How effective is marijuana in treating infantile spasms (IS)?

Shaun A. Hussain, MD
Marijuana may have potential in treating infantile spasms. Marijuana has been touted as a potential treatment for many disorders and specifically for pediatric epilepsy. A form of medical marijuana that is rich in a specific compound called cannabidiol (CBD) might have potential as an anti-seizure medication. It might also have potential to treat infantile spasms. The thing to remember is that this is a very different chemical than tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the one usually linked to the effects of marijuana, namely the high, hunger, amotivational syndrome, paranoia and unmasking of psychosis. Cannabidiol may be a safe therapy. It may have very few side effects, and it may be fantastically effective in the treatment of infantile spasms.

There is an ongoing trial examining the potential effectiveness and safety of cannabidiol that will hopefully pan out. Just like any rigorous study, it may show that cannabidiol doesn't work, and we may be sent back to the drawing board looking for new therapies.

Continue Learning about Epilepsy & Seizures

Can Diet Help Treat Epilepsy in Adults?
Can Diet Help Treat Epilepsy in Adults?
It can feel like you've tried everything when it comes to epilepsy treatment. Prescription after prescription and you're still having seizures -- but ...
Read More
What are the different types of generalized seizures?
Brigham and Women's HospitalBrigham and Women's Hospital
Generalized seizures involve both sides of the brain. There is loss of consciousness after the seizu...
More Answers
What is an infantile spasm (IS)?
Dr. Daniel R. Spogen, MDDr. Daniel R. Spogen, MD
Infantile spasm (IS) is an age-specific epileptic disorder of infancy and early childhood. Distincti...
More Answers
How Well Do Anti-Seizure Drugs Work?
How Well Do Anti-Seizure Drugs Work?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.