If you have seizures or know someone who does, you may always be looking for ways to control them with as few side effects as possible. Can you use CBD for seizures? There is no treatment for epilepsy or other seizure disorders, even though millions of people have these conditions. But the symptoms of epilepsy can be treated with several drugs, such as cannabidiol (CBD).
CBD oil is one of the cannabis products that are believed to control seizures. Even though its effects are not as miraculous as some people think, it is a promising treatment that could be the right choice for you.
What Is a Seizure?
A seizure is a sudden, brief surge of electricity in the brain that changes your awareness and ability to function. It can also cause spastic movements and other symptoms, such as staring, losing consciousness, and being unable to control your bowels or bladder.
About a third of people with epilepsy have a type of disease called drug-resistant epilepsy. This means their seizures can’t be controlled by how they are usually treated. People with drug-resistant epilepsy or refractory epilepsy may be able to use medical marijuana to reduce the seizure frequency they have or even stop having them altogether.
Potential causes of seizure disorders
Damage to the brain and genetic changes are two of the most common reasons people have seizures. Most seizures can be put into one of three groups:
- A seizure that comes from a structural lesion in the brain
- A seizure that is a result of an underlying genetic mutation
- Idiopathic seizure or seizure activity with no apparent cause
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD oil comprises two parts: cannabidiol and carrier oil, like olive, coconut, or any ingestible oil. CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it does not make you feel high.
But some CBD oils sold as full-spectrum or broad-spectrum contain cannabinoids other than CBD. Some companies that make CBD oil add small amounts of chemicals and terpenes to their products. They think these compounds work together to produce the “entourage effect,” in which some effects of the cannabinoids in the body are stronger and more enhanced.
Does CBD Help Control Seizures?
The short answer is “yes.” Cannabidiol, or CBD, has been shown to help people and animals treat seizures. Clinical research shows that the number of seizures in people with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Dravet syndrome, or tuberous sclerosis complex went down by a significant amount when they took CBD as part of their treatment.
There are signs that CBD may help prevent other types of seizures or make other antiepileptic drugs work better, but research in other areas is still in its early stages. Early clinical trials show that CBD may significantly reduce the number and severity of seizures in people with CDKL5 deficient condition, Aicardi syndrome, Doose syndrome, and Dup15q syndrome.
How does CBD help in seizure control?
The term “endocannabinoid system” refers to the natural neurotransmitters and receptors in the human body. It is thought to control a wide range of biological functions and systems, such as the immune response, appetite, pain, and sleep. CBD has some effect on the body’s endocannabinoid system.
Clinical trials have shown that CBD can help make neurons less active. The substance may help protect brain cells from being “overstimulated” in a number of ways. CBD works on the brain’s G protein-coupled receptor 55 (GPR55). This receptor is the part of the brain that stops calcium from getting into cells. Thus, it slows down excitatory currents, which can cause seizures.
CBD oil for Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome
Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome are two types of rare epilepsy. Some doctors think that CBD could help treat Lennox-Gastaut syndrome incredibly well. The disorders usually show up in children, are hard to treat, and can cause a wide range of severe symptoms, such as seizures.
Epidiolex, which is an approved CBD isolate, is a medicine that some doctors recommend to help treat seizures caused by rare types of epilepsy. But the medicine’s constant dosage and concentration are highly vital since Epidiolex is 98% pure CBD.
Epilepsy patients have used different kinds of CBD and CBD oils to treat the symptoms of their illness and other health problems. But before using CBD products to help treat epilepsy or control seizures, talk to a qualified medical professional about your options first.
Does the FDA Approve CBD for Seizures?
Yes, but not all types of CBD oil or seizures fit into this group. Epidiolex is the only prescription drug that contains CBD currently approved to treat Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Dravet syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis complex-related epileptic seizures.
Over the past years, research has been done on how well a purified CBD works to treat epilepsy. These clinical trials led to the creation of Epidiolex, the first CBD prescription drug approved by the FDA to treat seizures in people over the age of two.
There are a lot of regulations and monitoring procedures on Epidiolex to ensure that the medicine only has pure CBD. Epidiolex has been shown to be an effective way to treat epilepsy and decrease seizure frequency, especially in epilepsy patients whose seizures do not respond to other medicines.
Since Epidiolex does not contain THC, this prescription CBD is the best one to use on a regular basis to treat seizures. Epidiolex also lets doctors treat patients with higher doses of CBD, which has been shown to be safe. This is in contrast to the effects of regularly taking high doses of THC, which need further research.
Suppose you or someone you know has Dravet Syndrome, Tuberous Sclerosis Complex, or Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, and you want to use this CBD oil to treat seizures. In that case, you should talk to an epilepsy professional about Epidiolex.
What Is the Average CBD Dosage to Treat Seizures?
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that children and adults with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome took 10 or 20 milligrams of CBD per kilogram of body weight daily in addition to their antiepileptic medicine and had lesser seizure frequency.
For Epidiolex, the recommended starting dose is 2.5 mg/kg, which should be given twice a day. The maximum amount recommended for maintenance is 10 mg/kg twice daily, while the average amount is 5 mg/kg twice daily. As with any other seizure medicine, this one should be started slowly. Changes that happen quickly can make seizures happen more often.
Since it can be difficult to figure out how much CBD oil to take, the quality of the oil is crucial. Also, if you want to use CBD to treat epilepsy or seizures, talk to your primary health physician about how much to take since it is vital to find the lowest effective dose.
How to Use CBD Oils to Treat Seizures
If you have a disorder that makes you have seizures, you should see a neurologist as soon as possible. Before starting a CBD treatment, it is essential to talk to your health physician about using CBD oil. Talking to your primary doctor about the pros and cons of using CBD for seizure control will help you figure out if CBD is ideal for your condition.
Even though CBD oils are usually safe to take, there is always a chance that they will interact badly with another drug. Thus, you should take CBD under the supervision of a trained professional, just like you would with any other seizure medicine.
CBD oil can be bought at health food stores and dispensaries, but not everywhere. Many companies are selling it to treat a wide range of illnesses, such as anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain. But Epidiolex is the only brand of CBD oil that the FDA has approved to treat seizures.
Putting one or two drops of CBD oil under the tongue (sublingual administration) is the best way for the body to take it in. If you do not like the taste, putting it in a glass of juice might make it easier for you. Check out some examples of CBD tinctures here.
How Does CBD Interact With Other Medications?
Even though CBD is a natural substance, there is always a chance that it could interact with other medicines. Before starting treatment with CBD, you should always talk to a doctor to ensure there won’t be any adverse effects.
CBD with other medications
There is a chance that CBD and other drugs used to treat epilepsy will not work together. Depending on the situation, this could either make the medicine work better or not work at all.
CBD does not work well with brivaracetam, clobazam, eslicarbazepine, valproic acid, stiripentol, rufinamide, topiramate, and zonisamide. There is also a chance that it interacts with other antiepileptic drugs.
If you drink grapefruit juice while taking certain medicines, like those that go through the CYP450 enzyme pathway, the medicine might not work as it should. Because of this, the labels of these medicines tell people not to drink grapefruit juice while taking them.
CBD with other herbs
People also need to be careful about how drugs and herbs work together. Changes in blood levels that are not monitored can be dangerous for people with liver or kidney disease.
The research that is being done on plant products and how they might interact with certain medicines is still in its early stages. But some information shows that CBD and other electrolytes that take the CYP450 pathway may interact with some herbs like:
- Milk thistle
- Ginkgo biloba
You are not recommended to use CBD instead of regular medicine unless your doctor tells you to. Your primary health physician can help you find the right amount of CBD and other medications you are already taking.
What Are the Possible Adverse Effects of CBD on Seizures?
When you use CBD, there is a chance that it will cause side effects. This is true whether CBD is used with other seizure drugs or on its own. Most of these side effects are temporary, but some could be bad for the liver.
All compounds that come from cannabis, including CBD, are broken down by the liver, which can cause the liver enzymes to rise to a level that could cause damage to the organ. Thus, patients who use CBD products to treat seizures should check their liver enzyme levels.
There is also a chance that the two drugs will not work well together. For example, the prescription drug Clobazam used to treat people with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, may interact with Epidiolex.
There are not too many risks of side effects that are directly caused by Epidiolex. But since it is an oil, it might give some people diarrhea. CBD use may also make you experience decreased appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue.
Talk to Your Doctor About CBD for Seizures
If you have treatment-resistant epilepsy or any other illness that causes seizures, talk to your doctor before taking CBD products. This will help you decide if it is right for you and will help with your condition. Proper monitoring should be done to ensure the safety and effectiveness of CBD for seizures.
Finding out about a new treatment for epilepsy and the idea that CBD oil could help treat seizures is very interesting. While recent research into CBD has made it possible to think of more ways to use it as an antiepileptic drug, the substance might not be the right one for everyone. Talk to your doctor to learn about possible drug interactions and different ways to treat seizures.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can CBD help with seizures?
CBD is a great way to help treat seizures and epilepsy. Studies have shown that it works similarly with commonly used antiepileptic drugs. However, there is a chance that it won’t work for everyone or all kinds of epilepsy.
In addition, while CBD has been shown to help treat seizures, it does not treat or cure the underlying cause of epilepsy. Some patients can completely stop having seizures or see a decrease in seizure frequency, but others do not notice any change.
Can CBD replace seizure medication?
Clinical studies are still being done to learn how CBD treats patients with epilepsy and seizures. Until we know more about how it works, it should not be seen as a replacement for traditional medicines. If you use CBD for seizures, work with your doctor to evaluate the results and keep track of any possible side effects.
What is CBD?
The cannabis plant contains two of the most prominent cannabinoids: CBD and THC. CBD does not have any psychoactive properties, while tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is responsible for making people feel “high.”
CBD is believed to help alleviate the symptoms of various illnesses. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Epidiolex, a brand of CBD oil, for treating people with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, Dravet Syndrome, or tuberous sclerosis complex.
Are CBD gummies good for epilepsy?
CBD has been shown to help decrease seizure frequency when taken as part of the patient’s treatment. However, no approved CBD gummies or CBD edibles are specifically used for treatment-resistant epilepsy. Epidiolex is the only prescription CBD drug approved by the FDA that can be used to treat rare types of epilepsy.
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