CBD Oil for Seizures
The history of medical cannabis can be traced around most of the ancient civilizations. Starting from China to ancient India, the use of cannabis was prevalent in religious practices as well as medicinal practices. For instance, Hua Tuo (C.140-208), an early surgeon, is credited as the first person to use cannabis as an anesthetic. However, the invention of new drugs particularly aspirin contributed to an eventual decline of cannabis in the first half of the 20th century.
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The medical community looking for natural remedies to treat various symptoms turned their attention once again during the latter half of the 20th century. What caught their attention was a chemical compound named cannabidiol (CBD) found in cannabis and hemp plants. Since then, many studies were conducted to find its efficacy in treating symptoms related to inflammation, sclerosis, anxiety, depression, acne, heart issues, and other illnesses. Most of the studies have shown a mixed result, and more trials will be needed before concluding CBD’s potential efficacy.
Today CBD has gained popularity among people based primarily on claims that it is an effective alternative for reducing symptoms in varied conditions. Thanks to the legalization of medical marijuana in western countries, more studies and trials are being conducted to find out CBD’s efficacy for various ailments and conditions. CBD research on seizures and epilepsy indicates its potential efficacy in helping some of the symptoms.
Nonetheless, it is important to be aware of any risks when taking CBD products, and it is essential to work closely with a doctor to determine whether it is a suitable treatment option or not.
Continue reading to learn more about cannabis and CBD oils for seizures.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is prepared by mixing cannabidiol with a carrier oil like coconut, MCT, olive, hemp seed, or other edible oils. CBD is one of the 113 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant. The other most familiar cannabinoid known as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is what causes high when someone smokes or ingests cannabis. But unlike THC, CBD is not addictive nor psychoactive. This non-psychoactive quality makes cannabidiol an attractive choice for people who are looking for an alternative option to get relief from pain or other symptoms without causing any psychical effects of marijuana. However, variants of CBD oils mainly full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD oil can have some amount of THC, details can be found on the packaging.
Seizures are the result of sudden, uncontrolled electrical activities in the brain. It can cause violent shaking and loss of control over the body during severe seizure attacks. Frequent seizures can be a symptom of epilepsy. Epilepsy may occur as a result of a genetic disorder, or brain injuries. It is essential to seek medical help if more than two seizures have occurred in a short period. There is currently no formidable cure for epilepsy. Doctors may advise patients to adopt a healthy lifestyle, stay away from stressful environments, and suggest dietary changes. Symptoms like sudden fear, dizziness, and headache, or body sensation can occur before the seizures.
- Focal Seizures: Focal or partial seizures occur when there is a disruption of electric impulses in one part of the brain. Although it doesn’t involve loss of consciousness, other symptoms including dizziness, alterations of senses, and twitching can occur in partial seizures. On the other hand, a complex partial seizure can result in loss of consciousness.
- Generalized Seizures: Generalized seizures occur when there is a disruption of electric impulses in the whole brain. There are six types of generalized seizures from Absence seizures to Clonic seizures. The symptoms may include loss of awareness, muscle stiffness, loss of control, and twitching of arms and legs. Apart from these two types, there are some rare epilepsy syndromes such as Alice in Wonderland syndromes, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and Dravet syndrome. Dravet syndrome is a highly drug-resistant, severe form of epilepsy. The symptoms become visible in the very first year of new-born infants. It can remain a lifelong problem with occurrences of prolonged seizure attacks.
Lennox-Gastaut syndrome is also a severe form of epilepsy that begins in the first year of life in otherwise healthy infants.
CBD for Epilepsy
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, around 30% of people with epilepsy don’t respond well to traditional methods of treatments. These people may consult their doctors about using CBD oil for seizures. Although there have been limited studies around CBD’s efficacy in controlling seizures, early evidence from anecdotal reports and clinical trials suggests that CBD could potentially be helpful. However, more research studies and trials will be needed before concluding in this regard. Some legal restrictions on cannabis products have recently been lifted, but remain highly restricted. One major restriction is around THC. Cannabis products can’t contain more than 0.03% of THC.
Some epilepsy experts have suggested that CBD may play a role in reducing seizures. It is still not clear how or why CBD can help those with epilepsy or seizures. Nevertheless, some people have experienced an improvement in alleviating some of the common symptoms. As medical research on CBD is still in its early stages, those considering using CBD should first discuss it with their doctor.
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What Does The Research Say about CBD for Seizures?
Isolated or part of a CBD-enriched herbal extract may help decrease seizure frequency in children with treatment-resistant epilepsy, according to a review published by the Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology. CBD is so far the only compound found helpful in reducing the frequency of seizures among children. However, the same results can’t be expanded with other compounds found in cannabis plants. The long-term effect of treating epilepsy with CBD remains largely unknown. A CNS study notes that only 27% of children with treatment-resistant epilepsy reported some improvements.
What Do You Need to Know About Epidiolex?
Epidiolex is perhaps the first CBD based medication approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It has been approved for the treatment of two rare types of epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome. In 2020, the FDA also approved Epidiolex to treat another rare seizure condition known as tuberous sclerosis complex. It contains almost 98% pure CBD, making it more likely to have a greater therapeutic effect than other types of cannabidiol products. Since these kinds of seizures begin in the early stages of life, Epidiolex is mostly prescribed for children (>2 years) with epilepsy. The FDA concluded that “the benefits of the product outweigh the known risks…”. Although studies indicated that Epidiolex may help in reducing the frequency of seizures, some potential side-effects couldn’t be denied.
Artisanal CBD and Pharmaceutical-Grade CBD
There is a difference between store-bought (artisanal) CBD products and pharmaceutical products such as Epidiloex. Pharmaceutical companies are strictly bound by regulatory bodies and they have to maintain a higher manufacturing standard. On the other hand, artisanal or commercial cannabidiol remains largely unregulated.
A new study has compared the effects of artisanal CBD and pharmaceutical CBD on people with epilepsy. It showed that artisanal CBD is not as effective as Epidiloex. Moreover, the study highlighted the potential risks with commercial CBDs. A 70% increase in seizures who took artisanal CBD, while 39% reduction in seizures who were given prescription CBD during the study period. However, the findings were based on a small study involving only 31 subjects. More research will be needed to see if the same results can be found in larger groups of people.
Epidiolex is an oral solution. A doctor may prescribe it after examining the medical history and severity of symptoms for those with epileptic seizures. Recommended dosage can vary from child to child. The packaging provides all the details about dosage and timing (usually 2 times a day). It’s essential to follow the doctor’s guidance on its dosage.
Is CBD Safe for Seizures?
WHO in a critical review has earlier stated that CBD is generally well-tolerated and safe for human consumption. However, some studies suggest that CBD can cause side effects if taken in large amounts or those having conditions. During the clinical trials of Epidiolex, some subjects experienced mild side-effects including diarrhea, fatigue, vomiting, and fever, while some reported sleepiness and drowsiness after taking Epidiolex.
If you are on some other anti-epilepsy medications, talk to your doctor before considering any CBD-based treatments. Some medications such as those with grapefruit warnings may interact with cannabidiol. Although CBD remains safe, if you experience any side effects, consulting your doctor is a good idea.
Although Epidiolex remains the most credible option for children with seizures, it is pretty expensive. That’s why many people opt for artisanal CBD oils or gummies. Many people today use over-the-counter CBD-containing products to use them for seizure control.
Plenty of brands today market their products made from cannabis plants for their efficacy and health benefits. However, these products remain unregulated and most likely untested as FDA regulation doesn’t extend to them.
As there is no concrete evidence over how much dosage or how exactly CBD helps people with seizures, it is essential to seek a doctor’s advice instead of self-medicating.
Luckily, there are a few ways to ensure the authenticity of CBD oils.
- Product label: One of the best ways is to read the product label carefully. You are likely to get important details on the packaging label including flavors, carrier oils, CBD concentration, and much other useful information. The label may also suggest dosage, but it’s more important that you stick to your doctor’s recommended dosage.
- Third-party certifications: Third-party certifications are another important source of information to look out for when choosing a CBD oil. Independent lab reports verify claims and purity of the CBD in products. If cannabidiol oil has more independent verifiable certifications then it means they are more reliable than others.
- Consult an expert: If you are still confused, talk to an expert or CBD-friendly doctor for better guidance.
Considering that CBD based products are a fairly new therapy for seizures and more conclusive research awaited, one should always consider this option only in consultation with a doctor. That said, many people have found CBD and especially Epidiolex helpful to manage epilepsy. Most of the researches has indicated that except for CBD, other cannabinoids found in cannabis plants are not much help when it comes to epilepsy. Thus, it becomes important to select a CBD oil that contains purer and more high-quality cannabidiol in the product label. If you want to try CBD for seizures, talk to a healthcare advisor first. Let them know about your medical conditions and your current medications. If they recommend CBD for your treatment, then do your research to find a high-quality CBD product.
Choose CBD Oil for Seizures now
- Consroe, Paul, et al. "Effects of cannabidiol on behavioral seizures caused by convulsant drugs or current in mice." European journal of pharmacology 83.3-4 (1982): 293-298.
- Saade, Dimah, and Charuta Joshi. "Pure cannabidiol in the treatment of malignant migrating partial seizures in infancy: a case report." Pediatric neurology 52.5 (2015): 544-547.
- Consroe, P. A. U. L., and A. N. D. R. E. A. Wolkin. "Cannabidiol--antiepileptic drug comparisons and interactions in experimentally induced seizures in rats." Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 201.1 (1977): 26-32.
- Jones, Nicholas A., et al. "Cannabidiol exerts anti-convulsant effects in animal models of temporal lobe and partial seizures." Seizure 21.5 (2012): 344-352.
- Kaplan, Joshua S., et al. "Cannabidiol attenuates seizures and social deficits in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114.42 (2017): 11229-11234.
- Gray, Royston A., and Benjamin J. Whalley. "The proposed mechanisms of action of CBD in epilepsy." Epileptic Disorders 22 (2020): S10-S15.
- Lazarini-Lopes, Willian, et al. "The anticonvulsant effects of cannabidiol in experimental models of epileptic seizures: From behavior and mechanisms to clinical insights." Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 111 (2020): 166-182.
- Patra, Pabitra Hriday, et al. "Cannabidiol reduces seizures and associated behavioral comorbidities in a range of animal seizure and epilepsy models." Epilepsia 60.2 (2019): 303-314.
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