How Does CBD Work For Epilepsy
Seizures are caused by changes in the electrical activity in your brain and can be from a range of causes such as brain infections, sleep deprivation, brain injury or an underlying condition like epilepsy. CBD is found in the cannabis plant and has been used for years to manage seizures, reduce anxiety and depression, control pain and much more. In this article, we will look at how CBD oil for epilepsy can help to reduce your symptoms and increase your overall wellbeing. We will also look into what exactly epilepsy is and the best way to take CBD to treat it.
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD oil comes from the cannabis plant which is made up of hundreds of different compounds with the most famous being CBD and THC. These compounds are found naturally in the resin of the cannabis plant.
THC is the psychoactive component found in cannabis and is responsible for the ‘high’ feeling you get after smoking cannabis. Meanwhile, CBD is a non-psychoactive component thought to be responsible for many of the medical benefits that are associated with cannabis. CBD has therefore been used medically and risen in popularity over the past few years as more and more people start to realise the potential of taking CBD regularly. Some of the benefits that people have experienced include:
- Reduced PTSD symptoms
- Pain relief
- Offset anxiety and depression
- Alleviated symptoms of ALS
- Prevent arthritis symptoms
One of the huge benefits that have been seen when researching the effects of CBD is that it is a great way to treat epilepsy seizures. There have been many successful studies around CBD and epilepsy which we will dive deeper into in this article.
Seizures & Epilepsy
Seizures are surges of electrical activity in the brain that occur at inappropriate times. There are many different reasons for seizures, with one of the most common being epilepsy.
Epilepsy is a condition that affects the brain. When someone has epilepsy, they tend to have epileptic seizures. The condition can start at any age and there are different types of the condition, some may have epilepsy for a limited time but for many, epilepsy is a life-long condition.
How Does CBD Oil For Epilepsy Work?
The human body contains a system of neurotransmitters and receptors called the endocannabinoid system. This system is thought to help regulate certain functions in your body such as sleep, pain, appetite, mood and your immune system response. CBD is thought to modify these functions by interacting with receptors in your endocannabinoid system with research suggesting that CBD’s antiseizure effects might come from reducing neuron excitability by acting on two groups of receptors: GPR55 and TRPV1.
There is currently a prescription drug using CBD called Epidolex which is approved by the FDA in the USA and has been recommended for use in the UK.
Is CBD Oil For Epilepsy Effective?
People have been using cannabis for centuries to treat epilepsy. The CBD found in cannabis has shown promising results through some studies around the world for its ability to control seizures.
Researchers are still not entirely sure how CBD affects seizures, but it’s thought that the compound helps to protect brain cells from becoming over excited in a few different ways.
Epidolex is an approved drug that contains CBD to treat three forms of epilepsy:
- Dravet Syndrome
- Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome
- Tuberous Sclerosis Complex
The medication has gone through several trials and showed a significant reduction in seizures for people with the above conditions.
It’s also possible that CBD oil purchased separately can have an effect on your condition. CBD oil also has a range of other benefits that could have an effect on your general wellbeing such as alleviating anxiety and depression and chronic pain which are often side effects of epilepsy. However, we always recommend speaking to your doctor first before using CBD oil not prescribed.
CBD And Epilepsy Research
Although there is still ongoing CBD and epilepsy research, the most rigorous studies have been performed on people with one of three seizure conditions. CBD may play a role in helping to reduce seizures in some cases. However, the research involved in CBD and epilepsy takes time and scientists are continuing with research in the USA and UK despite government regulations around cannabis.
CBD and epilepsy research has grown in the past couple of years thanks to the rescheduling of CBD studies, and newer research indicates that CBD products such as CBD oils, CBD edibles and CBD capsules may help treat certain groups of people with epilepsy. More research is needed for the dosage control or preparation of CBD in the majority of studies, so research will continue to explore this area.
Best Way to Use CBD Oil For Epilepsy
Before taking CBD oil for epilepsy, it’s important that you work with a doctor to treat your condition. Your doctor can help you determine if CBD will interact with any of your current medicines and if it’s safe for you to try. With CBD and epilepsy research showing that some people report more seizures after CBD, your doctor can help you to monitor your seizure frequency and determine if this route is best for you.
Both CBD and other antiepileptic drugs may increase your risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviours, although this is rare, you should consult your doctor if this happens to you or discuss this risk before starting your treatment.
Potential Side Effects of CBD and Epilepsy
The most common side effects of CBD and epilepsy include:
- Loss of appetite
If using CBD in conjunction with other medications, this could also increase your risk of liver damage, so speak with your doctor before taking CBD alongside your other medications.
In some studies, research has found that people experience more seizures after using CBD products, therefore it’s important to monitor your progress with your doctor and discuss any possible side effects that you could experience.