Marijuana use among patients with epilepsy at a tertiary care center

Alysse Kerr, Victoria Walston, Victoria S.S. Wong, Marissa Kellogg, Lia Ernst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The expansion of medical and recreational marijuana legalization facilitates patient access to cannabis, and many patients with epilepsy pursue marijuana as a treatment for seizures. We administered a nine-item survey on marijuana use to patients seen in an epilepsy clinic over a 9 month period at a tertiary care center in Oregon where recreational use was legalized in 2015. The majority of respondents (n = 39) reported cannabis use for the purpose of treating epilepsy (87.2%, n = 34), and strongly agreed (53.8%, n = 21) or agreed (28.2%, n = 11) that cannabis use improved seizure control. The most commonly selected cannabis strains were high cannabidiol (CBD) (30.8%, n = 12) or multiple types (30.8%, n = 12), with administration methods of smoking (66.7%, n = 26), edibles (48.7%, n = 19), and concentrates (43.6%, n = 17). More participants reported using marijuana with primarily CBD than primarily tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or equal CBD:THC content, and very few women reported using marijuana with primarily THC compared with men (10% of female versus 47% of male respondents). Only 2 of 39 participants were able to give an exact dosage used in milligrams. Medical and recreational dispensaries were the most common cannabis sources, followed by homegrown and friends/family members. Although pharmaceutical CBD extract is now Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved for certain epilepsy types, access remains limited. Further research is needed to understand recreational cannabis use among patients with epilepsy while clinical research for pharmaceutical cannabis products continues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-148
Number of pages5
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • Cannabidiol
  • Cannabis
  • Clinical survey
  • Epilepsy
  • Medical marijuana

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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