Marijuana and Epilepsy
The use of marijuana for various medical conditions, including epilepsy, has received increasing attention in the popular media. While there are some anecdotal reports of marijuana use in treating epilepsy, scientific evidence for the routine use of marijuana for this indication is lacking. The lack of information does not mean that marijuana is ineffective for epilepsy. It merely means that we do not know if marijuana is a safe and efficacious treatment for epilepsy. Healthcare professionals, patients, and caregivers are reminded that use of marijuana for epilepsy may not be advisable due to lack of information on safety and efficacy, and that, despite some states legalizing the use of medical marijuana, it is against Federal Law to possess or use marijuana. In addition, little is known about the long term effects of using marijuana in infants and children, and chronic exposure during adolescence has been shown to have lasting negative effects on cognition and mood. Such safety concerns coupled with a lack of evidence of efficacy in controlled studies result in a risk/benefit ratio that does not support use of marijuana for treatment of seizures at this time. The American Epilepsy Society is supportive of well-designed research to determine the safety and efficacy of marijuana in the treatment of epilepsy.
Gloss D, Vickrey B. Cannabinoids for Epilepsy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.2012; Issue 6. Art. No.: CD009270. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD009270.pub.2
A commentary on the article is available at: Epilepsy Currents, Vol. 13, No. 2 (March/April) 2013 pp. 81-82