Seizure exacerbation in two patients with focal epilepsy following marijuana cessation

Epilepsy Behav. 2012 Dec;25(4):563-6. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2012.09.024. Epub 2012 Nov 13.


While animal models of epilepsy suggest that exogenous cannabinoids may have anticonvulsant properties, scant evidence exists for these compounds' efficacy in humans. Here, we report on two patients whose focal epilepsy was nearly controlled through regular outpatient marijuana use. Both stopped marijuana upon admission to our epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) and developed a dramatic increase in seizure frequency documented by video-EEG telemetry. These seizures occurred in the absence of other provocative procedures, including changes to anticonvulsant medications. We review these cases and discuss mechanisms for the potentially anticonvulsant properties of cannabis, based on a review of the literature.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Cannabis*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsies, Partial / drug therapy*
  • Epilepsies, Partial / pathology
  • Epilepsies, Partial / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroimaging
  • Phytotherapy
  • Seizures / prevention & control
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon