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March 15, 1976

Marihuana Use Among Epileptics

Author Affiliations

University of New Mexico Albuquerque, NM

JAMA. 1976;235(11):1105. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260370015003

To the Editor.—  There have been reports of anticonvulsant properties of marihuana and its cannabinoid constituents in man1 (234:306, 1975), and animals.2,3 However, there have also been case reports of marihuana and cannabinoid use precipitating seizures4 and epileptiform electroencephalographic activity in man5 and in various animal models of epilepsy (Feeney et al and Consroe et al, unpublished data). Additionally, there is evidence that cannabinoids can interact with barbiturates, which are commonly used as anticonvulsants.6 Thus, marihuana use may activate some types of epilepsies and also could affect the course of drug therapy. To examine the extent of this potential problem, I conducted a survey of illegal drug use among epileptics.A questionnaire was mailed to 330 patients of the Convulsive Disorder Unit of the Bernalillo County Medical Center in Albuquerque, NM. These patients had been referred for examination and treatment of epilepsy. In the questionnaire,