Epilepsy – which causes seizures – occurs due to erratic electrical activity in your brain. These uncontrolled movements can be highly disruptive to a person’s day-to-day life and can result in serious physical and emotional distress.
If you have epilepsy or have a loved one who does, you know how devastating the condition can be. If you are considering CBD for epilepsy, there is promising research that suggests it may help.
Cannabidiol (CBD) has received a great deal of attention lately for medical use, including the treatment of epilepsy. In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a CBD-based treatment called Epidiolex for two rare forms of epilepsy (Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome).
Though Epidiolex is the only FDA-approved CBD treatment, research suggests that CBD may be beneficial for epilepsy and seizures. However, before you try CBD products to manage or treat your seizures, you should talk to your doctor about the potential benefits and risks and also discuss how it might interact with your current medications.
How Does CBD Help Epilepsy and Seizures?
Interestingly enough, it’s not known why or how CBD prevents epilepsy or seizures. What we do know, though, is that our bodies are hosting a vast and complex system of neurotransmitters and receptors called the endocannabinoid system. While research on this system is relatively new and ongoing, it’s believed that this system helps to regulate body functions such as appetite, sleep, pain, and even our immune system.
It is believed that CBD works by attaching itself to receptors in the endocannabinoid system that is responsible for regulating neurological signals in the brain. CBD may improve the connections between neurons, which in turn may reduce the excitability that causes seizures.
Research done on animals has demonstrated CBD’s positive effects on seizures may come from dampening neuronal excitability in the TRPV1 receptors. The same study also found indications that CBD may have anticonvulsive effects on more than just the TRPV1 receptors, though more research is needed.
Epidiolex Research and Availability
Epidiolex is the only FDA-approved CBD treatment for epilepsy, and it’s only available to people over the age of 2 with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. These are both very rare forms of epilepsy, so the availability of Epidiolex is highly limited.
Still, the research on this drug is extremely promising. A study published in 2018 tested patients with various types of epilepsy and found it to be incredibly effective at reducing seizures. Before using the drug, patients were averaging 59.4 seizures per month. After 12 weeks of using CBD, the average participant had just 22.5 seizures per month. The study lasted for 48 weeks, with reductions in seizures persisting for the length of the study.
Further Research on CBD and Epilepsy
The 2018 Farm Bill that was passed by Congress and signed into law legalized hemp farming (with heavy restrictions) and paved the way to greater research on hemp and CBD. As a result, the medical study of CBD has gained considerable speed, though we are still a long way from knowing all of its potential uses and benefits.
Another study found mixed results for CBD treatments. This study, completed in 2020, found that CBD may actually enhance the effects of other antiepileptic drugs. That may be in addition to CBD’s own antiepileptic effects. This is excellent news for anyone with epilepsy.
However, the same study also cautioned that in certain cases CBD has “the potential for seizure aggravation.” The scientists warned that CBD might rightfully be a valid tool in fighting epilepsy, but it’s not a cure for epilepsy and may come with risks.
While there is still not enough research on CBD for epilepsy and seizures, what has been found so far is certainly promising.
CBD, Epilepsy, and Seizures
We've certainly come a long way in a short time. Even the U.S. Congress recognizes the wide-ranging benefits of CBD and hemp. CBD is now available in all 50 states.
Due to the new acceptance of CBD, the medical community is finally getting its hands on this incredible natural substance. As a result, we're learning a great deal about CBD's positive medical effects on our digestion, sleep, pain, and immune systems.
The FDA has even embraced the limited use of CBD to treat two rare forms of epilepsy. This is certainly great news, and we hope this trend continues. With more research, CBD has the potential to be a game-changing natural treatment for millions of people around the world suffering from the debilitating effects of epilepsy and seizures.
Don’t be afraid to discuss CBD oil with your doctor. More doctors are opening their minds to the benefits of CBD. It is generally considered safe and well-tolerated. Numerous studies have found it beneficial, and it may well be the right treatment for you or a loved one.
If you need help deciding which CBD products to start with, give us a call for a free consultation. We can help answer any questions you have about which type of CBD you would be best to start with.
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