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You probably heard horror stories of people who smoked weed, got out of control, or experienced severe side effects like seizures. Such stories are usually spread across anti-marijuana websites, but is there a grain of truth in them? This article focuses on the assumed connection between smoking weed and seizures and relies on the most up-to-date scientific data. It explains the potential links between cannabis and seizures and provides useful recommendations for marijuana lovers. So, can weed cause seizures?

Cannabis Against Seizures

Cannabis extracts have long been used in Western medicine to relieve various symptoms. Nowadays, this plant is becoming increasingly popular as a key component of evidence-based therapeutic treatments. Scholars explain that marijuana contains cannabidiol (CBD), which strongly affects brain activity and connectivity patterns. This cannabinoid is believed to have sedative, anxiolytic, and analgesic properties. As a result, the medical use of cannabis is known to relieve pain and inflammation. Drugs containing CBD are useful for treating many conditions, such as:

  • Nausea
  • Arthritis
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Neuropathy
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, etc.

More importantly, there is ample evidence that shows the strong anti-seizure effects of CBD contained in cannabis. The anticonvulsant effect of CBD is reported to occur through transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1)-mediated signaling. CBD proved particularly useful for relieving symptoms in people with epilepsy. Given that anti-seizure medications (ASMs) do not eliminate seizures, cannabis can serve as an additional treatment for reducing their incidence and severity.

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It is important to clarify that the above positive effects were reported for CBD, while evidence on delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another type of cannabinoid found in marijuana, is conflicting. THC interacts with the endogenous cannabinoid receptors in the brain and has a strong psychedelic effect. However, it seems that THC is also responsible for the pro-seizure effect of cannabis.

Marijuana to Cause Seizures?

The answer is not simple, as one should interpret the evidence carefully. An experiment on mice detected high seizure frequency after the administration of THC, but researchers themselves warned that their findings have limitations. For example, they used very high dosages of THC that can hardly be consumed when smoking a joint. Other studies also found a connection between cannabinoid exposure and seizures, but they did not study marijuana smoking and were mostly related to synthetic cannabinoids.

Synthetic cannabinoids are “fake” marijuana used as an alternative to achieve similar effects. They contain artificial chemicals that have many side effects:

  • Vomiting
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Increased heart rate
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures.

Many findings related to synthetic cannabinoids and seizures are erroneously generalized to natural marijuana. Simply put, evidence to claim that smoking weed causes seizures is lacking.

Expert Advice on Smoking Marijuana

If you are healthy, smoking a joint will not cause seizures. However, there are simple rules that you need to follow to minimize the risk of side effects.

Control THC Content

THC-rich marijuana is known for its strong psychedelic effect. While it’s nice to relax and have fun once in a while, make sure you do not overuse marijuana containing high THC concentration.

Epilepsy and Marijuana

If you have been diagnosed with epilepsy, consult your doctor about the use of marijuana. They will advise you on optimal CBD and THC concentrations and types of cannabinoid-containing drugs that you may use to reduce seizures. Do not forget that these drugs may not be available in your state if it hasn’t legalized medical cannabis. Moreover, take prescribed medications and never substitute those with marijuana. Remember, smoking marijuana can be an effective additional treatment, but it can hardly be enough if you have epilepsy.

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Avoid Synthetic Cannabinoids

Nature has already created everything you need for relaxing and enjoying smoking. Always choose old-fashioned marijuana joints over synthetic alternatives that may be dangerous for your health and cause seizures.

Do Not Abuse Marijuana

Evidence suggests that long-term, excessive use of marijuana can trigger late-onset epilepsy and seizures. Marijuana abuse is never a good decision because it can lead to other health problems. Smoke in moderation and note any unpleasant symptoms and side effects to discontinue before it is not too late.

Be Critical

Whenever you see another piece of news about the side effects of smoking weed, do not panic. Read the presented evidence carefully and try to understand how the study was conducted and what results were actually reported. In most cases, headlines exaggerate or misinterpret scientific evidence, failing to consider the nuances. It’s also useful to check the primary source because journalists may omit important information.

Summing Up

While smoking marijuana may sometimes lead to undesirable health effects, the risk of seizures is low. On the contrary, marijuana can relieve many symptoms and even help people suffering from seizures. The best solution is to smoke in moderation and learn what’s best for your body and mind. Experiment with dosages and cannabis strains to find those that work perfectly on you without causing side effects.