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Chronic Seizures

Chronic seizures are recurrent, unprovoked episodes of abnormal electrical activity in the brain, resulting in a variety of physical and cognitive symptoms. These seizures can stem from various causes, including epilepsy, head injuries, infections, or genetic factors. Chronic seizures can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, leading to physical, emotional, and social challenges. Treatment typically involves the use of antiepileptic medications to control seizure frequency and intensity. In some cases, alternative therapies such as dietary changes, medical marijuana, or surgical interventions may be considered to improve seizure management and enhance overall well-being.

What is Chronic Seizures

Chronic seizures are characterised by recurring, unprovoked seizures resulting from abnormal electrical activity in the brain. These episodes can manifest in various forms and significantly affect an individual’s daily life and well-being.


Seizure symptoms can vary depending on the type of seizure and the area of the brain affected. Common symptoms include:

  • Involuntary muscle movements, such as jerking or twitching
  • Unresponsiveness or a blank stare
  • Loss of consciousness or awareness
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Repetitive behaviours, like lip-smacking or hand-rubbing
  • Sensory changes, like altered vision or hearing
  • Emotional or cognitive changes, such as fear or déjà vu


There are several potential causes of chronic seizures, including:

  1. Epilepsy: A neurological disorder characterised by recurrent seizures due to genetic, structural, metabolic, or immune-related factors.
  2. Head injuries: Traumatic brain injuries can result in chronic seizures, especially if there is scarring or damage to brain tissue.
  3. Infections: Central nervous system infections, such as meningitis or encephalitis, can cause seizures and potentially lead to chronic seizure disorders.
  4. Brain tumours: Abnormal growths in the brain can disrupt normal electrical activity and provoke seizures.
  5. Stroke: Interruption of blood flow to the brain can cause seizures and increase the risk of developing epilepsy.

In some cases, the cause of chronic seizures may remain unknown (idiopathic).


While not all cases of chronic seizures can be prevented, certain measures can help reduce the risk of seizures or manage existing seizure disorders:

  1. Adherence to medication: Consistently taking prescribed antiepileptic medications can help control seizure frequency and severity.
  2. Healthy lifestyle: Maintaining a balanced diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep can support overall brain health and potentially reduce seizure risk.
  3. Stress management: Stress can trigger seizures in some individuals, so practising relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga may help manage stress and minimise seizure occurrences.
  4. Avoid seizure triggers: Identifying and avoiding personal seizure triggers, such as flashing lights or certain medications, can help prevent seizure episodes.

If you suspect you have chronic seizures or are experiencing symptoms, consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment options. They can help develop a personalised treatment plan to manage seizures effectively and improve your overall quality of life.

Medical Marijuana as a Treatment for Chronic Seizures

Medical marijuana, or medical cannabis, refers to the use of the Cannabis plant and its components (cannabinoids) to treat various medical conditions or alleviate symptoms, including chronic seizures.

How does medical marijuana help with chronic seizures?

Medical marijuana has shown promise in managing seizures, particularly in treatment-resistant epilepsy, through several mechanisms:

  1. Neuronal modulation: Cannabinoids, such as CBD, interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, modulating neuronal activity and potentially reducing seizure frequency and severity.
  2. Anti-inflammatory effects: Medical marijuana can help reduce inflammation in the brain, which may contribute to seizures in some cases.

Cannabinoids and Terpenes for Chronic Seizures

While research on medical marijuana’s effectiveness in treating chronic seizures is still emerging, certain cannabinoids and terpenes have shown potential benefits in managing seizures.

Which cannabinoids and terpenes are most effective for chronic seizures?

  1. Cannabidiol (CBD): CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid with demonstrated anticonvulsant properties. It has been found to be particularly effective in treating certain forms of treatment-resistant epilepsy, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
  2. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): THC is a psychoactive compound with potential anticonvulsant properties. However, its use in treating seizures is more controversial due to its psychoactive effects, and more research is needed to determine its safety and efficacy.
  3. Linalool: Linalool is a terpene with potential anticonvulsant and sedative properties, which may help manage seizures in some individuals.
  4. Limonene: Limonene is a terpene with anxiolytic properties, which may indirectly help manage seizures by reducing stress and anxiety, known seizure triggers in some cases.

It’s important to note that the effectiveness of specific cannabinoids and terpenes for chronic seizures can vary depending on the individual and the underlying cause of the seizures. If you are considering using medical marijuana to manage chronic seizures, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional who is knowledgeable about medical cannabis. They can help you determine the most appropriate treatment plan and monitor your progress to ensure the safe and effective use of medical marijuana for your specific needs.

Dosage and Consumption Methods

Recommended dosage:

Figuring out the right dose of medical marijuana can be hard because people’s reactions to cannabinoids and terpenes can be very different. Factors such as the specific condition being treated, the patient’s weight, metabolism, and prior experience with cannabis all play a role in determining the right dosage.
Most of the time, it is best to start with a low dose and slowly increase it until you get the effects you want while minimising any possible side effects. For patients who are new to medical marijuana, starting with 2.5–5 mg of THC or CBD and slowly titrating upwards is often advised.

However, consulting a healthcare professional experienced in medical marijuana is essential to developing a personalised dosing plan tailored to the patient’s needs.

Consumption methods:

There are several methods of consuming medical marijuana, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Some common consumption methods include:

  1. Inhalation (smoking or vaping): Inhalation provides rapid onset of effects, usually within minutes, making it suitable for patients requiring immediate relief. However, smoking may pose respiratory risks, while vaping has been associated with lung injuries in some cases.
  2. Oral ingestion (edibles, capsules, tinctures): Ingesting medical marijuana provides longer-lasting effects compared to inhalation but has a slower onset, typically taking 30 minutes to 2 hours for effects to be felt. This method is suitable for patients requiring sustained relief but may require careful dosing to avoid overconsumption.
  3. Topical application (creams, balms, patches): Topicals can provide localized relief for conditions such as arthritis or skin disorders without producing psychoactive effects. The onset of action and duration of effects can vary depending on the product formulation and individual absorption rates.
  4. Sublingual administration (tinctures, dissolvable strips): Sublingual products are absorbed through the mucous membranes under the tongue, providing rapid onset of effects without the need for inhalation or ingestion. This method offers discreet consumption and precise dosing.

Obtaining a Medical Marijuana Card

Why get a medical marijuana card?

Getting a medical marijuana card is helpful for patients who are looking for other ways to treat their conditions.

  1. Legal protection: A medical marijuana card allows patients to possess, use, and in some cases, cultivate cannabis for medical purposes, within their state’s legal limits.
  2. Access to quality products: Medical marijuana dispensaries offer a wide range of tested and regulated cannabis products, ensuring patients receive safe and effective medication.
  3. Tax savings: In some states, medical marijuana patients are exempt from certain taxes applied to recreational cannabis sales.
  4. Professional guidance: Medical marijuana cardholders have access to healthcare professionals who can provide personalized recommendations, dosing advice, and ongoing support.

How to apply:

The process of obtaining a medical marijuana card varies by state but generally involves the following steps:

  1. Consult with a marijuana treatment specialist to determine if medical marijuana is appropriate for your condition and obtain a written recommendation.
  2. Complete an application with the required documentation, including proof of residency, identification, and the healthcare professional’s recommendation.
  3. Submit the application to the appropriate state agency, along with any required fees.
  4. Await approval and issuance of the medical marijuana card.

Risks and Side Effects

Potential risks:

While medical marijuana can offer relief and improve the quality of life for many patients, it also carries certain risks and side effects. Some potential risks associated with medical marijuana use include:

  1. Dependency and addiction: Although the risk of addiction is considered lower than that of opioids or alcohol, some individuals may develop a dependency on cannabis.
  2. Impaired cognitive function: THC, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, can impair memory, attention, and reaction times, particularly with prolonged or heavy use.
  3. Respiratory issues: Smoking cannabis can cause respiratory problems, including bronchitis and lung irritation. Vaping has also been linked to lung injuries in some cases.
  4. Mental health concerns: High doses of THC or predisposition to mental health disorders can lead to increased anxiety, paranoia, or exacerbate existing mental health conditions.
  5. Drug interactions: Medical marijuana may interact with other medications, either enhancing or diminishing their effects. It is essential to discuss potential drug interactions with a healthcare professional before starting medical marijuana therapy.


Medical marijuana might not be right for every patient, especially those who already have certain health problems or risk factors. Contraindications to medical marijuana use may include:

  1. Personal or family history of substance abuse or addiction
  2. Severe liver or kidney disease
  3. Severe cardiovascular disease
  4. Pregnancy or breastfeeding
  5. History of psychosis or other severe mental health disorders
  6. Allergies or hypersensitivity to cannabis or its components

Legal Status

Where is it legal?

In the United States, the laws about medical marijuana are always changing. Currently, over 30 states and the District of Columbia allow its use under certain conditions. Each state has its own rules and a list of medical conditions that are allowed to use medical marijuana.

Even though some states have made medical marijuana legal, it is still illegal at the federal level because it is a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act.

This difference between state and federal laws can make it harder for medical marijuana patients to get jobs, find housing, or travel across state lines, among other things. Patients should research their state’s guidelines and remain aware of potential legal risks.


Medical marijuana could help relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life for many people with long-term or debilitating illnesses.

When thinking about this treatment option, it’s important to know the right dose, how to use it, how to get a medical marijuana card, possible risks, side effects, and legal status.

Work closely with a doctor or nurse who knows a lot about medical marijuana to find out if it is a good and safe choice for your needs.

As the legal landscape surrounding medical marijuana continues to evolve, staying informed about changing regulations and guidelines is essential to ensuring responsible and compliant use.

As the field of medical marijuana continues to evolve, it’s crucial for patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers to stay informed about the latest research and developments. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the current landscape, but it’s always important to consult with healthcare providers for personalized advice.

Note: This article’s content is provided for educational purposes only. This information is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional legal or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or queries regarding laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult a lawyer, physician, or other licensed practitioner.