There is ongoing research in this area but cannabidiol (CBD) is thought to work by interacting positively with the body’s intricate brain neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids that respond to our immune system, but also to sleep, pain, hunger, and thirst.
Because epilepsy seizures start in the brain, there have been positive results in tests done to measure the prevalence of seizures in people who take CBD products to manage them.
Is CBD the same as Medicinal Cannabis?
The short answer is no.
Marijuana, as a plant, contains both CBD and THC.
CBD is just one component (of hundreds) of the marijuana plant and doesn’t contain THC, or contains very small trace amounts.
THC is the potent psychoactive component that gets you ‘high’.
In the UK, you can legally buy an over-the-counter CBD product that contains less than 0,2% THC. This is not enough to have any effect.
Medical marijuana uses both compounds to treat specific health issues and therefore is not limited to the volume of CBD or THC it contains. It cannot be bought over the counter and is difficult to obtain and legally carry on you, as medication.
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a chronic disorder that presents as unprovoked, repeated seizures.
It affects 1 in 4 people and is the fourth most common neurological disorder hallmark repeated seizures.
According to the World Health Organization, epilepsy affects more than 50 million people worldwide.
A person with epilepsy may be diagnosed if they have one or more seizures that are not caused by any other obvious trigger, such as low blood sugar.
In some instances, the seizures can be brought on by a brain injury or family history, but in most cases, there is no obvious medical or external cause.
While a seizure may affect any part of the body, the origin of the “short-circuiting” currents occurs in the brain. These electrical events determine the type of seizure depending on where it starts, how long the seizure lasts and how much of the brain is affected by it.
Can CBD help with Epilepsy?
Research into the effects of CBD on epilepsy and managing seizures is ongoing. But there have been positive results in its effects, especially in children but also in adults. Studies are being done on the extent to which CBD is able to reduce the number of seizures in a person with some form of epilepsy.
According to Epilepsy Society “…the reason the (British Paediatric Neurological Society) is only recommending CBD is that there is some evidence to show that this newly developed drug can be effective in reducing some type of seizures in Dravet and Lennox Gastaut syndromes.
Three double-blind randomised controlled trials of pure CBD in children and young people with these syndromes have shown a greater reduction in monthly seizures compared to placebos. There was also a greater reduction in drop seizures in people taking CBD compared to those on a placebo. Further open-label studies have shown that it may also have an anti-epileptic effect in the epilepsies in general.”
What type of CBD should you take for epilepsy?
CBD cannot be taken with some other medications and is only recommended as a trial if another seizure medication has not worked. Always speak to your doctor before trying CBD products for epileptic seizures. Your doctor can help prescribe the correct dosage for the types of seizure, and carefully monitor testing of different strengths and quantities of the CBD oil. Always ensure that you are aware of where your CBD oil comes from, and what it consists of. For your safety, only buy from FDA approved suppliers of cannabidiol products.