San Francisco, CA: Cannabis inhalation is associated with significantly reduced incidences of convulsions in a pair of epileptic patients, according to a forthcoming case report in the journal Epilepsy & Behavior.
Investigators at the University of California, Epilepsy Center summarized the cannabis use history of a 43-year-old subject and a 60-year-old subject, both of whom suffered from severe epileptic seizures.
In the first subject, cannabis inhalation reportedly reduced the frequency of nighttime seizures from an average of five-to-six per evening to an average of one-to-two. After the subject ceased using cannabis, the subject experienced ten evening seizures. Following dosing with oral cannabis, the subject subsequently reported only a single nighttime seizure.
The second subject reported inhaling six-to-eight cannabis cigarettes daily. Upon cessation of his cannabis use, the subject experienced five seizures in a 12-hour period.
Neither subject responded favorably to conventional anticonvulsant treatments.
Authors concluded, "These cases ... suggest that, for at least a subset of patients with focal epilepsy, marijuana use may provide an anticonvulsant effect. We believe this possibility warrants further study."
To date, only two small double-blinded placebo-controlled studies are available in the scientific literature assessing the use of cannabinoids in patients with epilepsy. In both studies, the subjects received daily doses of oral cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound of cannabis. In one study, CBD administration over a 30-day period was associated with a significant reduction in convulsions in 7 out of 8 patients. However, a second study reported no significant change in seizure frequency among epileptic subjects.
For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Full text of the study, "Seizure exacerbation in two patients with focal epilepsy following marijuana cessation," will appear in Epilepsy & Behavior.