Epilepsy is a recurrent disorder of cerebral function characterized by sudden, brief attacks of altered consciousness, motor activity, or sensory phenomena. Epilepsy includes a broad range of seizure disorders caused by microscopic brain lesions occurring during birth or during traumatic head injury. Epileptics often lead normal lives that are sporadically interrupted by violent seizures.

Epilepsy is usually treated with barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and other powerful anti-seizure medications that render the patient incapable of normal activity. Prescription anticonvulsants are no effective for 20-30% of epileptic patients. Many patients suffer intolerable, and sometimes fatal, complications from standard pharmaceutical medications. Some epileptics find that marijuana controls their seizures without causing the physical and psychological depression typical of pharmaceutical therapies. [1], [2], [3]  Animal studies indicate that several cannabinoids not found in the synthetic THC pill have notable anticonvulsant properties. For example CBD, one of many medicinal compounds not available by prescription, has been shown to completely control partial seizure disorders. [4] Marijuana is the only source of CBD and other cannabinoids that can help control the agony of epilepsy attacks.

Recent US military tests reported that rats protected by synthetic cannabinoids were 70% less likely to suffer epileptic seizures and brain damage after exposure to nerve gas.[5] oldest indications. Animal experiments provide evidence of the antiepileptic effects of some cannabinoids. The anticonvulsant activity of the drugs phenytonin and diazepam have been potentiated by THC. According to a few case reports from the past three decades, some epileptic patients continue to utilize cannabis to control an otherwise unmanageable seizure disorder. Cannabis use may occasionally precipitate convulsions. In contrast to THC, there is no development of tolerance to the antiepileptic effects of CBD."[6]

Warning: epileptics should consult with their physician before using psychoactive drugs.

Related sections: Cerebral Effects, Dystonia, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscle Spasms, Neuralgia, Psychoactivity, Replacement of Medications, Stroke and Head Trauma.

[1] Cuhna, et al., “Chronic administration of cannabidiol to healthy volunteers and epileptic patients.” Pharmacology, Vol. 21, 1980

[2] Summary of the Testimony of Lester Grinspoon, MD before the Crime Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee, U.S. House of Representatives, October 1, 1997

[3] Miracles of Marijuana, Martinez, online doccumentary, see link on home page

[4]  Geiringer, “An overview of the human research studies on medical use of marijuana.” 1994, Source: CANORML,

[5] Borger, “Marijuana substitute combats nerve gas.” Scripps Howard News Service, Source:, July 22, 1998

[6] “Anticonvulsant effects have been described for psychotropic and nonpsychotropic cannabinoids (delta-9-THC, CBD, CBN, 11-OH-delta-9-THC, and delta-8-THC) Grotenhermen, “Review of Therapeutic Effects.” Chapter 11, p. 130