Cannabidiol (CBD) has gained a lot of media attention as of late, and it can’t seem to get out of the news cycle. With so much talk about this chemical compound, people are starting to wonder if there could be some connection between CBD and epilepsy.
The answer to that question isn’t exactly clear yet, but it may not be too far away from being discovered. This article explores the findings that have been made in regards to CBD and epilepsy as well as some of the questions that remain unanswered, at least at this point in time.
What is epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes recurrent, often unprovoked seizures. It affects people of all ages but is most commonly diagnosed in children. Epilepsy can be caused by genetic factors, head injuries, or brain diseases.
There is no cure for epilepsy, but treatment can help control seizures. Medications are the first line of treatment, followed by surgery if necessary.
Lamotrigine is an antiepileptic drug (AED) that slows the rate at which nerve cells in the brain fire. In 2006, the FDA approved its use as adjunctive therapy in adults with partial-onset seizures who have seizure frequency greater than one per day on average.
The efficacy of lamotrigine was initially studied among patients whose epilepsy was thought to be related to mesial temporal lobe sclerosis, so it may not work as well for other types of epilepsies.
There are also risks associated with taking this medication, including depression, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, fever, rash, and more. However, if you’ve been struggling to manage your epilepsy without success then talk to your doctor about this option.
What are cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are chemicals found in the cannabis plant. The two best-known cannabinoids are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). THC is the cannabinoid that gets you high while CBD does not have psychoactive effects.
Both THC and CBD have been shown to have medical benefits. THC has been shown to reduce nausea, relieve pain, and improve appetite. CBD has also been found to help with pain, anxiety, psychosis, seizures, and convulsions.
Some studies show it can also help with insomnia, diabetes-related symptoms, and cancer treatment side effects. CBD interacts with many different receptors including vanilloid, serotonin, adenosine, and glycine receptors.
Most of these interactions result in inhibition or activation of other brain functions such as blood pressure regulation, anti-inflammatory processes, or mood regulation. There are no reported adverse events from taking CBD alone.
Combining CBD with THC may result in a lowered effect of one or both substances. The limited research available on combining these two substances suggests that they should be taken separately for therapeutic purposes.
What happens in the brain during seizures?
Seizures are caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. This can cause changes in behavior, body movement, and consciousness. In some cases, seizures can be life-threatening. Seizures typically last for a few seconds to a few minutes.
During a seizure, people may lose consciousness and fall to the ground. They may shake uncontrollably or become stiff as if rigor mortis had set in. Some people drool or foam at the mouth during a seizure.
The tongue might stick out of their mouth, and they might make chewing motions without actually eating anything. They may also experience difficulty breathing or vomiting.
Afterward, they may not remember what happened while they were having the seizure. A person experiencing a grand mal (a type of generalized) seizure will generally have lost consciousness while convulsing and remain unaware following the event.
Someone with a petit mal seizure might feel tingling sensations on one side of their body but retain awareness of the environment around them.
Postictal confusion is the term used to describe how people often feel confused and dazed after coming out of a seizure, but this is normal and it should go away within an hour or two.
How might cannabinoids help epileptic patients?
The cannabinoids in CBD oil may help to reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in epileptic patients by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This system regulates many functions in the body, including mood, appetite, pain, and memory.
CBD may also help to protect the brain from damage caused by seizures. A 2014 study showed that cannabidiol protected against seizure-induced cell death and (neurodegeneration) in vitro, suggesting its potential as an antiepileptic drug.
Cannabinoids have shown significant anti-convulsant effects in animal models of epilepsy. For example, some researchers believe that they can halt seizures by binding to CB1 receptors and blocking neurotransmitter release.
Other studies have shown that CBD can inhibit glutamate release in rats with epilepsy.
Are there side effects of using CBD oil with epilepsy patients?
CBD oil is generally considered safe, but there are some potential side effects that may occur. These include drowsiness, dry mouth, diarrhea, changes in appetite, and fatigue.
It is important to talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement, especially if you have a medical condition like epilepsy. If your doctor approves, the best way to go about taking CBD is through oral consumption.
You can either add it to food or drink or take it as oil by placing drops under the tongue.
The recommended dosage of CBD for people with epilepsy is somewhere between 25-50 mg per day. As with all medications, you should consult with your physician before beginning treatment for any illness or condition including seizures/epilepsy.
Your doctor will prescribe the right dosage for you, which could be anywhere from 25-50mg of CBD per day.
The bottom line is that more research is needed to determine whether or not CBD is an effective treatment for epilepsy. However, there are many people who believe in its potential and have seen positive results.
If you or someone you know is considering trying CBD, be sure to do your own research and consult with a healthcare professional to make sure it’s the right decision. In some cases, epileptic seizures may become worse when taking CBD.
It is important to speak with a doctor before using any type of cannabis product. One such case includes Charlotte Figi, a 5-year-old girl from Colorado Springs, Colorado who had been suffering from severe seizures since she was three months old.
Her parents tried numerous pharmaceutical drugs without success until they learned about cannabis oil made from high-cannabidiol (CBD) marijuana strains called Charlotte’s Web.
The girl began using the oil daily and her seizures were reduced by 99%. She now has only two or three minor seizures per month.
Other children who use this strain of medical marijuana have also experienced significant seizure reduction as well as other benefits like increased alertness, better moods, and improved sleep.