According to the Epilepsy Foundation, epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder and is classified as a spectrum condition as an individual can experience a wide range of seizure types . These seizures are unpredictable, chronic, and are accompanied by a range of health issues.
Unfortunately, millions of individuals suffer from the condition and it makes maintaining a career, preparing food, or doing daily tasks extremely difficult. Epilepsy occurs when there is a misfiring of irregular electrical discharges in the brain which results in convulsions and a loss of consciousness. With the legalization of CBD oil and medical marijuana in some U.S. states, sufferers of the condition are finding relief when their anticonvulsant medications have failed or have caused innumerable side effects. Here is what you need to know about CBD oil for epilepsy and how it helps safely control seizures in epileptic patients.
How CBD Oil for Epilepsy Helps
How Does CBD Oil Impact The Brain of Seizure Patients?
The marijuana plant has more than eighty-five different cannabinoid compounds. Out of these chemical compounds, there are two that are extremely recognizable. The first is THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the compound that causes you to feel high, and the second is CBD which is the compound that has anticonvulsant properties. Beyond these properties, CBD oil is also an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and is neuroprotective.
The oil helps reduce seizures by interacting with neuron receptors in the brain, including the dopamine receptors, serotonin receptors, and the opioid receptors. This allows the individual to receive pain relief, have regulated cognitive behavior, and generally, have better overall mental well-being. Scientifically, CBD oil for epilepsy interacts and impacts the following neurons in the brain:
• Modulation of the nucleoside transporter,
• Orphan G-protein-coupled protein receptors,
• Transient receptors of melastatin type 8 channel,
• An agonist of the 5-HT1a, a3 and a1 glycine receptors,
• Transient receptors potential of the ankyrin type 1
In higher concentrations, CBD can increase the potential of the TRPV1 and TRPV2 channels and inhibit the degradation of anandamide. Beyond this, CBD oil has been noted to modulate Ca2+ concentration and even inhibit T-type calcium channels. To put this plainly, CBD oil in varying dosages will stimulate the activity levels of specific neurons within the brain which, in turn, help to reduce and safely control seizure amounts.
What Are The Benefits of Taking CBD Oil for Seizures?
As numerous studies have suggested, individuals can expect to have a decreased number of seizures per week and will have fewer side effects when taking it in place of their pharmaceutical grade anticonvulsants. Clinical trials suggest that CBD oil for epilepsy can help with the treatment process of Dravet Syndrome and Lennox Gastaut Syndrome.
Currently, Epidiolex, a CBD extract produced by Greenwich Biosciences has been used in clinical trials with significant results for both adults and children who have Lennox Gastaut Syndrome who saw a massive drop in seizure frequency (Epilepsy Foundation). For those suffering from Dravet Syndrome who have drug-resistant seizures, clinical trials show that Epidiolex resulted in a decreased number of convulsive seizures but was associated with higher rates of adverse events3.
Should You Pursue CBD Oil/Medical Cannabis for Seizures?
For individuals who are not responding well to conventional treatments, it is not unreasonable to consider taking CBD oil for epilepsy in small amounts to find some relief. It is important to note that although CBD oil is extracted from a plant, it can have interactions with other medications including anti-seizure medications when it is broken down in the liver. Both valproic acid (VPA) and clobazam (Onfi) are known to interact with CBD oil causing an increase in liver enzymes and tiredness.