Seizures can be debilitating to an individual to the extent of limiting their freedom and independence in life. The condition, however, can be managed using pharmaceutical medication but for those that want a natural alternative, CBD oil has proven to be effective.
CBD Oil For Seizures: The Highlights
- Cannabis has several components that are still under research. Of these components, two are significantly known, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
- THC contains elements that cause the ‘high feeling’ when someone takes cannabis. However, CBD contains healing properties and has therefore been isolated from the cannabis plant for alternative treatment purposes for several ailments such as epilepsy.
- When a person has recurrent seizures, it means he/she may possibly be having epilepsy. It is, therefore, a concern that close to 30% of epilepsy patients are drug-resistant to the traditional anticonvulsant medications.
- CBD Oil has anti-convulsing properties that restore the brain’s normal activity, relieving seizures. Although CBD Oil for seizures has not gained acceptance let alone legality all around the world, the idea of using it as an alternative treatment for seizures is slowly being embraced.
- In light of the side effects and resistance of the anticonvulsant drugs, patients are turning to alternative treatments to manage this condition. One alternative treatment that is growing in popularity is the CBD Oil which stems from cannabis.
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a chronic condition. It is described as the recurrence of seizures.
Seizures occur when the electrical activity in the brain is disturbed or becomes imbalanced. There are types of seizures and each varies in intensity and symptoms. They also determine the kind of medication that will be administered to the patient by a doctor.
In essence, there are two major types of seizures. A generalized seizure and a focal/partial seizure. The two are different from each other in that the generalized seizure affects the entire brain while focal/partial seizure is restricted to a single part of the brain.
There are six kinds of generalized seizures namely:
- absence seizures
- tonic seizures
- atonic seizures
- clonic seizures
- myoclonic seizures
- tonic-clonic seizures
We also have mild and stronger seizures.
When an individual experiences a mild seizure, it is very easy to miss its occurrence because it happens in seconds.
A stronger seizure, on the other hand, is easier to tell when they occur as they have more defined indicators such as convulsions, uncontrollable twitching of muscles, changes in normal senses functioning and in some instances, confusion and loss of consciousness.
It is also possible to have memory loss of the event. It is important to be cognizant of the symptoms of epilepsy in order to catch it when it is occurring. The major symptom of epilepsy is a seizure.
The symptoms differ from person to person and from seizure to seizure. Symptoms may include:
- an anomaly in the senses i.e. sight, touch, smell, hearing or taste
- twitching and tingling in limbs
- loss of consciousness
- stiffening of the body
- loss of bladder control
- staring blankly
- stiffening of the body, among many others
What Causes Epilepsy?
Despite a large number of people affected by epilepsy, what exactly causes the condition is still not clear. It has been attributed to a combination of factors but some common possible causes that have been agreed upon include:
- high fever
- trauma to the head
- low blood sugar levels
- alcohol withdrawal
- imbalanced hormones,
- post-traumatic epilepsy
- lack of oxygen to the brain
Common triggers include:
- lack of adequate sleep
- flickering lights, and overwhelmingly bright lights
- spiking fevers
- drugs, some foods
- skipping meals or simply eating too much
A person suffering from epilepsy may not be able to clearly put a finger on what exactly is their trigger. However, keeping a diary of the events before and after can help in identifying these triggers.
The Problems With Seizures Medication
Research shows that nearly 30% of epileptic patients are resistant to conventional pharmaceutical medication for epilepsy. The patients are usually given a recommendation of either one or two of these drugs to manage the condition:
- levetiracetam (Keppra)
- lamotrigine (Lamictal)
- topiramate (Topamax)
- valproic acid (Depakote)
- carbamazepine (Tegretol)
- ethosuximide (Zarontin)
And with the aforementioned level of resistance in a substantial number of patients, these drugs are virtually futile.
They are also known to cause a good number of side effects on their users. These side effects include and are not limited to headaches, nausea, loss of hair, liver failure, depression, double vision, weight gain, slurring of speech, irritability, sleep disturbances, sedation, impotence, and mood disturbances.
In light of these solid reasons, several epileptic patients have sought CBD Oil as an alternative option of treatment.
CBD Oil: The Natural Alternative
CBD Oil (cannabidiol) is becoming an option for several patients day by day. CBD has been responsible for the rescheduling of marijuana in governments to allow its prescription to patients who suffer from certain conditions like epilepsy, although with some mandatory conditions underpinned to the administration.
How Does CBD Oil Help With Seizures?
CBD Oil works by changing the cell activity in the brain by switching the manner in which ions flow in and out of cannabinoid receptors.
In the brain, it targets five major areas:
- calcium ion channels
- glutamate receptor antagonists
- sodium ion channels
- the GATA system and receptor agonists
This anti-seizure drug works by binding itself onto neurons or by changing the structure of neurotransmitters tasked with sending of messages.
CBD Oil Has Anticonvulsant Properties
Through clinical trials in 2017, studies by Devinsky have concluded that medical cannabis has anti-seizure properties, important for managing epilepsy.
GW Pharmaceuticals carried out an experiment to ascertain the effectiveness of their drug, Epidiolex. During the experiment, they had two patients taking different amounts of the drug and the number of seizures experiences were drastically reduced.
It is the first study conducted on a large scale and has added more weight on the actual presence of anti-seizure properties of marijuana.
In addition, it has also been able to shed some light on the recommended dosages for patients of epilepsy, an aspect that has long been untouched. This study has been published on the internet by The New England Journal.
CBD oil has also been found to be beneficial in helping with seizures in dogs.
Despite marijuana’s anticonvulsant properties stemming from cannabis, it is important to note that THC has been discovered to cause the opposite effects.
It has the ability to trigger more seizure.
This has caused the recommendation of children who have been started on THC to be transitioned slowly into safer and more effective CBD.
CBD Helps With Rare Type Of Epilepsy
The effect of CBD Oil on rare types of epilepsy, Dravet syndrome, and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome has been largely done through clinical trials. The efficiency of CBD was tested by incorporating two different amounts of CBD to normal pharmaceutical drugs as well as a placebo.
In patients who took the samples with higher amounts of CBD, they had the most reduction in seizures (41.9%). The patients who were given the lower CBD dosages had a slightly lower reduction (37.2%) in seizures compares to the higher dosage patients.
Lastly, the ones who had the placebo had the least reduction in seizures (17.2%).
Specific Doses Of CBD Are Used For Seizures
The double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial considered a broad base in that it involved both children and adults.
The conclusion arrived was that the administration of pure CBD in doses of 10mg or 20mg to body weight per day was effective and safe for reducing seizure frequency especially in drop seizures when compared to placebos.
This is typically to say that traditional pharmaceutical drugs are far much ineffective in the reduction of drop seizures, .i.e. seizures that cause patients to fall.
Also, it is important to note that CBD is used to treat intractable epilepsy.
This means that epilepsy ought to have failed to respond positively to at least two prescribed conventional drugs before cannabidiols are administered as alternative treatments.
Is CBD For Seizures Becoming Popular?
As early as 2003, Virginia Commonwealth University suggested that medical cannabis is far much more effective in the control of epilepsy compared to its pharmaceutical counterparts.
The study had been on for close to ten years by the time these revelations surfaced.
Over the years, cannabis has gained popularity among patients. In the US, for example, there are some states that have moved to legalized the use of marijuana to treat chronic conditions such as epilepsy.
With the world embracing medical cannabis and CBD as an alternative treatment for epilepsy, purchasing has become easier and more accessible. With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, all CBD oil derived from hemp is legal. And purchasing CBD products is as easy as placing an order online.
FDA approves CBD Oil For Seizures
The studies on the rare types of epilepsy, Dravet syndrome, and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome were tabled and discussed by the Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs Advisory Committee of the FDA.
It was recommended that Epidiolex be approved by the FDA as a drug to be used for the two rare types of epilepsy, based on the clinical-trials and testimonies.
In June 2018, the FDA approved the use of medical marijuana in the form of Epidiolex to GW Research Ltd, to manage Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. It, however, directed that Epidiolex be dispensed with medication guide to inform patients on how to properly use the drug as well as its effects.
Other CBD Products For Seizures
Aside from oral medical marijuana solutions such as Epidiolex available in the market, there exist some ways of administering CBD products for seizures. Aside from CBD Oil, they include patches, creams, and edibles.
CBD Patches or otherwise known as Dermal Patches are another form of how CBD products can be administered.
They come in the form of a band-aid. The band-aid is infused with CBD. The patient places the patch on their body. The patch works when the body releases heat. It triggers the patch to release levels of CBD into the bloodstream.
Simply put, CBD cream is cream with cannabinoid additives into it. It is often a better option for people who have a hard time with ingesting drugs. The cream is usually applied onto the skin and will be absorbed into the bloodstream from there.
Gummies have long since become a very common way of taking medical marijuana. Arguably enough, they are the best alternative you may seek if you are always on the run and need to worry less about dosage.
This is because each gummy is infused with a preferable amount of CBD consistent with its strength.
However, just like other edibles, they have been known to take more time to kick in compared to more conventional methods such as smoking. This is because the gummies first to have to pass through the digestive system before they can make their way into the circulatory system and to the brain.
The Future Of CBD As A Treatment For Seizures
In the state of Colorado where recreational marijuana has been made legal, the Children’s Hospital Colorado is making strides in its research on CBD in treatment of juvenile epilepsy through its Epilepsy Program.
In the coming years, it won't be surprising to see patients suffering from seizures and epilepsy turning to CBD for relief. It’s only a matter of time before CBD oil becomes a preference over pharmaceutical drugs.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Does CBD Oil Help With Seizures?
- Does CBD Prevent Seizures?
- How Much CBD Should I Take For Seizures?
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always check with your doctor before starting a new dietary supplement program.