Medical Marijuana for Kids: Seizures and Epilepsy

Scientific research and anecdotal evidence suggests those with seizure disorders can benefit from the use of medical marijuana, but would you give marijuana to your child? Many parents are facing that difficult decision and some are saying “yes”.

Discovery Channel’s Weed Wars documented a California father as he made the difficult decision to buy medical marijuana for his 5 year old son. Jason’s son, Jayden, has been diagnosed with Dravet’s Syndrome, a rare and deadly form of epilepsy. He suffers from severe seizures almost every day of his young life. After trying numerous pharmaceutical drugs with no success, Jason visited a marijuana dispensary. An employee suggested a glycerin-based tincture. Jayden took his first dose – just one drop of the sweet liquid – without complaint. Four days later, Jason said his son had not had a seizure since beginning marijuana treatment and never appeared intoxicated.

Marijuana has 85 known cannabinoids with Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) being the main focus of research. THC is psychoactive and causes the “high” associated with marijuana. CBD is believed to have more medicinal qualities. A University of Saskatchewan study indicated the THC in marijuana may intensify epileptic seizures while a University of Reading study showed anti-convulsive properties in CBD. Anyone choosing medical marijuana to control seizures should seek strains that have a high CBD to THC ratio. The tincture given to Jayden’s dad was high in CBD and low in THC to maximize medicinal qualities and minimize psychoactivity.

Giving your child medical marijuana doesn’t mean handing him a joint and a lighter. Today there are many options for ingestion including vaporizers, tinctures, extracts, teas, and edibles. Edibles can be purchased or made at home by infusing butter with a cannabis oil extract and then using the butter to make cookies or treats. A dose of CBD marijuana will not get a kid high and does not have the dangerous side-effects associated with pharmaceutical drugs. Some parents are making the choice give marijuana to children despite the controversy.

Weed Wars on YouTube
“Marijuana Compound May Intensify Epileptic Seizures – Research at the University of Saskatchewan” University of Saskatchewan, News Release, August 10, 2004
“Cannibidiol exerts anti-convulsant effects in animal models of temporal lobe and partial seizures” University of Reading, December 3, 2010

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