- Researchers analyzed health records of 112 individuals with epilepsy given medical cannabis.
- Most study participants chose cannabis with concentrations of CBD and THC.
ORLANDO — Adults with epilepsy who were given medical cannabis recorded a significant decrease in weekly seizure frequency, according to a poster from the American Epilepsy Society annual meeting.
“There is little data on the effects of THC and seizure frequency, so we are trying to analyze the change in patients in our state program,” Xintian Lyu, BS, a student in the department of experimental and clinical pharmacology at the College of Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota, told Healio during the presentation.
According to research from the University of Minnesota, medical cannabis was linked to reduction of weekly seizure frequency for those with epilepsy.
Given the lack of dosing recommendations for medicinal cannabis such as Epidiolex, Lyu and colleagues sought to examine changes in seizure frequency for those with epilepsy given cannabis with higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD) or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from the medical cannabis program created in the state of Minnesota.
Their study collected data from the Minnesota Department of Health and Vireo Health records from 2016 to 2019, which included 112 adults with epilepsy (54.5% male; 70% aged 18 to 64 years) who had at least four visits with a treatment for at least 6 months and who may or may not have been prescribed antiseizure medications (ASM).
The primary outcome for the study was changes in weekly seizure frequency from baseline to the final visit depending on whether a participant increased, decreased or declined to change their total daily cannabis dose. Secondary outcome was the number of participants who utilized cannabis alone or in concert with ASMs.
According to results, 57 participants reported decreases in weekly seizure frequency, 45 enrollees reported no change including 34 with zero frequency at both baseline and final visit, while 10 patients reported seizure frequency increase.
In all three frequency groups, participants were dispensed both CBD and THC and a significant difference was reported in CBD total daily dose among those who recorded either a decrease or no change in seizure frequency (P = 0.019).
“We also found that 30 patients relied on cannabis only to manage their seizures, although most (of the study population) were taking one to five antiseizure medications,” Lyu told Healio.
Lyu X, et al. Medical cannabis and seizure control in Minnesota medical cannabis program. Presented at: American Epilepsy Society annual meeting; Dec. 1-5, 2023: Orlando.