Community Forum

Help with marijuana and epilepsy

Hi, my name is Rich and I have been dealing with epilepsy since 2004. Before 2004 I smoked marijuana just about every day for about 8 years without a seizure. One morning when I woke up I had a minor convulsion, got checked out and all was fine but I quit smoking in fear I could get worse. Six months after that I had my first full blown seizure and it never stopped from there. I have been on phenytoin (dilantin) for years and just back in 2010 was added a second medication carbamazepine (tegretol). I have not smoked marijuana since before that first episode back in 2004 but after doing research have heard it could hurt or help. In my case would you think since I smoked all those years before my epilepsy with no problem that it would help me today or is the smoking all those years the reason I am permanently damaged today. I am only taking these two medications but will still randomly have a seizure. Do you think starting to smoke marijuana again would help me or hurt me? 


Im not a medical professional but anything inhaled in your lung isn't good for you. I used to smoke both cigarettes and marijuana. There are alternatives in the intake of THC which do not involve inhaling smoke.

              As a patient with life long epilepsy, intractable for the last thirty years, I have always wondered why people could throw away their good health, which should be so precious to them.  The abuse of any additictive substance, such as marijuana, other drugs, alcohol, and tobacco is bad for everyone. 

              For those of us with brain problems, such things which affect its functions are particularly dangerous.  In addition, they do not mix well with your meds, or any meds, either reducing their effectiveness or leading to undesirable side effects.  You are dealing with a serious problem already, whatever its cause, don't make it worse by messing with marijuana.


It differs with us all. I do not know how old you are Richie, but one thing I noticed over 20 years ago was that when I would use marijuana I would always expect a petit mal seizure within a few hours. As the years slowly went by, the more grandmals I would have after getting high. This increased quite a bit and in 1983 I had one seizure that would not stop and almost ended my life while I was high.  I enjoyed marijuana back in 1978 through 1986, but I also found out fast it hindered my short term memory even more while taking the RX of Tegretol and Dialantin during that time. The RX and Marijuana made me even more tired and fatigued as well. The first time I ever won a State Junior tennis title was the first time I ever got "high" and thought it was excellent, making me concentrate better. Boy howdy was I ever wrong. Maybe it did that on a tennis court but never in school or in a classroom. When I quit marijuana while trying to complete college for my bachelor's degree, my how my life improved. I made the Deans Honor Roll, lettered in tennis, and 8 months after my college graduation went in for surgery on my left temporal lobe. This surgery rid me of the petit mals that sometimes led to grand mals. However, it would not be until more that 20 years later that I was able to  prove to my doctor and family that what I said for almost three decades was true. That being that the RX's I taken for all those years did nothing but cause me to have grand mals(which is something I said to my mother and doctors ever since the age of 10). Yes I am thankful for the surgery I had and how it was good for ending the petite mals. However, the grand mals that started on me at the age of 9 after being struck in the head at a highschool football game I went to watch by an ROTC student were still present. After being struck by the ROTC, my left side went numb and two weeks later I had my first grand mal in 1974. What I had said to the doctor was true about the RX causing the grand mals and was able to see that after the surgery I had in 1990, but also questioned why it was my left temporal lobe that was removed even though I never had a seizure in my life until after the strike to the right side of my head. Why the left and not the right? Well, still I question what the doctors did, if I ever needed the RX, or if after I was hit if I even ever would have had another seizure if I didn't take any meds. I still believed and proved that the more RX I would take, the more seizures I would have. I am now interested in the new laser surgery they have for removal of damaged blood vessels so that I can remove the area inflicted upon me by the ROTC kid 34 years ago. That way, hopefully the numbnesses that have just started once again within the last year will go away for good. For me the RX's was the main cause of all my grand mal seizures and hindered short term memory. But it did keep the numbness or Jacksonian seizures away, therefore I must and only take a small 500mg dosage of keppra per day to keep it away. Just don't party with THC and Marijuana. It hindered me. Instead of a "joint" or a "hit", get out and exercise, play some tennis, and have a nice glass of wine or evening out with others for a normal, acceptable, and improved way of life with your seizure disorder in a locked closet behind you!

First, everyone has a unique life story about their seizure disorder.  What works for me will not work for you, but my experiences might help.  I have had complex partial seizures since I was 13.  I use to think it was caused by an injury when I was 12, but it isn't.  I had a tesla 3 MRI and the results showed polymicrogyria of the temporal lobes.  My injury has nothing to do with my seizures, polymicrogyria is a congenital defect.  I was born this way, puberty brought it out.  I have never been seizure free, but they changed my medication from Tegretol XR to Lamictal this year.  The transition took about 6 months, and my rate of seizures have lowered.Drinking alcohol fluctuates the plasma levels of anti-epileptic drug's (AED).  I have had many neurologists and epileptologist over the past 25 years advise me that marijuana use is so much better than alcohol.  They're right, I don't have the fluctuation levels of the AED's with marijuana.  If I drink I get seizures, it's just that simple.  When I smoke pot, or use non-smokeless intake, no seizures.  I can't use it every day, weekend usage is better.

It makes sense genetically, I'm Native American and the challenges that exist within my community and family with alcohol is horrific.  While marijuana usage doesn't have the terrible addictive effects for our genetics.  I am just disgusted that society finds alcohol usage acceptable but marijuana is illegal.  What's up with that?  It's sad, but hopefully someday awareness will occur.

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