What’s the Best Way To Treat Epilepsy Seizures With CBD?
Are you, or is someone you love wondering how to use CBD oil to treat epilepsy or other seizure disorders? In this post, we’ll talk about how CBD helps reduce seizures and which delivery methods and product formulas CBD doctors recommend for treating epilepsy.
Epilepsy and other seizure disorders have been the bain of mankind since before we stood up on two legs. And for almost as long folks have been treating epilepsy with CBD oil. Although they weren’t aware of how or why the essential oils of cannabis reduced seizures. It wasn’t until marijuana was black-listed in the U.S. circa 1930’s that the practice was discontinued.
In one sense, we can all thank epilepsy patients for the fact that cannabis medicine is being brought back to life after three-quarters of a century. Today, epilepsy tops the list of qualifying conditions for obtaining a medical marijuana card in almost every state where patients have legal access to medical marijuana.
But you don’t need marijuana to get your CBD. Anyone can easily buy CBD oil online.
CBD oil is being produced en masse from a non-intoxicating category of cannabis cultivars known as hemp. Hemp containing 0.3% THC or less is legal in the U.S. as is CBD oil. Hemp buds look and smell just like marijuana buds but without the buzz.
And the coolest thing is that patients suffering from seizures caused by epilepsy or other seizure disorders are getting much of the same benefits from CBD oil as they might from medical marijuana. While CBD oil doesn’t provide some of the extra benefits of THC — the buzz-producing compounds in marijuana — there is a tradeoff.
CBD oil can be used without jumping through all the hoops and red tape, without having to worry about failing drug tests or getting a DUI, or without worrying if it can be brought onto a plane or driven across state lines, and so forth.
But does CBD oil really reduce seizures?
CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta was initially skeptical about the medical benefits of cannabis. He decided to look into the matter. He assumed that he would find that the claims were just hype. He was wrong.
Through his research, Dr. Gupta found reports of a young epilepsy patient whose parents claimed was seeing a notable reduction in the frequency and severity of her seizures. Dr. Gupta decided to pay her a visit. He was so impressed by the results that CNN ran a special report on the use of CBD to treat epilepsy and reduce seizures.
It was this report — the first credible story broadcast to a mass audience — that galvanized public and professional attitudes toward medical cannabis.
In addition to mountains of anecdotal evidence from patients who are seeing positive results with CBD oil, its efficacy in reducing seizures in some patients has actually been scientifically proven. We’ll include some links at the end of this article if you would like to delve into some of that evidence.
How does CBD oil reduce seizures?
What is CBD? Also known as cannabidiol, CBD is a biologically active compound produced in the flower clusters of the cannabis plant. CBD is just one of the scores of cannabinoids produced in the cannabis plant.
Cannabinoids were given their name because they came from the cannabis plant. However, while researching the biological mechanisms of CBD scientists discovered something amazing. The human body also produces cannabinoid-like compounds of its own that interact with a vast system of receptors found on the surface of cells. Scientists dubbed the system the endocannabinoid system or just ECS for short. The “endo” prefix just means that it’s part of human anatomy. The job of the ECS is to balance a wide array of bodily functions.
Research has shown that some of us don’t produce enough endocannabinoids — including many epilepsy patients. This is a state known appropriately as endocannabinoid deficiency. It was discovered that CBD has the ability to mimic the effects of certain endocannabinoids to some extent and to play a role in modulating chemical and electrical signals in the brain.
During epileptic seizures, signals in the brain begin to propagate out of control. Some patients — not all — find that CBD very quickly tames the brain and brings it back into balance. Moreover, supplementing with CBD on a daily basis has been shown to help reduce the frequency and severity of seizures.
The exact mechanism by which CBD affects the ECS which in turn affects the brain is still a bit of a mystery. But we do see a correlation and we’re learning more every day about how CBD reduces seizures.
How do epilepsy patients use CBD oil to treat seizures?
In order for CBD to reach the brain, it must first enter the bloodstream. Short of outright injecting it, the fastest methods for this are smoking hemp flower, vaping CBD-infused vape oil, using CBD oil tinctures, and eating CBD-infused edibles or capsules — in that order. There are also other options such as patches and inhalers although they are a lot less common.
Which of these products is the best choice depends on the patient and whether or not the patient is currently experiencing a seizure. In the throes of an epileptic episode, you can’t expect a patient to smoke, vape, or eat CBD edibles. This leaves CBD tinctures, CBD oils, and CBD concentrates. These products can be applied by a caregiver by using a dropper or dosing syringe to squirt the tincture into the patient’s mouth. There, the CBD can be absorbed directly into the blood through the vessel-rich tissue under the tongue.
Tinctures can also be used for daily supplementation When the patient is not experiencing seizures, as can any of the other types of CBD products. While CBD-infused edibles might take up to an hour to kick in their effects are longer lasting making edibles ideal for use prior to bedtime.
Which CBD oil products are best for treating epilepsy?
So which CBD products are best for treating epilepsy. There are hundreds of options. There are products that contain what’s called full-spectrum CBD oil [hemp extract]. There are products that contain purified CBD without all the other compounds found in cannabis flowers. These are known as CBD isolates. And there are products that are made with CBD plus added active ingredients, aka broad-spectrum CBD oil.
Unfortunately, the answer as to which of these CBD products is the best option for epilepsy patients isn’t easily answerable. Everyone’s ECS reacts differently to CBD and the other active compounds in these products. Effective dosage also varies depending on the delivery method and even from patient to patient. While some see results from as little as five to ten milligrams, others might need much higher dosages. Because of this, some experimentation might be in order.
Some experts believe that the full-spectrum herbal extract is the best option because it contains other compounds that work together to produce what’s known as an entourage effect. Others feel that these full-spectrum and broad-spectrum products don’t provide predictable results and recommend that patients use products that contain only purified CBD.
There is a drug that has been approved by the FDA called Epidiolex which contains purified CBD. In order to be approved by the FDA, this drug had to undergo multiple clinical trials to prove its effectiveness and safety. Since then CBD has been legalized and Epidiolex is now available without a prescription.
The best advice when determining how to treat epilepsy with CBD oil is to talk to an expert in the use of CBD to treat seizure disorders and see what they recommend. Epilepsy is a serious medical condition that can cause death. It’s not to be trifled with. Patients really need to consult with qualified professionals.
Short of that, doctors advise patients to start with the smallest dosage. If there are no adverse effects then the dosage can be increased until the desired benefits are achieved. Taking more CBD than needed does not improve results, it only wastes money.
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Sources And Additional Reading:
Here are a few of the research reports we mentioned: