One of the chronic diseases for which CBD oil is deemed useful and effective is epilepsy. In 2017, this illness affected an estimated 50 million people. But how does CBD oil help people suffering from epilepsy?
What is a seizure?
It is important to understand what a seizure is. This illness occurs when there is dysregulation in the electrical activity of the brain and repeated firing of neurons. A seizure is the physical or behavioral change after the brain experiences episodes of abnormal electrical activities.
Epilepsy causes seizures and can affect people in various ways. Some people experience mild symptoms without shaking. Also, the term seizure is used interchangeably with convulsions.
It is common for patients with epilepsy to be prescribed with more than one anticonvulsant medication. The problem with taking these pharmaceuticals is that they are most often relatively ineffective and have several adverse effects. Also, reports revealed that about 30% of patients with epilepsy are resistant to conventional drug treatments. Perhaps, these are three of the reasons many patients seek for an alternative like CBD.
What is CBD?
Cannabis contains more than 100 chemical compounds. the two most notable cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis. This is what makes people feel “high.” According to the Home Office, its legal limit is 0.2%.
On the other hand, CBD is non-psychoactive. And several studies have shown it is an effective mean of reducing seizure.
CBD HAS anticonvulsant properties which makes it capable of working on different targets. Examples of these targets are calcium ion channels, sodium ion channels, glutamate receptor antagonists, and GATA system and receptor antagonists.
Now, CBD’s anticonvulsant properties affect how these neurotransmitters send messages and attach to neurons. As a result, the cell’s activity is changed by switching how ions flow in and out of the neurons.
CBD for seizure
There is good evidence that CBD is beneficial for specific kinds of epilepsy, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox Gastaut syndrome. In fact, in 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex, a CBD-based oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with the two rare and severe forms of seizures mentioned above. The drug is recommended for patients as young as 2 years old.
Epidiolex made history being the first FDA-approved drug that contains CBD or a marijuana-derived substance. It is also the first FDA-approved drug for the treatment of Dravet syndrome.
Another study looked into the results of three therapy trials, which involved purified CBD. The results revealed that the adjunctive use of CBD has improved patients’ seizure control with specific epilepsy syndromes. However, high doses are needed.
In addition, a decade-long study by researchers of the Virginia Commonwealth University noted that CBD is able to provide benefits that are not usually found in traditional drug treatments. The team was first to provide proof that CBD can decrease seizures by activating the CB1 receptors of the brain. These receptors are found in the nervous system, particularly in the memory-related region.
The World Health Organization declared CBD to be generally well tolerated and considered safe. The usual side effects include fatigue and loss of appetite.
Also, CBD is known to interact with other medications and herbal supplement. Make sure that you consult your doctor first before using CBD.
People suffering from epilepsy may benefit from using CBD against seizures. The results of the studies suggest that CBD is a safe and natural treatment for different health issues like seizures. However, there are still so much that needs to be learned about CBD, including its efficacy and safety.