New York State Practitioner Education - Medical Use of Marijuana Course
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The Medical Use of Marijuana in Epilepsy

Cannabinoids have been used to treat epilepsy patients since Sumerian healers prescribed it in 1800 B.C.E.  English and American neurologists used cannabis (marijuana) to treat epilepsy and reported selected cases with marked reductions in seizure frequency.  The isolation and synthesis of cannabidiol (CBD) and Δ9-tetrahydrocannibinol (THC) by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam’s group led to an interest in the neuropharmacology of these compounds and their potential uses.  Four trials of CBD for epilepsy in the 1970s produced mixed results, but two of these studies suggested that CBD might be effective for epilepsy.  Although many patients anecdotally report that cannabis can improve seizure control, there was little systematic study of cannabis therapies for epilepsy until 2012, when media reports sparked renewed interest.  During the past several years, an increasing number of US states have approved medical cannabis (or the constituents of cannabis) to treat various disorders, including epilepsy.


This module will review the available research and clinical evidence for the use of cannabis in the treatment of epilepsy.

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