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Cannabis & Seizures | Health

Some new medical information has come down the pike this summer in relation to using CBD to treat seizures: Published on June 26, 2018 in the USA Today: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of a drug derived from marijuana for the first time Monday, giving the go ahead to treat two rare forms of epilepsy with the compound cannabidiol, also known as CBD, found in hemp and marijuana. Epidiolex, a form of cannabidiol, will be legally used to treat Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, two serious and rare kinds of epilepsy. Epidiolex is the first approved treatment for Dravet syndrome, according to the FDA.

CBD can be extracted from the Cannabis plants (aka Marijuana), the Cannabis hemp plant (used for fiber) as well as in the flax plant (aka linen and the source of flax seeds). CBD does not produce the high typically associated with marijuana because it is not THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). CBD and THC are different yet similar chemical compounds in shape. CBD is often used in the form of an oil as a way to relieve anxiety, pain, control seizures, ease nausea, stimulate bone growth, stop the growth of bacteria and can be used for cancer support.  

Cannabis has been used for many years to prevent as well as treat seizures. The CBD and THC both reduce inflammation in the brain leading to a decrease as well as prevention of seizures. Today, most states with a Medical Marijuana Program have epilepsy or seizures as a qualifying medical condition. In comparison, a conservative state such as Texas only allows CBD oil to be obtained medically to treat only one qualifying medical condition which is seizures. Texans acknowledge the healing ability of using CBD to treat seizures.

In Arizona, the #1 medical condition that qualifies people for their Medical Marijuana card is chronic pain. Cancer comes in #2, PTSD is the #3 most common condition and seizures is the #4 most common medical condition.

The brain is like a constant lightning storm having its own electrical activity and communication between nerve cells keeping the cells healthy and functioning properly. Anything that disrupts the communication pathways can lead to a seizure. A seizure is a sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain that can change behavior and movements of the body and changes consciousness. Inflammation in the brain as well as other disturbances lead to the seizure.

Most seizures last for a short while from 30 seconds to two minutes and a seizure that lasts longer than five minutes is a medical emergency.

The most common cause of seizures is epilepsy. But not every person who has a seizure has epilepsy. People who have seizures are more prone to: falling, drowning, having a car accident caused by a seizure, complications during pregnancy and difficulties with emotional health such as depression and anxiety.

Health tips to avoid seizures: avoid eating any foods that contain glutamate or monosodium glutamate (MSG) as this chemical can lead to seizures because it is excites the brain activity. MSG is found in meat jerky, instant ramen noodles, prepared sauces, etc… read food labels to avoid eating it. Avoid all artificial sugars because they are toxic to the brain (avoid: Equal, NutraSweet, Splenda, Sweet ‘n Low, Aspartame). Avoid using and being around any pesticides, herbicides or fungicides because these are chemicals that are toxic to the nervous system as well. Get adequate sleep, use a helmet when bike riding or skateboarding to avoid any damage to the brain should a fall occur. Avoid strobe lights and blinking of lights as in video games, etc. Be sure that the diet contains good fats that will nourish the brain in the form of: olive oil, avocado and coconut oil.

Causes: Sometimes seizures happen because of:

  1. High fever, which can be associated with an infection such as meningitis

  2. Lack of sleep

  3. Low blood sodium (hyponatremia), which can happen when taking diuretic medication

  4. Medications, such as certain pain relievers, antidepressants, abruptly stopping of Xanax, or smoking cessation therapies

  5. Head trauma that causes an area of bleeding in the brain

  6. Stroke

  7. Brain tumor

  8. Illegal or recreational drugs, such as amphetamines or cocaine

  9. Alcohol abuse, during times of withdrawal or extreme intoxication

Symptoms: What a seizure looks like:

  1. Temporary confusion

  2. A staring spell

  3. Uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs

  4. Loss of consciousness or awareness

  5. Cognitive or emotional symptoms, such as fear, anxiety or deja vu

Emergency: When to see a doctor

Seek immediate medical help if any of the following occurs:

  1. The seizure lasts more than five minutes

  2. Breathing or consciousness doesn’t return after the seizure stops

  3. A second seizure follows immediately

  4. You have a high fever

  5. You’re experiencing heat exhaustion

  6. You’re pregnant

  7. You have diabetes

  8. You’ve injured yourself during the seizure

Lightning in my Brain

I can feel it coming on, Like when the air pressure changes Before a storm, the clouds roll in It’s about to happen

Out of control signals Everything is turned up Lightning flashes And I am in the storm

A lightning show in my brain It travels down my nerves And slowly it stops The calm is coming.

Exhausted by the lightning storm, A storm within my brain, I seek the calmness, After the storm.

To read more articles from Dr. Landino, click here.

Kimberly Landino is currently practicing at

All Greens Clinic in Surprise, AZ where she certifies qualifying patients to receive their Medical Marijuana card and experience the therapeutic benefit from using medical marijuana to treat their health conditions. Before this, she practiced family medicine for 16 years in Phoenix, Tempe, Flagstaff and in Tuba City on the Navajo reservation. 



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