Is CBD Effective as an Anti-Seizure Treatment?
In a world that is increasingly looking towards natural alternatives to Western medicine, CBD is becoming a more popular solution. CBD (cannabidiol) is one of the active cannabinoids in the cannabis plant and is known for providing a number of health benefits for humans and animals. One very important benefit it offers is its ability to fight seizures. This article will take a closer look at CBD and its effectiveness as an anti-seizure remedy.
What is CBD?
CBD is one of the active cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. It is often associated with THC, another compound found in the cannabis plant. However, unlike THC, it does not cause any mind altering effects. Rather, it has been proven to be effective in the treatment of depression, pain, life threatening diseases, seizures and more.
What is a Seizure?
A seizure is defined as a sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain. It can cause changes in behavior, movements, feelings and levels of consciousness. If you tend to have recurrent seizures, you have epilepsy.
There are different types of seizures. They range in severity and vary according to where and how they begin in the brain. A seizure typically lasts anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Seizures that last longer than five minutes are considered a medical emergency.
Seizures can occur for a number of reasons. They can happen after a stroke, a head injury or a severe illness. Often the reason the seizure occurs is unknown.
If you have epilepsy, seizures can be controlled with medication. However, the management can still have a significant impact on your life as many medications bring on unpleasant side effects. CBD offers a natural solution with minimal side effects that can improve the quality of life for those that are dealing with epilepsy.
How Does CBD Work to Calm Seizures?
CBD is still being looked at as far as how it produces beneficial effects in the body. In the case of its treatment of seizures, no one is exactly sure how it works to calm these episodes. However, it appears to work on receptors that alter brain chemistry to reduce the chance of seizures.
Despite not having much knowledge as to exactly how CBD works to calm seizures, it clearly is effective. A number of studies have shown the compound to calm seizures in patients and recent breakthroughs have proven its success rate to be undeniable.
Studies Concerning CBD as an Anti-Seizure Remedy
Evidence concerning the effectiveness of CBD as an anti-seizure remedy has reached a real turning point in the last year or so. This is largely due to the completion of the first high quality placebo controlled trials of CBD in patients with Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, two extremely hard to treat forms of epilepsy. The results revealed that a dosage of 20mg/kg per day is superior to a placebo when added to the pre-existing AED treatment. Doses of 10mg/kg per day were given as well and were also shown to be effective and cause fewer side effects.
Another study looked at a group of 15 patients who received CBD over a period ranging from one month to a year. They found seizures to decrease in 40% of patient and completely disappear in 27% of patients. Patients also found an improvement in their ability to control their seizures as well as an improvement in mood, behavior, language, sleep and eating habits.
CBD has shown to be especially effective in the treatment of children suffering with epilepsy. One study of the effects they can have on children was conducted on a subject pool of 120 children and young adults dealing with Dravet syndrome.
The study lasted 14 weeks. During this time, subjects were given doses which were assigned according to their needs. Results showed that the rate of non-convulsive seizures did not change, but CBD treated convulsive seizures decreased from 12.4 to 5.9 percentage points. 5% of patients became seizure free.
It is important to note that most studies done have involved patients with Dravet and Lennox Gastaut Syndromes. Its not clear whether CBD would be as helpful in the treatment of other, more common forms of epilepsy. In fact, small clinical trials have so far found no benefits for people suffering with focal epilepsy, a form of epilepsy where seizures start on one side of the brain.
The effectiveness of CBD as an anti-seizure remedy can clearly be seen in the progress made by Texas teenager Tryston Pearson. Pearson experienced his first seizure at the age of 12, but his condition began to deteriorate rapidly as he got older. He was nauseous and vomiting and, because exercise brought on his seizures, he was forced to sit out on a good deal of physical activity at school.
His parents tried everything with no luck, until a new treatment became available in the form of a CBD based medication. Pearson only experienced one seizure since beginning his new treatment and his parents and teachers were so pleasantly surprised by his notable improvement, even the state had to take notice.
Due to Pearson’s improvements, the state of Texas has issued full licenses to three businesses in Texas that allow them to legally provide CBD oil to prescribed patients. Other doctors are slow to sign up for the program as they navigate the laws, but there are an increasing number of doctors in the state registering to become CBD oil prescribers.
Other Ways CBD is Gaining Momentum in Fighting Epilepsy
And Texas isn’t the only state increasing its recognition of CBD for its medicinal benefits. The Epilepsy Foundation in the United States is urging increased legal access and many cities and states are taking notice.
In Indianapolis, IN, a bill has passed senate that would allow the use of CBD oil to treat people with severe epilepsy. If the bill passed, those with treatment resistant epilepsy would be permitted to use the substance legally.
Canada is also getting on board pushing for the legal use of the compound. Recent developments there include the Cannabis Act that came into force on Oct. 17, 2018. Under the new act, the sale of cannabis oil, fresh cannabis, dried cannabis, cannabis plant seeds and cannabis plants have been legalized.
Possible Side Effects
It should be noted that CBD is not without side effects. Those involved in these studies did report side effects that ranged from fatigue and tiredness, and in studies of children, some reported fever and vomiting. While these are by no means, pleasant for patients, they can be compared with side effects that other antiepileptics provide. These can range from nausea, vomiting, depression and blurred vision to bone marrow or liver failure.
Note: If you are looking to CBD as an anti-seizure remedy, be sure to purchase a high quality product from a trusted source as this will ensure safe and effective treatment.
With recent studies showing CBD as being effective in the treatment of seizures, more people are taking notice and laws are starting to change. Hopefully, in time, CBD will emerge as a go to in the prevention of seizures improving the quality of life for those suffering with epilepsy worldwide.