Hemp CBD Oil: An Electrifying New Treatment for Epilepsy?

CBD for epilepsy and seizures

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a disorder caused by misfiring nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. The disorder strikes people of all genders, ages, races, and ethnicities. When the brain discharges electricity abnormally, it causes seizures—a temporary loss of control often accompanied by convulsions, unusual bodily movements, or even unconsciousness.

Although epilepsy causes seizures, not all seizures are caused by epilepsy. At least two unprovoked seizures are needed for an epilepsy diagnosis. Seizure symptoms can be confused with other neurological malfunctions, such as migraine, narcolepsy, or mental illness, so thorough testing is needed to distinguish which disorder is causing the seizures.

When seizures are caused by epilepsy, the person with epilepsy will usually have the same type of seizure—and the same type of symptoms—for each episode. Doctors generally classify seizures as either focal or generalized, based on how the abnormal brain activity begins. There are over forty different types of epilepsy and many different types of seizures.

How is Epilepsy Treated?

The standard pharmaceutical treatment for epilepsy is antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), which are designed to shut down the abnormal neuronal activity that leads to seizures. Although AEDs work for some patients, they don’t work for everyone. And even when they do work, the side effects can be debilitating. Fully a third of people with epilepsy aren’t helped by AEDs because the drugs don’t work for them or they can’t tolerate the side effects.

Are There Natural Approaches to Treat Epilepsy?

Children can outgrow their epilepsy, and some people experience only minor symptoms. However, people with severe epilepsy should make sure their doctors approve adding anything new to their treatment regimen. Doctors can help people with epilepsy make informed decisions about the potential benefits and risks of complementary natural treatments.

The evidence for many types of natural treatments is anecdotal and sometimes contradictory. For example, some people consider the herb valerian to be a promising natural treatment since it might have anti-convulsive effects. However, others rule out the use of valerian since it may also be too sedating.

One natural treatment that has garnered some scientific support is diet. A ketogenic diet, which is largely composed of selected fats with minimal carbohydrates, has long been touted for its ability to decrease seizures. This type of diet can be difficult to adhere to, which is probably why it’s used more for children than adults.

However, in 2002, Johns Hopkins modified the ketogenic diet somewhat and used the diet to treat adults with epilepsy. Seizures decreased in almost half of the patients on the Johns Hopkins diet, although these results were generally not immediate.

The Most Promising Natural Treatment for Epilepsy: Hemp CBD Oil

One of the most promising natural treatments for epilepsy—and seizures in general—is cannabadiol, or CBD. CBD, first described in 1940, stops seizures by improving the functioning of the endocannabinoid system in the body. This system helps the body maintain balance by sending messages to neurons to ramp up or reduce their activity. Since seizures result from over-excited neurons, chronic seizures may be due to a poorly functioning endocannabinoid system.

What Exactly is CBD Oil, and Why Should it Come from Hemp?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound from the Cannabis sativa plant. It is one of more than 100 identified cannabinoids in hemp plants and accounts for up to 40% of the plant’s extracts. As of 2018, CBD, which is not psychoactive, has been studied for its efficacy in disorders involving anxiety, cognition, movement, pain, and seizures.

Hemp and marijuana both come from the Cannabis sativa plant. However, hemp is cannabis with less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) by dry weight, while marijuana contains more than 0.3% THC by dry weight. THC is the main psychoactive component in marijuana that causes intoxication or euphoria, otherwise known as the “high.” Although hemp technically may contain some THC, it’s in such small quantities that hemp is not considered psychoactive at all. Since hemp contains an abundance of beneficial CBD oil with minimal THC, which may be problematic, many consumers, as well as producers, feel more comfortable obtaining CBD from hemp.

What Evidence is There That CBD Oil Cures Epilepsy?

Firstly, epilepsy is a complex condition for which there is no “cure.” However, a number of studies have demonstrated that CBD oil can significantly help many patients with intractable seizures.

Undoubtedly the most famous case is that of six-year-old Charlotte Figi. In 2013, Charlotte, who suffered from a rare form of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome, experienced as many as 300 grand mal seizures per week and was near death. However, through using CBD, Charlotte’s seizures decreased to a few every month, mainly while she was sleeping, and she is now flourishing.

On June 25, 2018, the FDA announced approval of a drug named Epidiolex, a CBD oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with Charlotte’s type of epilepsy plus another rare, severe form of epilepsy known as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Epidiolex was first FDA-approved drug that contained CBD.

Despite the notoriety of Charlotte’s case, she is far from the only person who has benefited from CBD. Here are some other noteworthy studies:

  • In a 1980 double-blind study, eight healthy volunteers received 3 mg/kg of CBD each day for a month, while a control group received the same number of capsules containing a glucose placebo. In the second phase of the study, 15 patients with generalized epilepsy were randomly divided into two groups. For up to 4.5 months, these patients received 200-300 mg daily doses of CBD or glucose placebo. All of the people with epilepsy and the healthy volunteers tolerated the CBD very well and no signs of toxicity or serious side effects. Four of the eight CBD subjects were almost seizure-free throughout the experiment, three showed some improvement, and one showed no improvement, while only one of the seven placebo patients clearly improved.
  • In 2013, Colorado neurologists presented their findings from a study using whole-plant CBD oil. Seizures were reduced in all eleven patients in the study, with 73% reporting a 98-100% reduction. Almost half of the patients were seizure-free after three months of treatment with the CBD oil, and they experienced no significant side effects from the CBD oil. In 2014, GW Pharmaceuticals, the makers of the pure CBD extract Epidiolex, conducted US trials on children with severe epilepsy. Of 123 patients, 46% reported a decrease in seizure frequency.
  • In 2015, UCLA pediatric neurologists surveyed the parents of 117 epileptic children who used CBD-rich oil. In 85% of the children, seizures declined, with 14% becoming seizure-free.

Take-aways

There’s serious science supporting the use of CBD oil for epilepsy and seizures. Of course, CBD oil doesn’t work for everybody, but since it’s a natural remedy with few side effects, it should be considered as an option for those who suffer from epilepsy sufferers.

CBD oil extracted from marijuana may present some problems both legally and for those who are concerned about psychoactive substances, which is why we stick to hemp.

Hemp has all of the upside of medical marijuana with none of the downside. We are a marketplace for curated hemp CBD. That means that we only sell hemp CBD products that we personally use and endorse. You can buy with confidence, knowing that you will receive the purest, most effective hemp CBD oil possible.

References:

https://www.healthline.com/health/natural-treatments-epilepsy https://www.naturalalternativeremedy.com/the-top-7-natural-remedies-for-epilepsy/ https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/epilepsy/symptoms-causes/syc-20350093 https://www.cbdschool.com/how-to-use-cbd-for-epilepsy/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7413719 https://www.consumerreports.org/seizures/cannabis-oil-cbd-treat-seizures/ https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/cbd-oil-legal-depends-ask https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabidiol https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm611046.htm https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/137430 https://www.webmd.com/epilepsy/types-of-seizures-their-symptoms#1



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