CBD and Seizures
The earliest records of cannabis use from ancient Chinese medicine show how it provides relief from pain, promotes the healing of battle wounds, reduces the severity of seizures, and, above all, provides relief from menstrual irregularities. This was long before the discovery of the endocannabinoid system, the cannabinoid receptors, or the cannabinoids.
The discovery of the ECS and its constituent gave us clearer ideas about why cannabis makes users act the way they do and sought to differentiate between the effects of the highly psychoactive THC and safe CBD. This knowledge has been utilized to explain the difference between CBD and THC and how it CBD can produce a vast array of therapeutic benefits with little to no side effects.
Although the use of cannabis-based products is still facing one form of restrictions or the other, the FDA has approved the medicinal application of CBD drugs as a treatment for seizures related to epilepsy. Epidiolex (the world’s first approved CBD drug) was launched in 2018 as a treatment for epilepsy after examining several reports from scientific and laboratory research. In this article, we shall discuss the role of CBD in seizures and how it can provide relief from symptoms associated with it.
OVERVIEW OF EPILEPSY AND SEIZURES
A seizure can be described as an uncontrollable or sudden electrical disturbance in the brain leading to a change in behavior, feelings, or movements and in the levels of consciousness displayed by the person under the attack. The appearance of two or more recurrent seizures is a sign of epilepsy.
Seizures are expressed in different forms and severity and are often characterized based on the location of the brain affected. In most cases, normal seizures may last from 30 seconds to 120 seconds (2 minutes). If a seizure exceeds 5 minutes, immediate medical attention should be sought.
Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disease after migraines, stroke, and Alzheimer’s, affecting over 150,000 Americans yearly. The prevalence of the disease is quite on the high side as 1 in every 26 US people is at the risk of being diagnosed with the disease. The symptoms associated with chronic forms of seizures range from the momentary staring blankly to the loss of awareness and uncontrollable twitching. While the severity of the symptoms may be mild in some cases, every form of seizure should be treated as potentially harmful since it can result in deleterious effects when it occurs during driving or swimming.
While it may be hard to pinpoint the cause of seizures in some cases, there is a need to note that they can be triggered by a closed head injury, stroke, and an underlying infection like meningitis.
How CBD assist with seizures?
CBD possesses an excellent therapeutic profile that has been identified from research to include antimicrobial, antidepressant, antioxidant, anticancer, antitumor, and anxiolytic properties. These activities are borne out of the interaction between CBD and the cannabinoid receptors, which play significant roles in controlling cognitive responses while ensuring internal balance.
Cannabinoid receptors are expressed in every part of the body from the central nervous system to the eyes, skin, immune cells, and peripheral organs. The activity of CBD on the cannabinoid receptors was discovered to promote sleep, improve anxiety, trigger pain relief, and proffer solutions to several neurological disorders.
A study conducted by the UNC School of Medicine researchers reported how CBD could alleviate seizures and normalize brain rhythms in Angelman syndrome, a rare neurodevelopmental condition. This is a condition characterized by a lack of speech, intellectual disability, brain rhythm dysfunction, and some form of drug-resistant epilepsy. In the study, the researchers discovered that the administration of 100mg/kg CBD treatment attenuated hyperthermia and acoustically induced seizures in a mouse with Angelman syndrome.
More studies aimed at revealing the potential benefits of using epidiolex to treat seizures show that CBD reduced the amount of seizures in severe cases of epilepsy. The researchers recruited about 689 people with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome who were treated with epidiolex, including 533 people who were treated for more than 6 months and 391 people were treated for more than one year. The findings of the study showed a significant decrease in seizures experienced in children and adults with LGS. Although the application was effective, the use of epidiolex produced side effects like sleepiness, sedation, and lethargy. The other commonly reported side effects triggered by long use and high doses of epidiolex were change in liver function, diarrhea, reduced appetite, fatigue, weight loss, insomnia, and poor quality sleep.
In addition, some researchers also discovered how the application of CBD could reduce convulsive seizures by 46% in children taking 20 mg/kg daily and 49% for children who take 10mg/kg daily. It is pertinent to note that while higher doses of CBD may produce a better effect on patients, it predisposes the user to several side effects, which may lead to discontinuation of the drug.
The ability of CBD to trigger the release of feel-good hormones and the formation of new brain cells is also important in promoting neurological balance and relaxation. CBD is an official treatment for epilepsy, and with time we hope other diseases may follow suit. As a sign of precaution, it is important that you consult with your physician before using CBD as a treatment for epilepsy since they are in a better position to identify the best dosage for your seizures.
Don’t forget to contact our team of experts if you have any questions about the use of CBD oil for epilepsy or any other form of seizure. We will love to hear from you soon.