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How CBD may help your epileptic seizures

  • 4 min read
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  • Updated 238 days ago
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CBD is getting increasingly popular due to its benefits for various health disorders. Epilepsy is one such condition where CBD is seen to help.

But is it really helpful?

Let’s understand what research says!

What is Epilepsy?

According to the World Health Association, Epilepsy affects more than 50 million people across the world.Epilepsy is defined as a neurological disorder caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain that causes:

  • Convulsions
  • Loss of or altered consciousness
  • Declined cognitive ability

However, epilepsy isn’t just one disease. It is the name of a group of syndromes and diseases, which induces varioustypes and intensity of seizures.

Although people have been using CBD to epilepsy since ages, research about its use has been carried out only recently.

Here is what research says

What Is CBD?

CBD (cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid extracted from the hemp plant. Not to be confused with THC in marijuana, cannabidiol doesn’t cause you to feel “high”, according to Harvard Health Blog. There are no psychoactive effects in CBD itself, so there is no chance of abuse or dependency.

Most vertebrates, including humans, have an endocannabinoid system throughout the body that produces cannabinoids called CB1 and CB2. CBD stimulates the body to produce more of its own cannabinoids.

  • CB1 is found in the brain and is connected to pain, coordination, emotions, appetite and cognitive abilities
  • CB2 is found in the immune system and is tied with pain and inflammation.
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Image from medicalcannabisoutreach.com

CBD and Epilepsy

There are two forms of Epilepsy in particular that have benefitted from the properties of CBD - Lennox Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome.

Lennox Gastaut Syndrome

LGS is a type of developmental disorder which is diagnosed in early childhood. Characterized by various types of seizures that tend to vary in intensity, many cases of LGS are resistant to most epilepsy medications and are often coupled with cognitive and physical side effects, as well.

Lennox Gastaut Syndrome is one of only two forms of Epilepsy approved to be treated by Epidiolex, the only FDA approved CBD based medication.

Dravet Syndrome

Dravet Syndrome is the only other form of epilepsy that can be treated with Epidiolex.

Dravet Syndrome is characterized by multiple types of seizures, including seizures induced by high fevers in children and is also diagnosed in early childhood. Dravet Syndrome also causes both cognitive and behavior difficulties.

Angelman Syndrome

CBD is commonly used for sleep problems and neurological conditions. According to the UNC School of Medicine researchers, the cannabidiol may also stabilize the brain rhythms and alleviate seizures in Angelman syndrome – a rare neurodevelopmental disorder.

Angelman syndrome is characterized by a lack of speech, brain rhythm dysfunction, intellectual disability, and drug-resistant epilepsy.

A research conducted on animal models with Angelman syndrome was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, which conveyed CBD could benefit adults and kids with this rare condition.

The research included systematic monitoring of CBD effects on motor deficits, seizures, and abnormal brain activities, as suggested by electroencephalogram (EEG).

What Does Research Say?

According to a study by the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information), CBD has shown to help reduce seizures and their intensity.It has also been shown to have antidepressant, antipsychotic, and neuroprotective properties.

They believe CBD also has incredible anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

The NCBI found cannabidiol to be safe and effective in reducing the number of seizures, their intensity, and the effects after the seizure in infants, children, and teenagers.

Final Thoughts

Cannabinoids hold a lot of interest within the scientific community, and much more research needs to be done. But one thing is very clear that CBD holds untapped potential and aids in the treatment of seizures and their side effects. To ignore that fact would mean ignoring the possibility of cures and treatments for conditions we always thought were without a cure, just like different forms of epilepsy.

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