Epilepsy Talk

The Great Debate — Medical Marijuana | May 15, 2019

Even though the cannabis plant has a long history of medicinal use, with evidence dating back to 2,737 BCE, it’s still a subject of hot controversy.

It appears to be a standing battle between politics and science.

The legality requires proof of medical marijuana’s effectiveness.

Reports of success are anecdotal.

Yet there are no funds for clinical trials and it remains on a back burner for further NIH funding and research.

(Wow. What a surprise!)

Dr. Ben Whalley, who is leading the research at the department of pharmacy at the University of Reading, said: “There was a stigma associated with cannabis that came out from the 60’s and 70’s associated with recreational use, so people have tended not to look at it medicinally as a result.”

But now, some experts are calling for fresh research into the potential of cannabis-like compounds to help alleviate seizures.

Because further evidence has emerged that an ingredient of cannabis could help prevent epileptic seizures.

Marijuana contains numerous cannabinoid compounds that differ in convulsing and anticonvulsant properties.

Anticonvulsant properties were first noted in the 15th century, yet studies in humans remain slow…to none at all.

The same brain machinery that responds to the active substance in marijuana provides a central “on-demand” protection against seizures, researchers have found.

They said their discoveries suggest that the “endocannabinoid” system might constitute a prime target for drugs against seizures of epilepsy and other neurodegenerative diseases.

The endocannabinoid system – which includes the receptors, the natural cannabinoid compounds that trigger them, as well as the machinery for regulating the process – was already known to modulate the excitation of neuronal transmission, noted researchers. 

However, it had not been established that such modulation might affect neurons in the hippocampus responsible for the “excitotoxicity” that underlies the uncontrolled activity of seizures.

Dr. Whalley, said tests in animals had shown the compounds effective at preventing seizures and convulsions while also having less side effects than existing epilepsy drugs.

These compounds are very well tolerated and you are not seeing the same kind of side-effects that you get with the existing treatments.

The scientists, whose latest findings on the compounds are published in the scientific journal “Seizure”, believe the compounds work by interfering with the sudden bursts of electrical activity that signal the brain to become hyper-excitable, leading to epileptic seizures.

“Cannabis is thought of being a treasure trove of compounds that could be used for pharmacological development.

We have a list of around a dozen potential candidates for epilepsy and have tested three that show promise.” – Ben Walley, MD

“Twenty-one percent of subjects had used marijuana in the past year with the majority of active users reporting beneficial effects on seizures, according to a survey published in the journal “Neurology.”

“Despite limited evidence of efficacy, many patients with epilepsy believe marijuana is an effective therapy for epilepsy and are actively using it.” – Donald Gross, MD

Proponents of medical marijuana argue that it can be a safe and effective treatment for the symptoms of cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, pain, glaucoma, epilepsy, and other conditions.

They cite dozens of peer-reviewed studies, prominent medical organizations, major government reports, and the use of marijuana as medicine throughout world history.

Opponents of medical marijuana argue that it is too dangerous to use, lacks FDA-approval, and that various legal drugs make marijuana use unnecessary.

They say marijuana is addictive, leads to harder drug use, interferes with fertility, impairs driving ability, and injures the lungs, immune system, and brain.

And that medical marijuana is a front for drug legalization and recreational use.

“Individuals both here and abroad report that marijuana has been therapeutic for them in the treatment of a variety of ailments, including epilepsy.

But the psychoactive side effects of marijuana make its use impractical in the treatment of epilepsy.

If we can understand how marijuana works to end seizures, we may be able to develop novel drugs that might do a better job of treating epileptic seizures.” Robert DeLorenzo, MD, PhD, MPH

Despite that, marijuana is becoming more and more increasingly popular for medicinal use.

Medical marijuana has even been called by some researchers as the “21st Century’s Miracle Drug.”

There are many reasons why people may prefer using marijuana instead of prescription drugs for epileptic seizures including cost, side-effects, and better results.

Marijuana patients report reduction in headaches as well as reduction in seizures when using cannabis instead of conventional medication.

Many investigating physicians also state that the use of medicinal marijuana along with prescription barbiturates can completely control epilepsy, with no symptoms at all.

Cannabis analogues have been shown to prevent seizures when given in combination with prescription drugs.

Patients report that they can wean themselves off prescription drugs, and still not experience seizures, if they have a regular supply of cannabis.

However, the effect that marijuana has on antiepileptic medication blood levels is largely unknown.

Many legal and illegal ingested substances can alter levels of antiepileptic medications, leading to increases seizures or toxic side-effects.

Use of marijuana can negatively affect memory (which is also a well-known side effect of many antiepileptic drugs), that in turn can lead to missed medication doses and result in an increased risk of seizures.

Meanwhile, the FDA has approved Marinol, a prescription drug which contains synthetic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

But Marinol lacks cannabidiol (CBD), which is the element that has been found to have anti-seizure effects.

And you can guess the punch line.

Marijuana itself is the only source of cannabidiol (CBD) and the other cannabinoids that help control seizures.

So for those of us who have epilepsy, Marinol may be a moot point.

Obviously more data is needed, animal studies and clinical experience suggest that marijuana or its active constituents may have a place in the treatment of partial epilepsy.

Anecdotal data suggests that marijuana use may be a beneficial adjunctive treatment in some patients with epilepsy.

Here’s what some people have to say:

“To Whom It May Concern:

I was trapped, prevented from seeing my friends and family.

Recollections of masks of blood, five failed brain surgeries, countless drugs, and thousands of seizures, imprisoned me in Colorado, away from my loved ones residing in my home state of New Jersey.

Discovery of a curing anti-epileptic was bleak, as hope began to fade.

Then, after 11 years, I began utilizing my sole effective treatment – the medicinal use of marijuana, as a state-registered medical marijuana patient.

There was only one problem that remained, I couldn’t return home to share my remedied state of health with my family.

Acknowledging that an abrupt abandonment of the drug would provoke seizures, and aware of the fact that marijuana was illegal in New Jersey, I was barred from visitation.

Until now, when I have been presented the opportunity to safely return home under New Jersey’s recently enacted medical marijuana legislation.

A current senior at Colorado State University, I am at last able to spend time with my loved ones healthy.”

Kind regards,

Tim DaGiau

“I had my first seizure at 15.

The older I got, the more often the grand mal seizures would occur.

After having an automobile accident because of seizing, I aggressively sought an answer for this problem.

There was no answer, just experiments.

My physicians put me on so much medication, the whites of my eyes were yellow because they were destroying my liver.

I was also experiencing kidney problems for the first time in my life. Even after being medicated, I was still having seizures.

At that point I decided to stop relying on traditional medication. I have been smoking cannabis for almost three years without having one seizure.

My eyes are now clear and I am no longer suffering from all the side affects of the pharmaceuticals. My quality of life has improved 100 per cent” — Ann

“Marijuana use appeared to be a protective factor against first seizures in men. […]

Marijuana contains numerous cannabinoid compounds that differ in convulsant and anticonvulsant properties.

 Anticonvulsant properties were first noted in the 15th century, yet studies in humans have been few. […]

The authors conclude that heroin use is a risk factor and marijuana use a protective factor for new-onset seizures.” — John C. M. Brust

“I have found in my study of these patients that cannabis is really a safe, effective and non-toxic alternative to many standard medications.

There is no such thing as an overdose.

We have seen very minimal problems with abuse or dependence, which at worst are equivalent to dependence on caffeine.

While a substance may have some potential for misuse, in my opinion, that’s a poor excuse to deny its use and benefit to everyone else.”  Philip Denney, MD

“I want to go one step further, because this whole issue of drugs in our society is misplaced.

Drugs have infected the society, but I think we need to look at it more as a medical and a health issue than as a criminal justice issue.”  Dennis Kucinich

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  1. Marijuana is not the same as hemp Cbd oil. Cbd oil does not contain thc, & does not get you high.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Elizabeth Masten — May 15, 2019 @ 2:20 PM

    • Correct. The article talks about CBD oil, which stupidly, some “authorities” claim makes you high.

      As you know, THC is another story.

      And the ratio of CBD and THC is kind of tricky to get right from person to person.

      For THAT, there is little medical guidance.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 15, 2019 @ 2:29 PM

  2. Hemp. CBD, HTC or whatever is in the medical marijuana is to help people with seizures, there’s no information of HOW it all affects brain chemistry & chemicals of the brain like GABA, GLUTAMATE, SEROTONIN, DOPAMINE & GLUCOSE levels after any or all of these options of medical marijuana can & will help, may or may not if those brain chemicals, neurotransmitters, receptors & brain activity becomes more abnormal & negative to where MORE seizure activity & or seizures could & does happen. Why there are NO answers for that, before the world is getting fooled & convinced that all the medical marijuana answers are always THE RIGHT THING TO DO,, not thinking HOW a person now is affected by their condition of seizures, to WHAT & HOW their seizure condition gets affected after the ways of taking medical marijuana, CBD & alike will affect any 1 human brain who have seizures. I have searched & looked for these answers myself & NEVER do I ever come across any answers that may help me to quickly say YES,, I want this now, but instead I have more ????????’s as to WHO is this safe for that people can get 0 seizures from taking it daily & WHAT TYPE of seizures will it help MORE or LEAST based on how it works for the seizures types one may have, as to say & ask,,, Will CBD control ALL levels & brain chemistry of GLUTAMATE, GABA, & GLUCOSE 24/7 no matter what foods or drink that you eat & drink all 24/7 365 days a year, & Will it make the brain neurons, & receptors of the brain more normal than ever that the BRAIN CELLS will never die from a fried brain trauma of a GRAND MAL seizure ever happening again ? This is for ALL NEUROLOGIST & NEUROSURGEONS to read & get us ALL these answers that over 65 MILLION of us deserves & has THE RIGHT TO KNOW THE ANSWERS that many of us who’s lived with seizures for over 50 years WANT to know the TRUTH & THE SAFETY about taking any CBD or other options of what medical marijuana will do to us. I’ve had seizures for over 58 & 1/2 years & STILL live in a moderate FEAR at times, but I guess I should be use to that since there are NO ANSWERS for my condition but more TRIALS & FAILURES that co$t much more than I can afford, yet when nothing is the answer for me, it like KA SARA SARA,, whatever will be will be. That’s easy for all doctors to go on & LIVE THEIR LIFE, as their mistakes & tests that do not work does not affect their life which may have MORE seizures. I and many others are tired of 59 years of rolling the dice & gamble on this or that to end all seizures. it time WE get the answers that WE DESERVE & get that now, with out all the ???????’s that they claim they have no answers for. Right. IF all neurologists & neurosurgeons had to live with the same results as we do for their PRACTICE SESSIONS & TRIALS ? TESTS they do for us that do not work, then we ALL would be given the right treatments we need ALL THE TIME, because they would never want 1 seizure in their life that they would not make a mistake in our treatments we get from them. So please get the answers I have been asking about ASAP as 59 years of this is plenty long enough in waiting for the answers you’ve waited years & decades for.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by C D — May 15, 2019 @ 4:05 PM

    • So basically, you’re saying that we’re the guinea pigs. Right-O!

      But who’s willing to go first?

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 15, 2019 @ 4:12 PM

    • You can not say there is no answer for my seizure condition ”or for anyone else” that 1 doctor or neurologist could had told me of in the past 50 + years since seeing neurologists. The questions I have, I am sure they know those answers, and yet they are not interested in me or anyone to tell us what everyone with seizures want to know,, WHAT will stop my seizures for life ? When you who have the seizures are ALWAYS living the results of the side affects & whatever else drugs & alike can do, and sometimes NOTHING IS REVERSIBLE to change, WHY can’t we get compensated when we are all a person with a brain, that they feel we & our brain are their legal property to practice BRAIN ABUSE on ? Explain again they LOW % RATE any of us has to live a seizure free life, as we get practiced on MORE that have HIGH % OF FAILURE, & a neurologist gets paid for that ?

      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by C D — May 16, 2019 @ 5:04 PM

      • It’s a crap shoot. We’re the crap and they’re the shooters.

        And do you honestly believe the neurologists have an answer (answers) that they’re withholding?

        Don’t you think that miracle cure could make them very rich?

        (But might be financially unattainable for us.)


        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 16, 2019 @ 5:23 PM

  3. We use Procana high dose Cbd oil for 2000mg a day. Too bad insurance doesn’t cover it. It would be helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Elizabeth Masten — May 15, 2019 @ 5:08 PM

  4. I grow my own medicine in my back yard. 5x better than the store brought.

    What u said above, totally explained it Phylis. What do our medicines for seizures try to do for us? They help slow our electrical system down, so that the hyperactivity won’t happen in our brains. That’s exactly what MJ does and with it comes a dose of happiness, thc.

    The real stigma is that in order to take it u have to smoke it. OMG the doctors can’t have this!!!! They have done their best to convince everyone that smoking is bad and u will die soon from it. Back in the days when someone died, if they smoke, they would always list the death as smoking caused. That is why every aliment has as one of the causes, due to smoking.

    One just has to search centurions that smoked and see the list is quite long. One of them was the oldest lady in the world who’s age could be proven. Jennie Clements, she lived till 122 and smoke all her life. Get this the lady to take her place as the oldest woman was from Canada and she also smoked all here life. I know i’ll get a lot of negatives on this, but that is ok, sometime one needs to think outside the prearranged box.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Zolt — May 15, 2019 @ 11:19 PM

    • Do you think smoking marijuana is the most effective way to take it?

      I know of people who successfully use homemade tincture (for critical Scleroderma), vape, take tablets and various means of delivery.

      And everyone claims theirs (especially the homemade tincture which is dissolved in juice) works the best.

      I think the most effective way of delivery varies from person to person.

      Even though smoking is probably the most direct route. And vaping.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 16, 2019 @ 8:12 AM

  5. I’m still too scared about it, I grew up in the hippy age and saw the awful effects of marijuana, I’m UK, and as you say, there’s not enough research, testing, we get reports from the US, from states who have legalised it, but it seems to be misused, as a recreational drug, causing bad effects. The facebook group I’m in, UK only, that’s for epilepsy and other neurology illnesses, are sharing their experiences of it, but it is just anecdotal, no one knows how much to use, which type should you use, and with no doctor supervising it. It might help many of my disabilities but until there’s some better evidence and it’s accepted by health services for supervision, I won’t go near it

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Gail Barry — May 16, 2019 @ 3:08 AM

    • The real kicker is the dose, I’ll agree there.

      Nobody is available to guide you or explain what ratio of THC to CBD works best.

      And to make it even more impossible, each person is unique.

      Trial and error is a bit scary.

      You might end up feeling nauseous, dizzy, anxious, or a variety of unwanted side-effects, without the intended relief.

      And without freedom from seizures.

      You may get pleasantly sleepy or “stoned”, but without the elimination of seizures.

      You might get nothing.

      So, where’s the recipe for fool-proof seizure relief?

      Does anybody know?


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 16, 2019 @ 8:23 AM

  6. I would like to let you know that when you buy recreational flower or medical in legal states in the USA , the THC to CBD ratio is clearly tested and labeled. Now my son who is drug resistant favors hybrids which are heavily leaning towards the indica strains crossed with sativa strains. Terpenes are what guides him to which hybrid will work best. Terpenes are what make lemons and oranges and grapefruit have their odor. When you smell a strain and it is right for you , your mouth actually waters. All you naysayers need to do research. You can start by going to leafly.com and looking up the strains. By looking at each tab they describe all the effects of each strain and what they are good for. As for dosage less is more. You smoke a half a joint and see how you feel. And if you have CBD oil on hand and you feel it’s too much you take CBD oil which negates the effect of the THC . Mother nature in bet wisdom provides both in the same 0lant as a guard against too much physco activeness. I have seen my son start to jerk violently and I quickly rolled him a joint and between that and 100mg of klonopin his seizure was stopped. Without the joint maybe 300 to 500 mg of klonopin would be needed and even then may have still had a seizure. The war on drugs is a farce and made up to create revenue. Our own government smuggles drugs to fund their black ops. So do what’s best for you but the whole thing meaning big pharma and the medical industry is a scam. Their is NO MONEY IN CURES!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Tom — May 17, 2019 @ 1:01 PM

    • Tom, thanks for the education and the advice!

      VERY helpful. I will reprint.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 17, 2019 @ 1:05 PM

      • Thank you Phyllis for this blog and all you do. Remember propaganda is everywhere these days. Trust only in yourself and what you have seen and experienced and researched. There is no money in something that cannot be patented and grown in your backyard.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Tom — May 18, 2019 @ 6:15 AM

      • So true and thank you.


        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 18, 2019 @ 9:16 AM

  7. I am sharing this in the hope that it may help someone or someone you may know.
    I also have first hand knowledge of a friend who found a lump in her breast and did extensive research before deciding what do and settled on having the lump removed and refusing chem and radiation.

    Your vitamindepot.com
    Ask for Dr.Kimberly Cassidy
    330 634 0008

    Protocel 23
    1/4 dose every 4 hours around the clock
    Protocel 50
    1/4 teaspoon per dose every 6 hours around the clock
    Out smart your cancer book

    . She instead used a substance called protocel. She has been cancer free for 10 years now and did not poison her body with chemo and radiation. I also personally know a woman who went to Dr.Burzinsky in Florida and used his treatment for breast cancer and also is cancer free for 8 years now. All over the internet they call this guy a quack and yet with all the actions the AMA has tried they cannot pull his license because he has results.
    The physicians oath says do no harm . I wish they would abide by it.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Tom — May 18, 2019 @ 6:49 AM

    • Thanks again, Tom. You’re a font of information. And help.

      I printed out your initial response and plan to share it.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 18, 2019 @ 9:19 AM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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