Marijuana and Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

The main reason that most individual’s use marijuana is for the feeling of a “high” that it gives them, but there are many other effects that it brings with it as well. There has been much research concerning how the use of marijuana may have a positive affect decreasing the intensity or frequency of seizures, but more  research must be done in order to understand how the process may work.  Concerning the use of marijuana for seizure control, there are numerous types of seizures, so the type of seizure that you suffer from could be a factor in whether marijuana is used as a form of treatment. One type of seizure is called a focal seizure, which is part of what is called temporal lobe epilepsy. So what’s the relationship between marijuana and temporal lobe epilepsy ?

 

What is the Temporal Lobe ?

The Temporal Lobe is one of five lobes of the brain that interconnect and communicate, each having different functions. The temporal lobe is responsible for audio and visual memories, language recognition, and emotional responses.

Because the temporal lobe deals with memories that are both verbal and visual, and the emotional aspect of thoughts and feelings, it would make sense to question how using marijuana may help this specific type of seizure.

 

Temporal Lobe Epilepsy & seizures

These seizures are what is known as being non provoked, which would lead you to believe they happen at random. Concerning the action of CBD and it’s effects, it is thought to work specifically specific systems of the brain (11).

Temporal lobe epilepsy is also broken down in to different types of seizures as well. These include:

 

Focal awareness: These seizures are partial in nature, and many times occur as only an “aura”. Because of this, they may go undiagnosed many times. This usually involves a very strange sensation or “out-of-body” type of feeling or experience, and may last for no more than 30 seconds.

 

Focal impaired awareness: These seizures begin as focal awareness, but after a few seconds, they begin to spread, causing the individual to lose consciousness. This makes you unaware of your surroundings, putting the individual many times in a dangerous situation if they are alone.

 

The majority of neurologists and epileptoligist dealing specifically with epilepsy see triggers as physiological in nature, but recent research has shown other psychological factors to play a role in the occurrence of seizures. Some studies have shown things such as anxiety and depression as having an impact on numerous stages of a seizure. These being pre-ictal before a seizure, ictal during a seizure, and post-ictal which is after a seizure occurs (3).

 

 

 

Effects of CBD on psychological conditions

The effects that CBD has on any individual can be anything from physical to mental or psychological. This includes an increase in relaxation both physically and psychologically, and the effects that it has on the brain physiological. These conditions would include anything from physical pain, mental stress, epilepsy, and anxiety, depression, and other psychotic conditions (15,16). The mental and psychological relaxation is thought to bring positive effects to anyone that struggles with epilepsy. It is thought that if managed correctly it will assist in bringing an increase in ones overall quality of life (1).

 

Relationship between stress and seizures

The majority of doctors that one sees look solely at your current condition and control of medications you are taking, while either changing your medication or dosage, as opposed to looking closer at what other issues may be. It has been shown for people with epilepsy to have anxiety as twice as common when compared to the general population. Unfortunately, many anti anxiety medications can have a negative affect possibly causing a seizure (6), while the same is true for anti epileptic drugs causing anxiety to occur. This is thought to be possible from the anti epileptic medication distorting certain emotional aspects, which will increase the risk of a seizure occurring (2) In order to solve this, research for a medication to treat both conditions should be conducted. While doing so, the use of Cognitive Behavior therapy and the use of an enriched environment has been shown to help some with decreasing seizure frequency and psychological symptoms. This while also increasing quality of life in those with temporal lobe epilepsy.(7)

it has been shown as there being a direct relationship between mental and psychological stress being a trigger for a seizure to occur. The majority of the time, any psychological trigger may lead to a diagnosis of what is known as a Psychological non-epileptic seizure, or also more known as a Psychological non-epileptic event since no abnormal brain activity actually occurs. Although this is the case, it is still possible for an actual seizure to occur so you should be cautious of any possible signs.

 

 

 

Anxiety-Depression- and seizures

Anxiety has said to affect over 40% of patients with epilepsy, and although this is the case, more research has been done on the effects of depression on epilepsy (3). This leaves much more to be learned concerning the effects of anxiety on seizures. There are different types of anxiety, but the one that has been researched the most is social anxiety and the effects of CBD on either the anxiety itself, or seizure frequency.

Unless one suffers from seizures, they may not understand the effects that it can have concerning this, but seizures have been shown to have an affect in both social and emotional aspects (9).  It has been shown through a comparison between those with epilepsy and non epileptic events for non epileptic individuals having a higher score for things like depression or anxiety, while those with epilepsy had a low quality of life score (8). This could be because the depression and anxiety were originally part of the non epileptic seizures, and adjustments had been made, while epileptic seizures may have had these as a side affect.  This goes back to the pre mentioned affect that each type of medication has on the other with anti convulsants possibly causing anxiety or depression and vise versa. It has been noted though that there is a lack of studies concerning gender differences among CBDs effects on anxiety, and other factors as well, all of which should be searched. (14).

 

Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

Although what has been mentioned so far could have an affect any type of seizure, this has been shown to be the case more so specifically with temporal lobe epilepsy. Because the temporal lobe controls one’s mental and visionary reactions concerning your emotions, this makes sense. This would mean being able to effectively control those thoughts or feelings along with therapy may lead to a decrease in the frequency of seizures seen.

It has been shown for depression to play a key role in the relationship between anxiety and stress when it comes to the frequency of seizures (4). This would be good for anyone suffering from both conditions of anxiety and depression, allowing you to focus more on treating the depression which in turn should help the anxiety. While CBD has been shown to assist with this, it has also been shown to work along with another part of marijuana called THC. The THC has been found to be effective either while alone, or in a very small amount when combined with CBD in order to treat anxiety. (13) This shows the importance of CBD and the THC in the treatment of these conditions. Using CBD to treat this may assist in decreasing the frequency of seizures that occur, but more studies should be done.

 

 

Who will CBD help ?

The majority of studies concerning CBD is on adults, but epilepsy and seizures have negative effects on both adults and the younger population. Concerning the effects which seizures can have on the younger population, this may increase one’s level of depression or anxiety when occurring in public places (5) , and have a affect self-esteem. This shows the importance of the use of CBD in controlling seizures in both the older and younger populations.

 

Conclusion

Overall, the use of the marijuana plant and it’s parts concerning CBD and THC are showing promising effects on decreasing seizure frequency, and assisting in other medical conditions. One condition which CBD has been shown to help with which in turn may assist in decreasing seizure frequency is anxiety (10,12), and possibly depression. These can both be side effects of seizure medications. In order to effectively treat seizures which may be triggered by something like the previous conditions mentions, more research should be done. From what is also known though, using the treatment of CBD along with different types of therapy is probably the best option while no effective medication for both is available.

References

1. The Relationship Between Epilepsy and Anxiety Disorders – PubMed (nih.gov)

2. Depression and Anxiety in the Epilepsies: from Bench to Bedside – PubMed (nih.gov)

3. Anxiety and epilepsy: what neurologists and epileptologists should know – PubMed (nih.gov)

4. Stress, anxiety, depression, and epilepsy: investigating the relationship between psychological factors and seizures – PubMed (nih.gov)

5. In adolescents with epilepsy, high scores of anxiety and depression are associated with occurrence of seizures in public places – PubMed (nih.gov)

6. Epilepsy and anxiety: epidemiology, classification, aetiology, and treatment – PubMed (nih.gov)

7. Enriched environment attenuates behavioral seizures and depression in chronic temporal lobe epilepsy – PubMed (nih.gov)

8. Comparison of psychiatric comorbidities and impact on quality of life in patients with epilepsy or psychogenic nonepileptic spells – PubMed (nih.gov)

9. Early life seizures in female rats lead to anxiety-related behavior and abnormal social behavior characterized by reduced motivation to novelty and deficit in social discrimination – PubMed (nih.gov)

10. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series – PubMed (nih.gov)

11. Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report – PubMed (nih.gov)

12. Cannabidiol (CBD) reduces anxiety-related behavior in mice via an FMRP-independent mechanism – PubMed (nih.gov)

13. Effects of ∆ 9-tetrahydrocannabinol on aversive memories and anxiety: a review from human studies – PubMed (nih.gov)

14. Use of Cannabidiol for the Treatment of Anxiety: A Short Synthesis of Pre-Clinical and Clinical Evidence – PubMed (nih.gov)

15. Cannabis, a cause for anxiety? A critical appraisal of the anxiogenic and anxiolytic properties – PubMed (nih.gov)

16. Treatment of social anxiety disorder and attenuated psychotic symptoms with cannabidiol – PubMed (nih.gov)