CBD and Seizures
Posted on April 5th, 2023 to CBD Products
What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, has become increasingly popular in recent years as a potential treatment for various medical conditions. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural compound in the cannabis plant. Manufacturers often derive CBD hemp plants instead of marijuana plants because the laws surrounding hemp are less stringent.
CBD and all other cannabinoids interact with our bodies by hijacking our endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is a complex cell signaling system that plays a role in regulating a variety of physiological processes, including mood, appetite, pain perception, and immune function. It consists of a network of receptors, called CB1 and CB2, located throughout the body, as well as endocannabinoids, which are compounds produced by the body that binds to these receptors to regulate our bodies.
A seizure occurs when there is an abnormal electrical discharge in the brain, leading to a sudden, temporary disruption in normal brain function. This can cause a range of symptoms, including convulsions, loss of consciousness, and changes in behavior or mood.
There are many different types of seizures, each with its own unique set of symptoms and triggers. Various factors, such as head injuries, genetics, infections, and brain tumors, can contribute to the onset of seizures. Most of the time, the precise cause of a seizure is unknown. Some people may experience only one seizure in their lifetime, while others may have them regularly. Epilepsy is frequently diagnosed in individuals who experience recurrent seizures. Pets such as cats and dogs, and any animal with a brain, can experience seizures.
Traditional Seizure Treatments vs CBD
For many years, the primary treatment for seizures has been anticonvulsant medication. These medications work by suppressing abnormal electrical activity in the brain, helping to prevent seizures from occurring. There are many different types of anticonvulsants, and the medication prescribed will depend on the type of seizures a person is experiencing.
While anticonvulsants can be effective in managing seizures, they can also have side effects. Some people experience dizziness, fatigue, or nausea, while others may have more serious side effects, such as liver damage or depression. Additionally, some people do not respond well to traditional seizure medications.
Human research on CBD and epilepsy in humans started in the 1970’s, but not until recently did the FDA approve CBD to treat seizure disorders. Research has shown CBD has anticonvulsant properties, which has led to an interest in its use as a seizure treatment. In fact, the only FDA-approved CBD medication, Epidiolex, is for two rare forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Research showed that Epidiolex significantly reduces drop seizures in people with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. Drop seizures, formally known as atonic seizures, cause a sudden loss of muscle strength. This can cause the person to fall to the ground, risking injury.
Research shows CBD is effective in treating seizures resistant to medication. Evidence shows CBD can reduce the severity of seizures. CBD also has the potential to treat seizures in animals. It is theorized one reason CBD can reduce seizures is by increasing serotonin levels. This is why many say that CBD may be a mood booster and a treatment for depression.
Other Cannabinoids That May Help
Researchers have demonstrated that numerous cannabinoids possess anticonvulsant properties. Although many cannabinoids have been shown to exhibit anticonvulsant effects, researchers have not yet fully comprehended the specific mechanisms underlying these effects, and further investigation is necessary to achieve a more definitive understanding.
Other cannabinoids besides CBD that have potential positive effects on treating seizures. There is evidence that CBG is also an anticonvulsant that may help with seizures. There is even preliminary research suggesting that CBG may be able to mitigate the side effects of some traditional antiepileptic drugs. THC has been shown to have both anticonvulsant and proconvulsant properties, and more research is needed to determine if THC has any benefit to treating epilepsy.
Research shows CBN to be effective in reducing seizures, maybe even more so than CBD.
Potential Risks of CBD
While CBD is generally considered safe, there can be side effects such as dizziness, dry mouth, or changes in appetite. CBD may also interact with other medications including some antiseizure medications. Patients should ask their doctor before adding CBD to their regimen, or replacing an existing medication with CBD.
How Do I Take CBD?
Patients who want to effectively treat seizures should take CBD as a tincture, an edible oil. This is because seizures require very high doses of CBD, and other methods like smoking, vaping, gummies, and topicals don’t allow the body to absorb as much CBD. When using tinctures, we recommend holding the oil for thirty to sixty seconds before swallowing. This will allow the oil to absorb under the tongue and activate within thirty minutes. It will also allow a higher dose to reach the bloodstream.
If patients want to use CBD to treat epilepsy effectively, they must take CBD in high doses. The dosing ranges from 5-30 mg/kg/day depending on the age of the patient. It is best to consult with your doctor to figure out the right dose for you.
Curious About CBD?
If you’re new to buying CBD, it can be overwhelming, but don’t worry – Hempeutics Pharmacy is here to help. Our team offers complimentary consultations and follow-up appointments with our pharmacist, Dr. Peggy, to ensure you find the right product and dosage for your specific needs. Dr. Peggy makes custom CBD formulas for patients with seizures at a lower cost. She adjusts the strength and ingredients of the formula to fit the patient’s needs. Dr. Peggy includes additional cannabinoids such as CBG and CBN in custom formulas to increase strength and quality.