A North American History of Cannabis Use in the Treatment of Epilepsy


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Abstract

Summary:Cannabis has been used for millennia in religious ceremonies, for recreation and for its medicinal qualities. There are multiple accounts detailing the specific ailments cannabis has been used to treat, many of which have included epilepsy. Racial discrimination and political stigmatization led to prohibition, which limited both patients' and researchers' access to the drug through the 20th century. Recently, academic interest has been renewed in cannabis, especially regarding the modulation of cortical excitability via the human endocannabinoid system. Modern research has produced several promising studies regarding the treatment of epileptic encephalopathies. Legalization of marijuana in Canada has potentially allowed for further trials, but it is by no means an end to the controversy surrounding the treatment of epilepsy with cannabinoids.

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