by not smoking for too long.
Yet despite my initial misgivings, I trusted his advice because he was a neurologist.
I was told at the ER that my previous marijuana use may have caused my first seizure, so I continued to abstain from marijuana
They sent me home, told me my seizure had been caused by my marijuana use, and said I would be fine as long as I continued to abstain from smoking.
I stopped smoking marijuana completely as they said. Within a few days, I had another series of major tonic-clonic seizures that started early in the morning and lasted for nearly a full day.
A few days later, I was again rushed to the ER after a major seizure in my sleep. I continued having tonic-clonic seizures every few hours for nearly a full day before the people at the ER could get me to stop seizing
They had to give me extremely high doses of powerful anti-epileptic prescription drugs to get the seizures to stop. These medicines come with side effects like "fatal rash" and "sudden unexpected death." Yet if the seizures didn't stop, I was going to die anyway, so they medicated me without hesitation.
By the end of the day, my entire face and much of my body was covered in bruising from the extreme internal tension and clenching caused by the constant assault of tonic-clonic seizures.
I was assigned to a neurologist (this time a specialist in epilepsy) who immediately told me that I needed to get back onto medical marijauna
The next day, I was sent to a neurologist who was an epilepsy specialist.
After explaining about my marijuana use, my epilepsy specialist neurologist has told me she'd much rather I was using marijuana than drinking alcohol, which is a well-documented trigger for seizures.
She said she completely supported me if I think the marijuana may actually be preventing seizures, especially after I explained my history. She gave me a doctor's recommendation for medical marijuana, even though she knew she might lose her job if any of her bosses found out.
I also now take 2000mg of Keppra and 100mg of Lamictal each day to prevent seizures, in addition to smoking medical marijuana every day. Someday I would like to try going off these drugs to see if the medical marijuana will prevent seizures on its own. Yet given the cost of having seizures (injury, possible death, hospital bills, losing my driving license, lost time, etc), it seems smart to do everything I can to prevent a seizure from happening again, so I have listened to my neurologist and supplemented medical marijuana with these other anti-epileptic prescription drugs.
Marijuana is the only medication that can fully control my seizure disorder and prevent aura / trigger state.
I tend to stay away from high THC and try to keep to high CBD strains.
After 8 years of pharmaceuticals (tegretol, depakote, klonopin, topamax, Zarontin, keppra, Neurontin ect ect ect ) I finally tried cannabis after a recommendation of a nurse / friend, over the last two years cannabis has been the only medication i use.
My background: I'm still in dilemma about this stuff. My first seizure came the day after smoking myself silly at a metal concert, then partying and avoiding sleep. The day itself started with a wake and bake, and I went sporting and drinking afterwards, and after my first beer that night I woke up in the ambulance. I'm on Keppra, recently had another seizure after trying to switch to Lamictal.
My observations about weed-seizure: They seem connected. It might be the weed that started it all, but then again, I do get the feeling smoking responsibly helps against seizures. My last seizure came two days after quitting smoking to study. (I smoked regularly, but in good taste. Much like a gentleman would drink a glass of wine and a scotch every night without getting hammered. I'd wake up feeling well rested and ready to start the day.)
I have no way of knowing which type of strain (or more importantly, what THC/CBD ratio) I'm smoking or buying off my guy. The weed I like to smoke feels like the type where:
Seizures at least don't get worse, and it's much healthier than alcohol. Also, I need way more alcohol to get a buzz going since I'm on Keppra.
I feel comfortable with my thoughts, even though they are often pretty 'out there'. Confidence in things I should be confident about are increased (as someone who took a while to get the hang of some social things, this is great). I feel (even) less jealousy, petty competition, a need to 'prove myself' socially, etc.. while remaining superfriendly.
A sort of constant light, mellow epiphany feeling arises (typical "I GET IT!"/"looking-at-stuff-from-a-whole-new-perspective" stuff but without any panic or negativity). I'm super into Physics and Civil Engineering so combined with weed, I've found it helps me take the time to really break complex things down to the essential stuff. This of course causes lovely Eureka moments. :) (not just illusions of it, but real, usable knowledgecomes out of this.)
I can still engage properly in real-life conversation. Many people would not have expected me to be high, because when I am, I just look like a friendly, light-hearted, deep-thinking guy. (The weed I don't like does the opposite.)
As a hyperactive and quite intelligent mind (not at all bragging, but just so you get the point), I can think slower. This is great for me! I can really sink into the movie I'm watching, the music I'm listening, the conversation I'm having, ... without being bored or doing more on the side in my mind. I can submit. This goes hand in hand with the epiphany-inducing state of mind to increase my eagerness for learning stuff. For example: Since smoking regularly, I've picked up two extra instruments: drums and ukulele. I'm kicking ass in learning them, because now I have the patience to do the less-fun aspect of learning: repetition. As if in meditation, I can really study movements by doing them a few hundred times.
... and so on and so on. If by now anyone knows what type of weed I'm talking about and can identify this type, please TELL OTHER EPILEPTICS.
However, I don't know which weed this is. The weed that started the first seizure felt like the opposite: chaos, superfast unstoppable thoughts in all directions, a need to THINK EVERYTHING...
My solution: Everytime I buy new stuff, I smoke it controlled: completely sober, I'll roll a very light joint of it, and smoke it slowly. I take breaks to observe what effects are going on, and decide if the weed seems like the type I like. If it doesn't, I give the weed to someone else (to be honest, this hasn't happened yet). If it IS the weed I like, I smoke it regularly.
It kinda sounds like the "bad" weed was harvested too early or not cured properly. That's the only kind of weed I've smoked which gave me that racing, chaotic kind of high.
Definitely make sure you're avoiding any kind of alcohol as it may directly trigger seizures (so can being dehydrated and hungover).
Compound in cannabis may help treat epilepsy: researchers tested cannabidivarin, or CBDV, in rats and mice afflicted with six types of epilepsy and found it “strongly suppressed seizures” without causing the uncontrollable shaking & other side effects of existing anti-epilepsy drugs
Steve uses 2 form of cannabis oil orally to stop his seizures:
1.) Cannabis oil made from a strain that is high in CBD
2.) Cannabis oil made from a strain that is High in THC - similar to (RSO) Rick Simpson Oil
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