How Effective Is CBD Oil for Seizures & Epilepsy
The buzz around CBD has opened up an entirely new world for medicine! While it is effective for many symptoms, CBD oil for seizures has shown incredible results.
There is so much research that the FDA recently approved an epilepsy medication that’s based on cannabidiol. This is the first medical use of a cannabis-related substance in history!
In this post, we’ll give you an introduction to CBD and its use for treating seizures.
What Is Cannabidiol?
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is one of the many cannabinoids naturally found in cannabis. It’s different from THC — the cannabinoid that gets you high. CBD doesn’t get you high because it stimulates different receptors throughout the body. Instead, CBD hemp oil for seizures promotes a number of benefits for the mind and body. Helping control seizures is just one of these!
Epilepsy and CBD have become a largely discussed topic due to the recent FDA approval of an epilepsy medicine containing the substance. This proves there is enough research and proof that CBD actually works for this disorder!
Seizures & Epilepsy Types
Before we delve further into CBD oil for seizures discussion, a word or two about types of seizures.
The brain is a complex organ that can malfunction. A seizure is a sudden burst of electrical activity in the brain. It can be random or caused by a trigger, such as drugs. There are many types of seizures and forms of epilepsy, and they affect over 50 million people worldwide.
There are two main types of seizures: focal seizures and generalized seizures. Focal seizures occur in a particular part of the brain, while generalized seizures happen throughout the whole brain. In addition, there are two different types of focal seizures and six types of generalized seizures characterized by different movements or the loss of consciousness.
How Does CBD Oil Stop Seizures?
Researchers believe that CBD could potentially calm seizure activity by inhibiting the chemical messengers and antagonizing the GPR55 receptor in the brain.
It can also help by desensitizing TRPV1 channels (people with epilepsy have more TRPV1 receptors than people without epilepsy) and by reducing adenosine updates (adenosine receptors regulate epilepsy seizures).
That said, here are a couple of the largest studies regarding CBD for seizures and epilepsy:
- After gathering evidence from four trials with a total of 550 patients, the study showed that CBD helps reduce seizures.
- A CBD study on 225 patients with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome also showed positive results.
CBD Oil for Grand Mal Seizures
A generalized tonic-clonic seizure, or a grand mal seizure, is a seizure that produces bilateral convulsive tonic and clonic muscle contractions.
It’s often linked to epilepsy and seizures in general. In fact, grand mal seizure is the main seizure type in about 10% of cases of epilepsy.
A grand mal seizure comprises three phases: the tonic phase (the first phase), clonic phase (evolution of the tonic phase caused by muscle relaxations), and postictal phase (characterized by confusion and total amnesia upon regaining consciousness).
Is CBD oil good for seizures of this type? It can be, according to the famous story of Charlotte Figi, who was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome. She used to have up to 300 grand mal seizures per week.
After starting to use CBD oil, the frequency of seizures dropped down from 300 per week to 2–3 per month.
She was also the inspiration for the name of the famous medical cannabis strain, Charlotte’s Web. Unfortunately, Charlotte Figi died at the age of 13 in April 2020 due to pneumonia.
Regarding CBD oil for seizures in children, the official, FDA-approved CBD oil is Epidiolex. It is approved for the treatment of two rare forms of epilepsy — Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
CBD Oil for Non Epileptic Seizures
Based on animal studies, CBD can effectively reduce various types of seizures, regardless of the cause, including non-epileptic seizures.
By reducing inflammatory mediators, CBD diminishes the risk of seizures. Due to its antioxidant properties, CBD can also help alleviate oxidative-stress-induced seizure activity.
What CBD Oil Is Best for Seizures?
Is the best CBD oil for seizures the one that also contains THC? While some people think that THC will work because CBD does, this isn’t always the case.
In fact, the high amount of THC in marijuana may actually make seizures worse! Even when taking CBD, it’s important to source isolate products rather than the full-spectrum varieties for such a sensitive condition.
Isolate processes all of the other cannabis molecules out (including THC), so the end product is 99.9% CBD, which may just be the best CBD oil for epilepsy.
On the other hand, full-spectrum CBD is unprocessed and has trace amounts of THC. The legal limit is under 0.03%, which is very small, but even these trace amounts could affect seizures.
For example, one 2020 study shows that patients taking a commercial CBD product had a 70% increase in seizures. The group that was taking prescription CBD had a 39% reduction.
What was the difference? The commercial CBD oil had higher levels of THC. This also may be due to the fact that CBD oil is not regulated by the FDA, which has strict guidelines.
The FDA-Approved CBD Drug
Epidiolex is the best CBD oil for seizures for a big number of patients. This is an orally administered cannabidiol solution used to treat two rare forms of childhood epilepsy — Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Patients who are two years of age and older can receive this medicine.
Unfortunately, not everybody who has epilepsy can get Epidiolex. It only applies to the most severe cases mentioned above.
Even so, anybody can purchase a regular CBD oil from another reputable manufacturer and use it as CBD oil for child seizures. It is not without its risks and these oils are not FDA approved, yet it is the last resort for some.
How Much Does Epidiolex Cost?
A lot – about $974 per 60ml bottle without insurance! This is way more expensive than the typical bottle of CBD oil. However, the FDA approval sticker gives people peace of mind since CBD regulations aren’t uniform at the moment.
This high potency CBD oil has 100 mg of CBD per ml. Can you find CBD oil with such potency by other manufacturers? Yes, you can, but they aren’t FDA approved despite the fact they could be worth trying (but it’s up to your doctor to decide).
How to Use CBD Oil for Seizures
There are a few different ways you can take CBD in order to stop or reduce the seizure frequency:
CBD tinctures — A CBD tincture is easy to use and one of the most affordable options. It has a higher bioavailability when you take it sublingually (absorbing it for a minute under your tongue). This is often the preferred method of taking CBD for seizures since it’s simple and quick.
CBD vape oils — Vaping is another effective method to consume CBD. People love this because it tastes good, it’s simple, it has the highest bioavailability, and the effects hit you more quickly. On the downside, vaping is often not as good of a value. The effects don’t last as long, and some research shows that many vape pens may release unwanted chemicals into the lungs, so you have to be careful and buy only from verified CBD vape oil brands without PG or VG, among others.
CBD gummies & capsules — Can CBD oil for seizures come in the form of gummy bears? Yes, it can. Many people love gummies or capsules because they’re very easy to take, not to mention discreeet.
CBD food & drinks — Specialty grocery stores are starting to sell drinks and edibles infused with CBD extracts. This is exciting but definitely more expensive than simply buying or making your own CBD oil. Many charge a $3+ upsell for a tiny dosage!
How Much CBD to Take for Seizures
Regarding the CBD oil dosage for seizures in adults or kids (unless they are prescribed Epidiolex already), a good rule of thumb is to start small, especially if you’ve never taken it before. Higher doses aren’t necessarily more effective, and they can cause minor side effects such as drowsiness or nausea.
A couple of factors that will affect the CBD dosage are your weight and tolerance for cannabis. Larger people will need slightly higher doses. Plus, if you’ve smoked marijuana for years, you might need to start with a higher dose.
Is CBD Oil Safe?
CBD has been shown to be completely safe in healthy humans. It has an excellent tolerance level, even in extremely high doses. Studies have shown that you can’t overdose. Side effects are rare and are pretty small if they do occur.
Nevertheless, we have to emphasize the fact that CBD for seizures should be used with more caution as CBD is declared as safe for healthy individuals.
CBD & Epilepsy Drug Interactions
In the many studies that have been done, some drug interactions have been found when combining CBD and epilepsy medications. While more research continues to examine these interactions, what we know so far is that:
- One study suggests that CBD increases the negative side effects of valproic acid (VPA), a commonly used anti-seizure medication, on the liver and its functions. Some patients even endured serious hepatic complications.
- As clobazam (Onfi) is broken down, a major component of the drug appears to interact with CBD in some people. Clobazam and Epidiolex seem to work well together as fewer seizures were reported. A small study also indicates the beneficial impact of CBD.
- Researchers also found that CBD has serious interactions with rufinamide, topiramate, zonisamide, and eslicarbazepine.
While some people combine both regular epilepsy medications and CBD for maximum effects, this is not to be done without consultations with the physician.
Best CBD Strains for Seizures
In terms of strains, one could try to use the ones that are high in CBD, like:
- Charlotte’s Web (it contains 0.3% THC and high amounts of CBD)
- Ringo’s Gift (it has about 1% THC and 15% CBD)
- Harle-Tsu (it has a CBD to THC ratio of 22:1).
- ACDC (20% CBD, 0.85% THC)
- Cherry Wine (17% CBD and less than 1% THC)
- Sour Tsunami (it has a CBD to THC ratio of 13:1)
- Elektra (16% CBD and less than 1% THC)
As mentioned before, THC can induce seizures in some patients, so your best bet is to avoid strains that contain high percentages of THC (like Godfather OG or Fat Banana). If your doctor prohibits you from experimenting with 1% THC, for instance, then you should definitely avoid it.
CBD Oil, Seizures, and Dogs
It is possible to use CBD oil for dog seizures in order to reduce seizure activity, whether it’s the case of epilepsy or occasional idiopathic seizures. Based on a Colorado State University study, 89% of dogs that received CBD had a reduction in the frequency of seizures
There are many CBD oil products for dogs on the market.
When it comes to CBD oil dosage for dog seizures, you need to give your pet CBD regularly, i.e., twice per day. The dosage amounts will vary, so you might need to experiment. Luckily, many brands offer dosage guidelines that are usually based on the dog’s size and weight. Nevertheless, don’t expect the CBD brand will say explicitly the right dosage for a dog struggling with seizures. After all, it is up to your vet to give you some recommendations on the treatment and the dosage, despite the fact they cannot prescribe CBD yet.
To sum things up, if unsure, you can consult with your veterinarian to help you find the best CBD for seizures. Moreover, be cautious if your dog has other health issues (such as liver or kidney problems) since it may affect his ability to react to CBD.
Always buy high-quality CBD oils that are THC-free or that contain no more than 0.3% THC.
As you can see, many studies confirm that CBD oil can help reduce the frequency of seizures in epilepsy patients, especially when it comes to children.
On that note, the FDA approved using a cannabidiol solution, Epidiolex, to treat Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome for patients over two years of age.
So, does CBD oil for epilepsy work? Absolutely. Does it work for everyone? Not really, but neither do all those anti-seizure medications. Finally, you should consult your doctor before trying CBD out, especially if you are taking other medication.
What does CBD do?
CBD stimulates receptors in the endocannabinoid system, which plays a significant role in various functions throughout the brain and body. This helps benefit a variety of different symptoms, one of these being epilepsy.
That said, besides CBD oil benefits for seizures, cannabidiol can also help with pain, anxiety, depression, ADHD, and many more. It can also provide other benefits such as improved focus, better-looking skin, and even sexual health!
What are the side effects of CBD?
The most common side effects of CBD include dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue. However, these adverse effects are rare. On the other hand, combining CBD with any type of medication deserves extra attention due to possible side effects such as liver damage.
Does CBD oil for seizures in adults work?
Yes, CBD has shown just as effective for reducing seizures in adults. Cannabidiol controls irregular activity in the neurons by regulating the release of calcium. This ultimately leads to fewer seizures.
In addition to that, CBD oil can also be used to reduce seizures in dogs.
What drugs should not be taken with CBD?
CBD can interact with many epilepsy medications, such as:
- valproic acid
So, if you already take medications for seizures, it’s important to check CBD and epilepsy consequences with your doctor. Taking a new substance like CBD may increase the risk of liver damage when combined with some medications. Conversely, it can even have a better effect when working in synergy.
Can epilepsy be cured?
Sadly, there is no cure for epilepsy. However, there are seizure and epilepsy medications that can help patients experience much fewer seizures. There are also surgical options for certain types of (focal) epilepsy that can help, but they are not without risks.
Using CBD oil for seizures can also help reduce the frequency of seizures in certain patients.