Epilepsy – Cannabis Research

Epilepsy Research Dashboard


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CannaKeys has 458 studies associated with Epilepsy.

Here is a small sampling of Epilepsy studies by title:

Components of the Epilepsy Research Dashboard

  • Dosing information available for Epilepsy
  • Chemotype guidance for treating Epilepsy with cannabis
  • Synopsis of cannabis research for Epilepsy
  • Individual study details for Epilepsy

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Overview - Epilepsy

Description of Epilepsy

Epilepsy is an umbrella term that includes several recurrent seizure disorders. Many clinically distinct adult and pediatric diagnoses and syndromes have nuanced features and severity ranges.

There are two main classifications of seizures: partial and generalized. Generalized seizures usually have characteristics of tonic-clonic, full-body seizure activities with loss of consciousness. Partial seizures may have minimal physical manifestations, but they can also quickly generalize.

Importantly, when a seizure lasts more than 5 minutes, or if there are repeated seizures without regaining consciousness over this time, it is called status epilepticus and considered a medical emergency.

Seizure causes may include nerve toxins, hypoglycemia (low sugar), very high fevers (a most common cause of SE in children), septic condition, trauma (especially to the head or spinal cord), tumors (especially brain and spinal cord), metabolic imbalances, acquired tolerance to anti-seizure medications, alcohol withdrawal, pharmaceutical drugs, street drugs, stroke (CVA), and hereditary or brain diseases.

Allopathic treatment consists of diagnosing and correcting, if possible, underlying causes. Eyewitness history is beneficial, although seizures may also happen during sleep. Figuring out whether a patient is having a provoked or unprovoked seizure for the first or recurrent time is critical information for diagnosis and management.

Orthodox medicine offers no cure for epilepsy.

Instead, diagnosed epileptic patients receive anti-seizure pharmaceuticals to reduce their frequency and intensity, which is especially important for atonic or “drop” seizures seen in Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes, where losing muscle tone causes sudden falls and further injury.

However, for patients who don’t respond to medications, hemispherectomy, a surgical procedure, has shown promise (C. Schusse et al., 2018). Treatment-resistant epilepsy is also an indication for Epidiolex®.

Disease Classification

Condition: Epilepsy
Disease Family: Neurological Disease
Organ System: Nervous System
ICD-10 Chapter: Diseases of the Nervous System
ICD-10 Code: G40

Epilepsy Symptoms:

Prodrome to seizure activity (e.g., aura), focal or partial seizure, tonic, clonic, or atonic seizures, grand-mal seizure, prolonged seizure over 5 minutes or multiple seizures without regaining consciousness in between known as status epilepticus, loss of consciousness, post-ictal period, oral trauma, secondary trauma from fall, urine incontinence, dyscognitive symptoms, altered awareness, lip-smacking, small-amplitude extremity movements

Also known as:

Epileptic seizures, Seizures, generalized idiopathic epilepsy, epileptic syndrome, Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, intractable epileptics syndromes, intractable epilepsy, not intractable epilepsy, epilepsy without intractability, intractable epilepsy with status epilepticus, status epilepticus, epilepsy without status epilepticus, intractable epilepsy without status epilepticus, intractable generalized idiopathic epilepsy and epileptic syndromes with status epilepticus, intractable generalized idiopathic epilepsy and epileptic syndromes without status epilepticus, chronic epilepsy, clonic epilepsy, tonic epilepsy, atonic seizure, myoclonic seizure, petite mal, atypical absence epilepsy, a typical absence epilepsy with status epilepticus, Rolandic seizures with status epilepticus, benign rolandic epilepsy, other epilepsy without intractability with status epilepticus, intractable juvenile myoclonic epilepsy without status epilepticus, unspecified epilepsy, unspecified epilepsy with status epilepticus, unspecified epilepsy without status epilepticus, grand mal, status epilepticus, grand mal seizure, non-specific atonic epileptic seizures, nonspecific clonic epileptic seizures, epilepsy with grand mal seizures on awakening, epilepsy with myoclonic absences, epilepsy with myoclonic-astatic seizures, nonspecific atonic epileptic seizures, symptomatic early myoclonic encephalopathy, refractory epilepsy, refractory juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, intractable rolandic seizures, atypical absence epilepsy, intractable atypical absence epilepsy, juvenile myoclonic epilepsy with status epilepticus, refractory juvenile myoclonic epilepsy with status epilepticus, localization related symptomatic epilepsy and epileptic syndromes with simple partial seizures, focal epilepsy, partial epilepsy, partial frontal lobe epilepsy, partial occipital lobe epilepsy, partial parietal lobe epilepsy, intractable simple partial epilepsy, refractory frontal lobe epilepsy, refractory localization related epilepsy, refractory occipital lobe epilepsy, refractory parietal lobe epilepsy, simple intractable partial frontal lobe epilepsy, simple intractable partial occipital lobe epilepsy, simple intractable partial parietal lobe epilepsy, simple intractable partial temporal lobe epilepsy, intractable simple partial epilepsy seizures, intractable simple partial frontal lobe epilepsy, intractable simple partial occipital lobe epilepsy, intractable simple partial parietal lobe epilepsy, intractable simple partial temporal lobe epilepsy, partial seizures, infantile spasms with status epilepticus, grand mal seizure with status epilepticus, unspecified epilepsy, status up elliptical generalized intractable idiopathic epilepsy, refractory generalized convulsive epilepsy, intractable generalized convulsive epilepsy, generalized idiopathic epilepsy, intractable generalized idopathic epilepsy, centrencephalic epilepsy, cursive epilepsy, running epilepsy, extratemporal epilepsy, frontal lobe epilepsy, gelastic epilepsy, occipital lobe epilepsy, parietal lobe epilepsy, gelastic seizure, photogenic epilepsy, epilepsy not otherwise specified

Drug Interactions

THC Interaction with Pharmaceutical Drugs

  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can enhance the effects of drugs that cause sedation and depress the central nervous system, such as benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and alcohol. 
  • THC is metabolized by an inhibitor of several enzymatic liver pathways referred to as cytochrome P450 (aka CYP450). There are more than 50 enzymes belonging to this enzyme family, several of which are responsible for the breakdown of common drugs such as antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline, doxepin, fluvoxamine), antipsychotics (haloperidol, clozapine, Stelazine), beta-blockers (e.g., propranolol), bronchodilators (e.g., theophylline), or blood thinners (e.g., warfarin). Thus, patients taking these medication classes may find that THC increases the concentration and effects of these drugs and the impact duration.
  • Clinical observation (not yet confirmed by clinical trials) suggests no likely interactions with other pharmaceuticals at a total daily dose of up to 20mg THC.

If you are interested in the interaction potential of specific pharmaceuticals with THC, consider visiting these free drug interaction checkers: Drugs.com or DrugBank Online.

CBD Interaction with Pharmaceutical Drugs

  • Cannabidiol (CBD) may alter the action of metabolic enzymes (specific drug-transport mechanisms) and alter interactions with other drugs, some of which may produce therapeutic or adverse effects. For instance, CBD interacts with the enzyme cytochrome P450 3A4 and cytochrome P450 2C19, increasing the bioavailability of anti-epileptic drugs such as clobazam (a benzodiazepine). This makes it possible to achieve the same results at significantly lower dosages, reducing treatment costs and risks of adverse effects. 
  • Groups of drugs affected include anti-epileptics, psychiatric drugs, and drugs affecting metabolic enzymes.
  • Clinical observations (not yet confirmed by clinical trials) suggest no likely interactions with other pharmaceuticals at a total daily dose of up to 100mg CBD.

If you are interested in the interaction potential of specific pharmaceuticals with CBD, consider visiting these free drug interaction checkers: Drugs.com or DrugBank Online.

THC/CBD Interaction with Pharmaceutical Drugs

In general, when using cannabinoid-based therapeutics that contain both THC and CBD consider the ratio between them and weigh the relevant information displayed in the individual THC and CBD Drug Interaction windows accordingly.

If you are interested in the interaction potential of specific pharmaceuticals with both primary cannabinoids and THC/CBD, consider visiting these free drug interaction checkers: Drugs.com or DrugBank Online.

Concerns about Cannabis and Cancer-related Immunotherapies:
Some recent clinical observational studies have suggested that the co-administration of cannabinoid-based therapeutics and immunotherapy or immune checkpoint inhibitors in the treatment of certain types of cancer has been associated with worse overall survival rates (T. Taha et al., 2019; A. Biedny et al., 2020; G. Bar-Sela et al., 2020).

However, other studies have suggested that the co-commitment use of immune checkpoint inhibitors and cannabis-induced no such deleterious effects. More specifically, one trial was conducted on animals resulting in data suggesting that cannabis did not negatively affect the properties of immune checkpoint inhibitors (B. Waissengrin et al., 2023). The same authors compared the previous study results with findings from a cohort of 201 patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer who received treatment with monotherapy pembrolizumab as a first-line treatment and adjunct cannabis to treat mainly pain and loss of appetite. Their time to tumor progression was 6.1 versus 5.6 months, and overall survival differed between 54.9 versus 23.6 months in cannabis-naïve patients and cannabis-using patients, respectively. However, while numerically different, the authors write that these differences were not statistically significant, leading them to suggest that “These data provide reassurance regarding the absence of a deleterious effect of cannabis in this clinical setting.”

Dosing Considerations

THC Dosage Considerations

  • THC micro dose:  0.1 mg to 0.4 mg
  • THC low dose:  0.5 mg to 5 mg
  • THC medium dose:  6 mg to 20 mg
  • THC high dose:  21 mg to 50+ mg

CBD Dosage Considerations

  • CBD low dose:  0.4 mg to 19 mg
  • CBD medium dose: 20 mg to 99 mg
  • CBD high dose:  100 mg to 800+ mg (upper limits tested ~1,500mg)

Information on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own licensed physician or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. If using a product, you should read carefully all product packaging. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.

Information on this site is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over-the-counter medication is also available. Consult your physician, nutritionally oriented health care practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications.