How CBD Makes Epilepsy More Tolerable
Epilepsy is a common brain condition mainly characterized by recurrent seizures. The chronic neurological disorder affects almost 3.4 million people in the United States. Generally, epilepsy results from abnormal brain activity.
Even though it is such a prevalent condition, no cure exists. However, there are multiple ways to manage it. Some anecdotal evidence and research suggest that CBD can help ease the symptoms associated with epilepsy.
Read on to discover how CBD makes epilepsy more tolerable for patients.
What is Cannabidiol?
CBD or cannabidiol is a byproduct of hemp, a plant belonging to the Cannabis Sativa family. It has a broad scope across multiple industries, including skincare, hair care, and wellness. Above all else, it has a vast application in treating neurological disorders, including epilepsy.
The hemp plant produces multiple compounds besides CBD, but we will only cover the benefits of CBD for seizures caused by epilepsy.
But first, let’s look at some notable facts regarding CBD:
- CBD is non-toxic
- It can’t make you feel high, unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
- CBD containing 0-0.3% THC from the hemp plant is legal
- It interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system
How CBD Makes Epilepsy More Tolerable?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a CBD-based drug called Epidolex for treating and managing epilepsy. It is a remarkable achievement for the CBD market, considering cannabidiol is still not fully explored.
Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, two forms of epilepsy, were initially treated with Epidolex. However, later, it also proved to be beneficial for the treatment of tuberous sclerosis, which is another condition that causes seizures.
It is essential to note that epilepsy and tuberous sclerosis are both prevalent in children and teens; the drug is medically prescribed to them by doctors. It highlights CBD’s safety and effectiveness, primarily because of its use for children.
How FDA Gives Approval
It is essential to understand the FDA approval process. Instead of conducting testing or clinical trials, the FDA only reviews the results provided by the manufacturer.
The manufacturer conducts labs and animal and human testing. FDA reviews the results. If the benefits of a product are more significant than the risks, the FDA approves.
Note: Even though Epidolex is FDA-approved, associated risks with the drug’s use still exist.
CBD for Epilepsy
Even though Epidolex contains CBD, it does not produce the same effects as commercially produced CBD.
The manufacturing standards of Epidolex are much higher because the FDA regulates the pharmaceutical drug. However, commercial CBD does not have any regulatory authorities. However, purchasing an organically certified CBD is the closest you can get to the purest form of cannabidiol.
But according to some studies, rather than only using pure CBD, cannabis enriched with CBD proved to be more effective in preventing seizure episodes in epilepsy patients.
However, whether THC should become an integral part of epilepsy treatment is still not concluded. Only more clinical evidence can prove whether or not a combo of THC and CBD for seizures is a viable solution.
The main concern with THC is its psychoactive properties, which may get addicting, particularly when used in large quantities.
Regardless of whether you use a combination of THC and CBD, Epidolex, or pure CBD for epilepsy, always consult your doctor before use.
How to Use CBD for Seizures
There are different ways to use CBD to reduce seizures in epilepsy patients. Let’s first look at the recommended dosage of Epidolex for seizures.
Rather than being a pill, Epidolex is a liquid consumed orally. Therefore, the dosage can vary depending on the severity of the symptoms and the patient’s body weight. Generally, the starting dose is 2.5 milligrams per kilogram twice daily. However, the quantities can increase with regular use, but they should not exceed 10 milligrams per kilogram (twice daily).
But Epidolex is expensive, and most insurance doesn’t cover its costs. In such cases, patients opt for store-bought CBD.
Most commonly, commercial CBD is available in the form of gummies or tinctures. But self-medication is not recommended. Always ask your doctor for the recommended dosage, even when using commercial CBD products.
Potential Risks Associated with CBD Use
Common adverse effects associated with CBD use include:
- Loss in appetite
Moreover, when we talk specifically about CBD for epilepsy, in one particular research, the patients suffered from increased episodes of seizures. However, it is essential to note that the patient was administered CBD infused with THC. Therefore, whether the reaction resulted from CBD, THC, or a combination of both is unclear. Some evidence also suggests that CBD affects liver function.
It is also worth noting that CBD can interact with other medications, leading to adverse reactions. If an epilepsy patient is already on anti-epileptic drugs, do not start using CBD without a medical prescription or the doctor’s permission. In addition, CBD is not recommended for use alongside drugs with grapefruit warning. Any healthcare provider or pharmacist can assist you in understanding which drugs have grapefruit warnings.
The Bottom Line
How CBD makes epilepsy more tolerable depends on the patient’s condition. Generally, Epidolex, a CBD-infused medicine, is the most effective at treating seizures resulting from epilepsy. While store-bought CBD helps, studies suggest that THC infusion offers increased benefits.
But the side effects are still a problem as Epidolex can affect liver function. Moreover, excessive use of THC can be addictive, becoming a problem in the later stages of life. But pure CBD for epilepsy requires more research and evidence to prove its benefits. Hopefully, in the next few years, the use of CBD for seizures will become more prevalent.