How Effective Is CBD Oil for Seizures & Epilepsy?
Cannabis plants have a variety of uses in today’s age and they have been in use for hundreds of years throughout history. Not only is marijuana fun to smoke, but the hemp plant can provide materials for making clothes, rope, paper, and be used for medicinal purposes.
The recent 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 molecules naturally found in cannabis. It’s different from THC – the molecule that gets you high. CBD doesn’t get you high because it stimulates different receptors throughout the body. Instead, it promotes a number of benefits for the mind and body. Helping control seizures are just one of these!
The CBD medical benefits stretch far beyond epilepsy and seizures – it can 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 can’t cannabis do?
Epilepsy and CBD has 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
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. There are two different types of focal seizures and six types of generalized seizures characterized by different movements or the loss of consciousness.
What Is the Best CBD Oil for Epilepsy?
It’s hard to pick a particular brand since there are so many different options on the market. In addition, there are a few different ways you can take 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 (which is 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.
Vape – 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 many vape pens may release unwanted chemicals into the lungs.
Supplements – Many people love supplements because they’re very easy to take. If you already take medication, CBD supplements can be simply added to your daily routine. You can find regular CBD pills as well as tasty gummies! Plus, these look innocent – nobody will know you’re taking 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!
Many people wonder how much CBD oil for epilepsy and seizures they need to take. 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 small side effects such as drowsiness or nausea. Luckily, overdosing and severe side effects aren’t a possibility.
Even so, the prices of these products can add up! This is why it’s great to find the smallest dosage that works effectively for you. A couple of factors of CBD dosage are your weight and tolerance for cannabis. Larger people will need slightly larger doses. If you’ve smoked weed for years, you might need to start with a higher dose.
Epidiolex – The First FDA-Approved CBD Oil-Derived Medication
Epidiolex was approved by the FDA in June 2018 for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Patients two years of age and older are able to 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 regular CBD oil. The only difference between the two is FDA approval.
How Much Does Epidiolex Cost?
A lot – $32,500 per year 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 very strict at the moment.
This high potency CBD oil has 100 mg of CBD per mL. In comparison, a Lazarus Naturals high potency tincture contains 50mg per mL. If you don’t have insurance, it would be a much better deal to purchase from a brand like this if you feel comfortable doing so.
Is Epidiolex the Best Seizure Medication?
It’s very effective for those with the two severe and rare forms of epilepsy, but you won’t be able to get it unless you have one of these.
The Research Behind CBD Oil for Seizures
How does CBD oil stop seizures? Scientists have researched hard to discover how cannabidiol works for seizures to accumulate enough evidence to present to the FDA.
We have a page dedicated to research on CBD for various benefits, but here are a couple of the largest studies for epilepsy and seizures:
- After gathering evidence from four trials with a total of 550 patients, this study showed that CBD helps reduce seizures and is safe.
- This CBD study on 225 patients with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome also showed positive results.
Some people think that marijuana for seizures will work because CBD does. However, this isn’t always the case. 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.
However, some people report positive results when using marijuana for epilepsy or seizures. Others say it’s not an effective seizure treatment and makes them worse.
Isolate processes all of the other cannabis molecules out (including THC), so the end product is 99.9% CBD. 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.
Is CBD Safe?
CBD for seizures (and all other symptoms) has shown to be completely safe in 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.
These include drowsiness (which is actually a benefit for many people), nausea, diarrhea, and similar side effects. This is nothing compared to the side effects of prescription seizure medications!
What About Drug Interactions?
In the many studies that have been done, some drug interactions have been found when combining CBD and epilepsy medications. More research continues to examine these interactions. We know from studies that have been done:
- People who had increases in their liver enzymes to levels that are three times or above higher than normal were also on valproic acid (VPA), a commonly used anti-seizure medication. The levels of VPA were not increased when taken with CBD. This may put some people at a higher risk for liver issues.
- As clobazam (Onfi) is broken down, a major component of the drug appears to interact with CBD in some people. This may be the cause of tiredness that is seen in some people who take both CBD and Onfi.
- Researchers also found that CBD interacts significantly with rufinamide, topiramate, zonisamide, and eslicarbazepine.
If you take another anti-seizure medication or another type of medicine, we always recommend speaking to your doctor before taking CBD. Although many medications can safely be used with CBD, some can interact and have negative side effects. Some people combine both regular epilepsy medications and CBD for maximum effects!
How to Prevent Seizures (Beyond CBD)
It’s been thought that certain essential oils help with the after effects of seizures, and may even help reduce seizures. At the very least, they can help reduce the aftereffects of a seizure (such as bruising, anxiety, and embarrassment).
Some great oils for this are jasmine, ylang ylang, chamomile, lavender, clary sage, and frankincense. These definitely aren’t ideal treatments for epilepsy, but it can help.
On the other hand, certain types of essential oils can make seizures worse. These include fennel, eucalyptus, hyssop, rosemary, pennyroyal, tansy, sage, thuja, wormwood, and spike lavender. If you’re exposed to any of these and start having seizures more frequently, the essential oil could be the trigger!
More Potential Triggers for Seizure Prevention
- Lack of sleep
- Alcohol and drugs
- Antipyretics for fever
- The keto diet
- Over-ripe fruits
- Processed foods
We hope we’ve helped with your CBD oil for seizures and epilepsy research! As you can see, there are plenty of benefits and it’s completely safe. Even if it doesn’t work for you, there’s not much to lose. It’s easy to purchase and a small bottle is relatively inexpensive. However, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor before trying it out, especially if you take other medication.
What does CBD do?
CBD stimulates receptors in the endocannabinoid system, which plays a big role in many different functions throughout the brain and body. This helps benefit a variety of different symptoms, one of these being epilepsy!
Does CBD oil for seizures work?
Yes, many people report that it reduces the number of seizures. For some, it completely stops them!
What are the side effects of CBD?
There are only very small side effects of CBD, including nausea, drowsiness, diarrhea, and lightheadedness. These are rare and it’s impossible to overdose.
Most studies are done on children but does CBD oil for seizures in adults work?
Yes, CBD has shown just as effective for reducing seizures in adults! The studies are mostly on children because the two severe forms of epilepsy begin when you’re a child.
What drugs should not be taken with CBD?
If you already take medications for seizures, it’s important to check with your doctor before taking a new substance like CBD. It can interact with many epilepsy medications, so it’s important to be careful. One circumstance when it’s especially important to check with your doctor if you take any medications that advise against eating grapefruit.
Can epilepsy be cured?
There are seizure and epilepsy medications that can drastically improve it, but they’re not a complete cure as you have to keep taking the medicine. There are surgical options for certain types of (focal) epilepsy that can cure you, but they are not without risks.