Pot Could Make Epileptic Seizures Worse: Study

Pot Could Make Epileptic Seizures Worse: Study
Posted by CN Staff on August 11, 2004 at 15:13:55 PT
By The Canadian Press 
Source: Canadian Press 
Toronto -- Some people who use marijuana to try to control their epilepsy could actually risk making their seizures worse -- if research showing the drug's effects on laboratory rats is any indication.Scientists at the University of Saskatchewan have found that although a synthetic version of pot's active ingredient can suppress grand-mal seizures in lab rats, in some cases it may intensify the most common cause of convulsions, those which originate in the front of the brain.
Some people who can't tolerate the side-effects associated with standard medications to treat epilepsy -- from headaches and nausea to drowsiness and cognitive dysfunction -- turn to marijuana or synthetic forms of the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, THC, to reduce the severity of seizures.While previous studies had identified no adverse effects, new research led by Dr. Michael Corcoran at the University of Saskatchewan unexpectedly found that the pot compound can actually cause seizures in laboratory rats."What we found was contrary to our expectation in that although after a single injection there could be a suppression of seizure, when we gave the drug more than once to the rats over a period of days, their seizures actually got worse," Corcoran, a professor in the department of anatomy and cell biology, said Tuesday from Saskatoon.Researchers are able to simulate epilepsy in rats through a process called kindling, in which tiny bursts of low-voltage current are administered over time. With repetition, the electrical discharge spreads from brain cell to brain cell, eventually creating a kind of firestorm of neural activity that resembles what occurs in human epilepsy.Corcoran's team found that kindling gets worse when rats are injected with high doses of the marijuana-like drug. The doses were high enough that the rats also ended up stoned: some were immobile, had changes in muscle tone and their ability to walk a beam -- a measure of intoxication -- was affected, he said.The long-term goal of such research is to figure out how a certain drug might work in humans, said Corcoran, who has been working in epilepsy research for about 30 years."Ultimately, it's always an empirical question," he said. "Do the effects of a drug in a rat predict the effect of that drug in a human being? For drugs that are useful in treating epilepsy, that's generally been the case."Those effects also depend on the type of seizure, he said. With those that originate in the brain stem, located between the brain and the spinal cord, cannabis-like compounds have been found to suppress convulsions.But "what our work suggests is that seizures that originate in the forebrain, particularly in the temporal lobe, probably are not the best candidate type of epileptic seizures to be treating with marijuana-like drugs."While it's difficult to calculate the human equivalent of the doses given to the rats -- especially since street pot and reportedly even government-sanctioned medicinal marijuana can vary in strength from batch to batch -- Corcoran said the study's findings should possibly give pause to some people using cannabis for epilepsy."If I were a clinician and I had the option of using marijuana to treat seizures, I'd want to make very sure what kind of seizure type the particular patient was displaying, because some seizures might benefit from these drugs, but others might get worse," he said.And for those with epilepsy who want to use weed to self-medicate?"I would say, 'Make sure you don't take whopping big doses and be sensitive to the kind of epilepsy you have.'"Source: Canadian PressPublished: Wednesday, August 11, 2004Copyright: 2004 The Canadian PressRelated Articles & Web Site:Cannabis News Canadian Links MS Patients Trying MJ for Symptoms, MS Patients Swear By Marijuana 
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Comment #15 posted by Virgil on August 13, 2004 at 07:50:27 PT
This is still demonization by article
Nothing changes the fact that the way to reduce harm associated this beneficial plant is to end CP. How many times more harmful are the laws than the harms to bodies that enhance with cannabis?This is still the old D&V- demonization and villification. I really do not believe what is said here in general and it is only prohibition that has denied an open use by people that could have volunteered for all kinds of studies, with all kinds of strains and extracts, and methods of use to for that matter. Even if their is some real science here, it is still demonization by article. The science here is 1st grade to the Phd society should have on what cannabis can do for epileptics and everything else from cancer to headaches. It is Turmel that calls Canadian CP genocide as his claim says that 4 people a day in Canada die needlessly every day in Canada from epileptic seizures. Epilepsy is about like diabetes in that there may be more people with the illness that are undiagnosed, that those that know they have the illness. The article sucks and is a distraction from talk of a bigger picture.
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Comment #14 posted by afterburner on August 13, 2004 at 07:07:04 PT
Canadian pot possession laws still invalid? 
Canadian pot possession laws still invalid? 
by Reverend Damuzi (11 Aug, 2004) Exciting new med-pot challenge reveals flaws in law 
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on August 12, 2004 at 19:08:33 PT
580 CFRA News Talk Radio
New Challenge to Canada's Pot Laws Josh Pringle Thursday, August 12, 2004 A medical-marijuana activist is asking the B-C Supreme Court to declare Canada's medical marijuana regulations unconstitutional.Michele Kubby complains that despite a doctor's recommendation, Health Canada has refused her permission to grow and smoke marijuana for irritable bowel syndrome. Kubby's suit also seeks a constitutional exemption to allow her to use pot while the court makes its decision.
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Comment #12 posted by MikeEEEEE on August 12, 2004 at 10:45:52 PT
People with epilepsy should probably seek the advice of a doctor about dose.People with epilepsy cannot be in a room with flashing lights, and alcohol cannot be taken with most medicines.
Stress can cause seizures too.Obviously, one drug reacts different sometimes to people. I don't think we need researchers to tell us that.
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Comment #11 posted by JoeCitizen on August 12, 2004 at 08:32:26 PT
THC does NOT = cannabis
I tire of these "scientific" studies that substitute synthetic THC for whole cannabis, then say that the results apply to cannabis/marijuana. This is utter garbage!!THC always occurs in nature with its balancing counterpart, CBD. The same way that oxygen always occurs with nitrogen in our atmosphere. If we interfere with this balance, and separate oxygen from nitrogen, then oxygen becomes a deadly, toxic, explosive gas. Breathing pure oxygen will make you giddy, then sick, then dead after a time.It is the same for THC. Separating THC from its natural balancing agents makes it a volatile, sometimes harmful drug. It will make you unpleasantly high, and cause imbalances in the very systems that whole cannabis helps to balance and regulate.Oxygen does not equal air. THC does not equal cannabis. Do not be misled.JC
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Comment #10 posted by Richard Paul Zuckerm on August 12, 2004 at 07:21:08 PT:
I received an email the other day stating that John Kerry recently announced that he would have supported the War in Iraq even if no weapons of mass destruction were found. This sounds similar to the Bush Administration, so similar that, when considering John Kerry's record, I do not trust him as much as I trust George Bush! By the way, people, the New Hampshire Gazette recently published an email article providing some detail that President Bush's Grandfather ILLEGALLY financed Adolph Hitler until 1951! Those who do not learn the lessons of history are bound to repeat them.I will only vote for Ralph Nader, Libertarian Party, and Green Party candidates. I write-in candidates when no third party candidates are running for office, to send a message of NO CONFIDENCE of the 2 parties/one party system, contrary to the ignorant people who feel not voting is proper.I would implore all readers to view the movie entitled The Corporation,, which prompted Berkeley, California, to issue a unanimous Resolution to remove Constitutional protection from Corporations!I can't even show up at the Seattle Hemp Fest, this year, because of my financial difficulties while suing liar cops! Last Friday, oral argument was held on the Status Conference and Discovery Motion, in Richard Paul Zuckerman, Plaintiff vs. Borough Of Highland Park, [], et al., Defendants, Docket number L-3743-00, presided over by The Honorable Nicholas J. Stroumtsos, Jr., J.S.C., Box 964, Middlesex County Court House, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 08903-0964, (Secretary)(732) 981-3102, (Law Clerk)(732) 981-3074, from the Highland Park Public Library Director's Regulation which limits our use of the public pay telephone to a mere 3 minutes, even when nobody is waiting to use the phone! 3 Highland Park cops arrived at the library, arrested me for refusal to produce identification, illegally searched my backpack to find my 8 inch dagger [The case law in New Jersey holds that the police may not automatically search the personal belongings of a suspect arrested for a PETTY offense!], COMPLETELY FABRICATED a "disorderly conduct" charge. Last Friday was oral argument on the Status Conference and discovery motion. Judge Stroumtsos said he would take my request for a copy of the application for employment submitted by the police defendants UNDER ADVISEMENT. I must stay around New Jersey to keep an eye on the mail, while awaiting the proposed form of order [and some Todd Rundgren CDs ordered via internet!], to decide whether to object under "the 5 day rule." The attorney representing the police defendants will submit a proposed form of order, which you must keep a careful eye one, because if you do not object within 5 days [which is where the "5 day rule" comes from], then the court is likely to sign the Order. You must be verrrry careful when dealing with lawyers representing the government in litigation! This cops' lawyer is likely to slip language into the proposed form of order which would deny all relief requested, if you do not keep a close eye on the proposed form of Order! This is why I will be unable to a appear at the Seattle Hemp Fest for the second year in a row! One good thing did come from the court hearing, though: Judge Stroumtsos ordered all depositions, all pre-trial discovery, to be completed for the early December 2004 Status Conference. This will allow me to leave the New Jersey/New York City metropolitan area without the worry of appearing in court on any discovery motions. The next step after pre-trial discovery will be dispositive motions, such as a motion to dismiss, summary judgment. However, whether I walked up into a cop's face is a question for a jury, a genuine issue of material fact, which should preclude summary judgment/dismissal as to the cops in this case, especially when considering the numerous discrepancies/contradictions from their municipal court testimony, Grand Jury testimony, and interrogatories! For example, they testified they demanded my identification, repeatedly, at the front door of the public library, while women and children were waiting to enter and leave the library. The only police report filed in the arrest was by one of the 3 arresting orificers, the complainant, the Patrolman, who checked off the police report cover sheet, box number 49, that children were: Present [], Involved [], or N/A [/], and failed to mention the presence of women or children in his police report narrative! Besides, would a reasonable police officer [or 3 police officers, as in this case] street question a suspect at the front door of the public library so as to block women and children from entering the library? They are liars, people! And I am hoping a JURY sees the truth, too! I'd like all of you to listen to Todd Rundgren's recently released CD, entitled LIARS, especially the songs entitled TRUTH, LIARS, and FUTURE? I am paying off $100/month on a $500 book, from, a book co-authored by Sir Francis Bacon, circa 1780s, entitled The Englishman's Right..., about the authority of the jury to decide the law as well as the facts, in disregard of the trial judge's instructions that you MUST follow the trial court's jury instructions of law! I would add to Comment #5, Warhater, to not only distrust the Federal Government, but to distrust State Government, too, including municipal police!?! We must put these Bullies in their place or forever suffer their tyranny!Richard Paul Zuckerman, Box 159, Metuchen, New Jersey, 08840-0159, (Cell telephone number)(908) 403-6990, richardzuckerman2002; Diploma in Paralegal, New York University, 2003;
Diploma in Truck Driving [with an up-to-date New Jersey Commercial Drivers License], Smith & Solomon School of Truck Driving, 45 Kilmer Road, Edison, N.J., 1995;
B.A. in Political Science, Kean College of New Jersey [Kean University], Union, New Jersey, 1987;Subscriber to:;;;;;;;; et al.
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Comment #9 posted by Commonsense on August 12, 2004 at 07:17:27 PT
One thing that is important to note is GW's take on the research so far. They said on the link you gave that "CBD seems consistently anti-convulsant, whilst the picture with THC is less clear-cut." Some research does seem to point to the conclusion that THC may cause or exacerbate seizures in epileptics. However, they say CBD seems to consistently help with seizures. The study reported in this article only looked into the effects of THC on seizures. Marijuana and some of the newer marijuana based drugs contain CBD, which could reduce seizures. It could be that CBD could counteract any negative effects caused by THC and leave only the positive benefits, and that epileptics need to use marijuana with higher concentrations of CBD.My father is a neurologist who treats epileptics and others who have seizures. He's fairly open-minded and not opposed to marijuana as a medicine on principle, but he wouldn't recommend it to epileptics because he has good luck with other drugs he prescribes and he suspects marijuana might just make the seizures worse. If there was enough out there to convince him otherwise he would change his tune. Reasonable minds can differ on these issues. It would be good if our government would allow more research using actual marijuana.
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Comment #8 posted by global_warming on August 12, 2004 at 05:18:00 PT
Real World
Remind me to get some some Catnip, if it has such a pronounced effect on cats, imagine how high I can jump..Many years ago I used to go back-packing into the woods, one day, I found that a field mouse managed to chew a hole in my backpack and carefully extract a small tinfoil that contained a couple of jays, needless to say, I found the tinfoil with a few crumbs that the mouse left..that mouse actively sought out the miracle plant, unlike his cousins in this Dr. lab of Frankenstein.
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Comment #7 posted by CorvallisEric on August 12, 2004 at 00:40:20 PT
Thank you for making a very important point. Much of what may look like junk science is really junk journalism.
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Comment #6 posted by CorvallisEric on August 12, 2004 at 00:35:05 PT
Real science
Here's a short summary by GW of 14 reports and studies, both human and animal. As usual, the outcomes are all over the map: study used THC in rats with very different results from above - note especially the last sentence:In rats (14), THC produced a 100% reduction in seizures, whereas phenobarbital and diphenylhydantoin did not. The animals demonstrated both acute increases in endocannabinoid production and a long-term up-regulation of CB1 production as apparent compensatory effects counteracting glutamate excitotoxicity. The anticonvulsant effect was present at sub-sedating levels.Journal abstract of that study:'s also lots of stuff to be found on CBD - try this on Google: epilepsy cbd OR cannabidiol
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Comment #5 posted by warhater on August 11, 2004 at 23:22:33 PT:
Canadian Press Turns Science into Propaganda
"While previous studies had identified no adverse effects, new research led by Dr. Michael Corcoran at the University of Saskatchewan unexpectedly found that the pot compound can actually cause seizures in laboratory rats."I am not angry with the people who conducted the study. I'm angry with the anonymous reporter who is twisting the results to suggest the wrong conclusion. He tells us that previous studies found no adverse effects. Why does he feel the need to scream the results of this study from his bully pulpit? Were the other studies done on rats or on humans? Were they done with synthetic THC or with actual cannabis? Were the doses used in the previous study more realistic then in this one? These questions go unanswered. This is not an article about science, it is an attempt to smear cannabis. Dr. Corcoran does not rush to support this reporter's thesis. He points out that this is a rat study. His final advice to cannabis users who have epilepsy is just common sense. He seem neutral on the idea of self medication.The real story here is not even the results of this study. The real story is that the DEA lied to the world for years and said that MJ has no medicial value. Now we see doctors researching THC's potential as an anticonvulsant. First lesson of the drug war: Don't trust the United States Government.
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Comment #4 posted by breeze on August 11, 2004 at 21:23:43 PT
You know this one sounds just insane...
If someone shot electrodes into my brain in tiny jolts, I would akin that to being electrocuted. Sure, I would stumble around, have slurred speech, lose muscle control, vomit, etc. Give me something that intoxicates me on top of that, I dont think I would move at all.
These people report themselves to have done research in this area for thirty years, and they haven't a cure, but instead come up with this "study"? Maybe they should get out of the buisness.But while we are on the subject of medical studies done badly or not at all- check out this one- its not cannabis related, but interesting none the less...
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Comment #3 posted by mayan on August 11, 2004 at 17:33:52 PT
Another Bogus Study...
Corcoran's team found that kindling gets worse when rats are injected with high doses of the marijuana-like drug."Marijuana-like" drug???Why did they use a synthetic instead of the real thing? All of the compounds together make the cannabis plant what it is.The doses were high enough that the rats also ended up stoned: some were immobile, had changes in muscle tone and their ability to walk a beam -- a measure of intoxication -- was affected, he said.So the dose given to the rats was equivalent to that of a person smoking a joint the size of a telephone pole? No wonder!!!The way out is the way in...Mysterious 9/11 Breakfast Meeting on Capitol Hill: House Nominee to Head CIA has Dubious Links to Terror Network: Air Defense Failures of 9/11, 2001: We Stood Down During the Attacks of 9/11: The Index of Words Not Contained in the 9/11 Commission Report:
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Comment #2 posted by sukoi on August 11, 2004 at 16:04:58 PT
Drug defendant: Pot was for medical use
"We explained to them we were registered marijuana patients and caregivers but they had no interest in that whatsoever," Brownlee said. "They were there for only one reason and that was to arrest us." ran across this as well and although dated, thought that some may be able to use some of the information that it contains:
Economics of Cannabis Legalization
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on August 11, 2004 at 15:19:32 PT
Evil work
Absolutely shameful. How much money was spent on this project? Torturing rats with electricity in a sham of an "experiment"? That's pure cruelty.How can they possibly believe that an epileptic who smokes or vaporizes natural cannabis has anything to learn from eletrocuting rats and injecting them with huge does of synthetic THC?For almost no money, they could simply survey existing epileptics on their use of cannabis and its effects.
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