CBD and Seizures

epileptic woman sleeping

Cannabidiol (CBD) is now commonly being used for improving anxiety, pain, sleep issues, and many other neurological disorders. Researchers now think it just might alleviate seizures, the main symptom of epilepsy.

Epilepsy is a type of neurological disorder. Symptoms of seizures may include:

  • A staring spell
  • Temporarily confused
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Uncontrolled leg and arm jerking
  • Sudden rapid eye motion

Seizures are a sign and symptom of epilepsy, but not all individuals who are experiencing seizures, experience epilepsy.

How Seizures Affect Quality of Life

One report published by UCB showed epilepsy can be linked with psychological, physical, and social consequences. Its effect on an individual's quality of life can be greater than certain chronic disorders.

The Epilepsy Foundation states seizures during the nighttime can wake individuals up, or interrupt their sleep, so they're not obtaining the quality sleep they require. Their brains might be missing certain essential sleep cycles. Because of this, a person who experiences many seizures during the night might have difficulty functioning during the day. They might also experience chronic sleep deprivation, and have more seizures throughout the day.

Can CBD Help With Seizures?

First, know there's only one CBD-based medication for epilepsy the FDA approves currently. This is Epidiolex.

Initially, the FDA approved using Epidiolex for treating a couple of rare types of epilepsy: Dravet syndrome, and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome in individuals two and older. However, in 2020, the FDA approved Epidiolex for individuals one and older. The FDA also approved Epidiolex for treating another rare seizure condition - tuberous sclerosis complex.

Because seizure conditions often impact kids and teens, doctors usually prescribe Epidiolex for kids with epilepsy.

How CBD Works For Seizures

It's not totally clear how CBD is able to decrease some forms of seizures. It's known to produce a range of biochemical effects on the brain's nerve cells, some which might have an effect on seizures. CBD medical research is still within its earlier stages.

CBD oil might help treat some symptoms of epilepsy and seizure symptoms, though most individuals prefer using the isolated CBD compound as a type of treatment.

Seizures are electrical brain activity surges that occur at various inappropriate times. Epilepsy and other underlying disorders can cause seizures.

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, around 30% of individuals with epilepsy have trouble controlling their symptoms with standard treatment methods. They might want to consult with their physician about the use of CBD for seizures.

While Epidiolex is the only CBD-based drug approved by the FDA, there are other CBD products like edibles and oils that are legal in the U.S., provided they have less than 0.3% THC in them. In recent years, research on CBD products for epilepsy has grown, and there are newer studies now supporting the claim CBD products may really help certain groups of individuals with epilepsy. But, the preparate, or dosage of CBD, in most of the studies weren't controlled by the researchers, therefore they must continue exploring this area.

Other Studies on CBD for Seizures

The Journal of Clinical Investigation published research showing researchers systematically tested CBD's beneficial impact on things like:

  • Motor deficits
  • Seizures
  • Brain activity abnormalities

They measured these by EEG in genetically modeled Angelman syndrome mice, expecting this data could guide eventual clinical use.

What the researchers found was one CBD injection significantly reduced seizure severity in mice after the seizures were triggered experimentally by loud sounds, or elevated body temperature. A 100 mg/kg anti-convulsant CBD dose caused mild sedation in the mice, but didn't have much effect on balance or motor coordination. The CBD did restore the normal brain rhythms, which Angelman syndrome commonly impairs.

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