CBD Oil For Seizures: The Most Effective New Treatment Option?

cbd oil for seizures

Posted on October 12th, 2020

You may have wondered how you process thoughts, stimuli, and emotions from the external environment. The most general answer to this question is that you experience these sensations and ideas via your central nervous system. When functioning properly, the central nervous system communicates with the cells in your brain via electrical signals. But these electrical signals could become abnormal, and the brain could become over-excited. This is what leads to a seizure. One of the newest options for treatment of specific seizure disorders is CBD. Read on and discover how safe and effective it can be to use CBD oil for seizures when indicated by the FDA and your health care provider.  

CBD Oil for Seizures

As of now, the traditional treatments available for seizures are ineffective in around 30-40% of patients. What’s more, many users report encountering severe side effects when it comes to anti-seizure medications. There’s currently a growing body of evidence to encourage using CBD oil for seizures. According to research and anecdotal evidence, CBD products are a generally effective adjunct therapy when it comes to seizures and the treatment of epilepsy. 

What Research Says So Far

Seizures often result from the over-excitement of the brain’s electrical signals. If a person experiences more than two seizures, they may be diagnosed with epilepsy. Generally speaking, current anti-epileptic drugs don’t control seizures in a considerable percentage of patients. People are now opting for alternative options like CBD-based medications approved by government regulations. The FDA has recently authorized a prescription CBD product for treating some types of seizures. What’s more, there’s a growing body of evidence encouraging the treatment of other forms of seizures using CBD oil. 

cbd oil for seizuresWhat Are Seizures?

Seizures often occur when there’s a surge of electrical activity in the brain. The common symptoms of a seizure depend on which brain areas are most affected. For example, some patients stare blankly for an extended period, while others begin to convulse violently. Epilepsy is diagnosed if a person has encountered two or more unprovoked seizures. While the root cause of epilepsy is mostly unknown, a few risk factors for epilepsy are family history, autism, brain infections, and head trauma.

Different Types of Seizures

Although there are many types of seizures, they generally fall into two main categories: 

  1. Generalized Seizures

These seizures affect all parts of the brain. There are six types of generalized seizures:

– Grand mal seizures, also referred to as tonic-clonic seizures, cause an individual to drop to the ground and convulse. With these types of seizures, an individual loses consciousness.

– Absence seizures are most prevalent in children. Typically, they cause a patient to stare into space. They often invoke lip-smacking or rapid blinking.

– Atonic seizures lead to loss of muscle control, and the person collapses.

– Tonic seizures cause the stiffening of a person’s muscles.

– Myoclonic seizures often cause muscle spasms of the legs and arms.

– Clonic seizures lead to repetitive muscle spasms of the arms, face, and neck.

  1. Focal Seizures

As the name suggests, focal seizures usually affect one part of the brain. Focal seizures could be further broken down into two categories: 

– Partial focal seizures. These don’t cause any change to one’s consciousness. Typically, they alter the emotions and/or the perception of how things sound, taste, feel, smell, or look. These kinds of seizures might also cause muscle twitches, tingling, or numbness.

– Complex focal seizures. They can cause a loss of or change in consciousness, and cause repetitive movements, such as hand rubbing, swallowing, or chewing.

Complications From Seizures

In general, complications of seizures depend on the severity and type of seizures. When it comes to convulsive seizures, there is a risk of falling or becoming hurt. What’s more, there’s a risk of status epilepticus (prolonged seizures), which can cause brain damage. 

There are specific severe types of epilepsy that are usually present in infancy or childhood which have a high mortality risk. These include Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Presently, there’s no anti-epileptic medication that can effectively treat Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome in the United States. 

What Are the Treatment Options?

Anti-epileptic drugs and some anti-seizure medications are the only mainstream treatments available as of now. Sometimes children grow out of their particular seizures, but in some instances, people need lifelong treatment. Sadly, medications are only effective for about 50% of people. Most patients experience side effects, such as depression, memory issues, weight gain, fatigue, and dizziness.

Are There Alternative Treatments to Consider? 

Because the treatments available for seizures are only somewhat effective, many people are searching for alternative treatments. Some examples include the ketogenic diet and specific herbal techniques, such as using CBD products for epilepsy management. 

Understanding CBD

CBD, which is short for cannabidiol, originates from the cannabis Sativa plant. Generally speaking, there are a wide range of cannabis plant strains, such as industrial hemp and medical marijuana. The industrial hemp plant is where most CBD products originate. 

The primary distinguishing factor for these plants is the wide range of cannabinoids they contain. The marijuana plant consists of higher THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) levels, and THC is a psychotropic cannabinoid. On the other hand, the industrial hemp plant, where most CBD products originate, contain minimal THC. Many CBD products are created with purified cannabidiol, also known as CBD isolate, which doesn’t contain any THC.

cbd oil for seizuresCBD Oil For Seizures

The American people are realizing the significance of CBD products and thus, they’re becoming more popular daily. Many people say that using CBD oil helps their anxiety, pain, and sleeping problems, without the side effects of most prescriptions. Furthermore, clinical trials utilizing CBD oil for a variety of applications have been very promising. In fact, researchers have just begun to discover all of the potential uses for CBD, but they’ve already conducted a few positive studies on CBD oil for seizure treatment.

Studies on CBD Oil and Seizures

The FDA has recently approved a drug called Epidiolex. It’s a refined, pharmaceutical-grade CBD product used for treating severe and rare forms of epilepsy. This approval is the first of its type in treating any medical condition using a CBD product. 

The research conducted on Epidiolex proves that it is very effective when it comes to treatment-resistant seizures of any kind in both children and adults. The application of this product has led to improvements in both the frequency and severity of seizures. With the FDA’s approval, it provides a promising option in the treatment of seizures of different types. 

Animal studies were the first type of studies that explored using CBD oil for seizures. They proved that CBD effectively prevented seizures in rats, possibly through its effect on 5HT2A or 5HT1A receptors. 

CBD products have also been studied in patients with Dravet syndrome. According to clinical trials, CBD oil greatly minimized the frequency of convulsive seizures with this particular condition over a 14-week duration. However, most participants encountered adverse side effects, such as sleepwalking, dizziness, and fatigue. What’s more, some people encountered elevated liver enzymes.

Research also shows that cannabidiol is effective in treating Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Based on a recent study, CBD oil lowered seizure frequency in epileptic individuals and was well-tolerated. While most participants in that study encountered some adverse side effects, most of these were mild to moderate. In summary, research supports that cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a highly effective anti-seizure medication in humans and animals. A few clinical trials confirm that CBD might be able to treat epilepsy and treatment-resistant seizures effectively. 

Are There Any Side Effects of CBD?

While CBD is generally well-tolerated, it could cause side effects, such as diarrhea, fatigue, dry mouth, changes in appetite, changes in weight, and an upset stomach. CBD oil might also interact with specific medications, such as blood thinners. For this reason, it shouldn’t be used before you consult your physician.

How to Use

Since dosing is hard to quantify with CBD oils, the oil’s purity is essential. Based on a study on adults and children with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, people who used 10-20mg of CBD oil per kg of body weight daily, together with their anti-epileptic treatment, had significant reductions in drop seizures.

Putting CBD oil directly beneath your tongue might be the simplest way to get it into your body. Including a glass of juice might help if you don’t like the flavor. But anyone considering CBD oil to treat epilepsy and seizures should speak to their doctor about dosing since it’s important to get the minimum effective dose.

Bottom Line on Using CBD for Seizures

As you’ve seen, there’s good evidence to encourage CBD’s application for treating seizures, although further research is required for specific treatment plans. According to the Epilepsy Center, several studies have shown the advantage of certain plant-based CBD oil products in treating particular groups of people struggling with epilepsy who haven’t responded to conventional therapies.

Do not forget that the FDA does not presently regulate most CBD products. So when buying CBD oil products, check whether they’ve undergone third-party testing to make sure that they meet specified quality and purity standards. Furthermore, if you’re considering trying CBD products to treat your seizures, talk to your doctor first.

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