Epilepsy, How Can CBD Help You?

child and adult holding brain having an epileptic seizure

Epilepsy, How Can CBD Help You?

Epilepsy is one of those topics that we’ve all talked and heard about. It is a condition that can ultimately have a massive impact on an epilepsy sufferers’ everyday life. Coping with epilepsy can be a massive challenge, even working and driving become a risk. About 3% of the population suffer from epilepsy, the chances are you know someone who has it.

Understanding what epilepsy is, how it can impact everyday life, and the type of limitations that can arise from epilepsy is very important for everybody to know. Let’s take a look at epilepsy and see how it can affect everyday life.

What is Epilepsy?

So, what actually is epilepsy? What does it mean? Epilepsy, characterised by epilepsy.com is “a neurological condition that affects the nervous system. Epilepsy is also known as a seizure disorder. It is usually diagnosed after a person has had at least two seizures (or after one seizure with a high risk for more) that were not caused by some known medical condition.”

What exactly is a seizure? “Seizures seen in epilepsy are caused by disturbances in the electrical activity of the brain. The seizures in epilepsy may be related to a brain injury, genetics, immune, brain structure or metabolic cause, but most of the time the cause is unknown.”

The awkward thing about epilepsy is that it can be massively challenging to try and deal with on an everyday basis. Because the symptoms of epilepsy can vary so much depending on the person, the severity, and other factors, epilepsy can be an incredibly challenging every day condition.

What makes epilepsy so tricky is that it affects people in a variety of different ways. It can affect both adults and children to varying degrees. Some people can have severe epilepsy conditions, where they can have fits that go on for minutes at a time, whereas people can also experience mild epilepsy episodes which leave them feeling disoriented, confused, and generally distressed, known as absence seizures. This makes it very difficult to effectively define the overall impact of epilepsy.

Managing Epilepsy

Ultimately, epilepsy is not a new condition. Hippocrates (460-377 BC) was the first person to think that is started in the brain, which means that there is a reasonable amount of help available for anyone who suffers from it.

There is effective medication to deal with epilepsy, but this does have its own list of potential problems/side effects. There can be fairly significant side-effects like hair loss, agitation, rashes and gum swelling that come from antiepileptic medication. However, these types of medicines are the recommended way to deal with epilepsy, so the issue is further compounded by the fact that people take it simply for a lack of a suitable alternative.

Depending on the situation, surgery can be a considerable option for people who want to deal with their epilepsy, because the idea is to remove the part of the brain which is causing the seizures to begin with. However, this is incredibly drastic, high risk and usually only an option for the most severe cases.

Epilepsy medication on the table
Doctor holding cannabis plant
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CBD and Epilepsy

CBD is starting to gain much more traction in the recent years as an alternative or accompaniment to traditional medication, sometimes for those that traditional pharmaceutical medication is not working. The NHS even prescribes a CBD-containing medication as part of some standard epilepsy treatments.

CBD is believed to interact with the Endocannabinoid system inside the human body, which acts as a series of nerve receptors and endings which are directly programmed to receive natural cannabinoids that are produced by the body. CBD is believed to replicate these natural cannabinoids and assist in numerous ways.

A recent 2019 study into child epilepsy, CBD and its safety, found “This compound (CBD) showed efficacy as anti-seizure, antipsychotic, neuroprotective, antidepressant and anxiolytic. The neuroprotective activity appears linked to its excellent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties… The results of scientific studies obtained so far the use of CBD in clinical applications could represent hope for patients who are resistant to all conventional anti-epileptic drugs.”

“All trials reporting efficacy data show that CBD is able to reduce the frequency of seizures.”

A further 2018 Review of 4 clinical trials concluded that they observed “patients with ≥ 50% reduction in monthly seizure frequency during the treatment period”

These are some pretty significant and consistent findings, but there is obviously still some taboo around CBD and Marijuana. For new users who do not know about CBD, finding a quality product in a market that is saturated with quality products can be very difficult.

How do I take CBD for Epilepsy?

  • Firstly, you should always consult your doctor before beginning anything new, especially if you are on existing medication.
  • CBD is a tricky thing for dosing because everyone is different. Some people respond to high doses and others very little. Usually we recommend starting off with a lower dose and working up to find something that provides you with the relief or therapeutic effects that you are looking for. Studies have shown that the higher dosages of CBD tend to be effective with epilepsy.
  • It is important to take a full spectrum oil, over isolate or broad to obtain the maximum benefits of the CBD oil, utilising the entourage effect. See our blog on Full Spectrum CBD for more info.
  • Use CBD regularly and be persistent as it can take several weeks for effects to be observed, some people need to ‘wake up’ the endocannabinoid system.
  • The CBD should be high quality, ensuring no heavy metals, herbicides and pesticides – these can be detrimental to your health, as they are all toxic and damage the neurons – making things worse.
  • We would recommend starting with a minimum of our 5% Full Spectrum CBD Oil for new users, we also sell the 10% Full Spectrum CBD Oil for seasoned users and people who require higher dosages.
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Happy woman and child feeling better

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, epilepsy is a condition which has affected many people for many years now. It can affect anybody, from children to adults, and there is often no particular trigger as to what may cause it. This means that around the world, people have to factor epilepsy into their daily lives and exercise caution around things that can trigger episodes such as amusement parks, certain elevators, art and media, among other things.

Epilepsy ranges significantly in terms of the damage it can do and the overall progression of it from one person to the next. Epilepsy can spread to other parts of the brain and cause permanent damage in some cases, but in other cases, it is simply a mild condition that is easily treatable. Obviously, this makes it very difficult to determine the exact scope of epilepsy, but it is a condition that affects a significant percentage of the world’s population.

Naturally, if CBD can be useful to anybody who is dealing with epilepsy, it is worth checking out, particularly for epileptic syndromes that are traditionally resistant to pharmaceutical  medication. A reduction in episodes and a lessening in severity of the episodes has been witnessed in the majority of epilepsy sufferers who have used CBD. That being said, it is imperative to use a high quality, full spectrum extract free from herbicides, pesticides and heavy metals. There is a lot of cheap CBD available on the market, and it can often do more harm than good.

References 

  1. Silvestro S, Mammana S, Cavalli E, Bramanti P, Mazzon E. Use of Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Epilepsy: Efficacy and Security in Clinical Trials. Molecules. 2019 Apr 12;24(8):1459. doi: 10.3390/molecules24081459. PMID: 31013866; PMCID: PMC6514832.
  2. Lattanzi S, Brigo F, Trinka E, Zaccara G, Cagnetti C, Del Giovane C, Silvestrini M. Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol in Epilepsy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Drugs. 2018 Nov;78(17):1791-1804. doi: 10.1007/s40265-018-0992-5. PMID: 30390221.
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