There is always an answer for a question, and if you are looking to solve an issue regarding epilepsies or seizures, your answer could be with medical marijuana. You might think that marijuana is not a healthy product, or you might have heard that you could become an addict, but it is nothing like that. The results people in the past had are amazing. So, if you are looking for some answers, ask your doctor; CBD could be the solution!
If you are looking to get the best treatment around, keep reading. We will go over the best medical marijuana options for anyone with epilepsy issues.
Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy
There are many treatments for epilepsy, and every day doctors find even more and better. There are many concerns about this disease because people with it have a hard time trying to have an everyday life. That is why some doctors studied the benefits of treating it with marijuana; obviously, with a different form as a recreational drug. Medical marijuana or cannabis uses the chemicals in the plant for medical purposes.
Marijuana contains these chemicals called cannabinoids, which help you by acting in your body cells, including your brain. Some of these cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
The treatment of epilepsy syndromes such as the Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome can be treated with medical cannabis. The Lennox-Gastaut is a form of epilepsy that presents in kids, and it is very severe with many types of different seizures. The Dravet syndrome is a sporadic syndrome that is lifelong and could start as early as a one-year-old kid. What differentiates this syndrome is the prolonged seizures with a fever that affects one side of the body.
Epilepsy is a disease we should all know about, and we need to raise awareness about it since people usually struggle to have an everyday life. We could help by donating to contribute to more studies. Luckily for those with the disease, there have been many studies last, and many new treatments are now available.
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological diseases in the world. Around 50 million people around the globe have it.
Epilepsy is a disorder where the activity of the nerve cells in the brain is disturbed. This distortion causes seizures, which a person could suffer from some abnormal symptoms. Epilepsy is chronic, which means that it is lifelong, you can treat it, but a cure has not been found yet.
This disease affects people of all ages. Usually, it starts at a young age, and as stated before, it lasts your whole life. However, the treatment is pretty compelling, and it is known that around 70 percent of people with the disease can control their seizure episodes due to the treatment.
Life expectancy could potentially be an issue with people suffering from epilepsy. It is believed that people with non-symptomatic epilepsy life expectancy can be reduced by two years, while people with symptomatic epilepsy (meaning they have seizures and some other issues) can be decreased by almost ten years.
Below are listed some of the symptoms someone could feel when having a seizure that could mean that that person has epilepsy:
- Sensitivity to sounds, smells, or sights.
- Visual changes (such as tunnel vision)
Remember that epilepsy is a severe disease, and people might not die from it, but it hurts their lifestyle.
Epilepsy vs. Seizures
As you might or might not know, epilepsy refers to the disease. Epilepsy includes many things, and it could be treated as stated above. On the other hand, seizures refer to the symptom that people with epilepsy suffer. As you have read above, a seizure could present one or more of the symptoms described (anxiety, sensitivity, nausea, dizziness, and visual changes). Epilepsy can be treated, which means that the symptoms could be less severe or excellent treatment, not even showing up.
Some treatments are better than others, and lately, medical cannabis has been gaining importance when it comes to this treatment. People need to understand that this is fair treatment. Many people might prejudge that marijuana is a recreational drug and it is wrong to use it. However, many studies support the idea of using the derivative of the hemp plant.
Seizures can be a really dangerous situation, and some triggers can affect some people. Usually, it depends on the individual and what triggers him or her. Certain conditions influence the reaction of the nerve cell system in their brain that could cause these seizures. The following triggers are some of the most common ones:
- Lack of sleep
- Not taking medication
The common thing to do for those people who know their triggers is to avoid them or pay attention to anything that could trigger them and prevent it.
Can CBD help Epilepsy?
As you now know, one of epilepsies symptoms is having seizures. Seizures are some electrical activities that appear in the brain at the wrong time. This symptom is not easy to control, and it is believed that 30 percent of the people with epilepsy have a hard time controlling them. That is the main reason why people look for treatment, and anything that can help them is good for them.
Many people argue that cannabis is not a severe treatment, but studies proved them wrong. CBD can help you with epilepsy. Something you should consider is that the medication used for epilepsy could bring some severe side effects, and the chemicals used could also hurt your body.
However, CBD oils come from the hemp plant, and so, the chemicals in oils are natural. There are some side effects that we will check out later on, but they are not as bad as some of the ones which come with usually used medication.
Other issues people may have with epilepsy is that their disorder could be drug-resistant, meaning that AED’s (Anti-epileptic Drugs) do not work on them, or the side effects are way too hurtful to be worth it. For that reason, people might turn to natural medication; here is where CBD comes into serious consideration. The CBD anti-epileptic effects have been studied, and doctors trust CBD to be a treatment.
What studies exist to support the use of CBD in Epilepsy?
As with any new medicine, studies are a big part of it. Doctors need to be sure to give anything to their patients anything. CBD is not the exception; even more, people usually might not feel safe or secure when they hear the word “marijuana,” so studies were critical to support its implementation. These studies had a great deal of relevance, leading to the FDA approval in June 2018.
There have been many studies regarding this topic, and most of them are based on Epidiolex, which is an extraction from the cannabis plant which contains CBD. Epidiolex is over 98% oil-based, and it is purified.
Like most studies, researchers used some controlled clinical trials to see how well the medicine worked. The researchers used a control group who took the placebo while the other groups took the actual treatment with varying doses. Taking it a step forward, not even the researchers knew which group was which. I believe this made the study enjoyable.
Below there is an explanation of the clinical trials used in the research:
- Both controlled and uncontrolled trials were used with people with the Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndrome. Out of those patients, 689 were treated with Epidiolex.
- In some expanded program, 161 Dravet syndromes and LGS (Lennox-Gastaut syndrome) were treated with CBD for over six months.
- An interesting fact was that all of the patients were also taking some other medication for the seizures.
- In these controlled trials, the only cases where they had to stop the treatment due to side effects had a higher dose. Also, the number was low.
- 3% of the higher doses stopped because of the following side effects: Sleepiness, sedation, and lethargy.
In this study, the following effects were the most common:
- Decreased appetite
- Change in liver function
- Sleep disorder
What is CBD?
Many people believe that CBD is a recreational drug that is only good to get you high. Well, those people are wrong. CBD is something else, and people may not know it, but it could be healthier than regular medications due to its natural origins. Also, people may not know this, but CBD is just a chemical from the plant.
As discussed before, there are many cannabinoids in the plant, and one of them is CBD. Cannabinoids are present in the chemistry of the plant, and it is believed that there are around 113 isolated from cannabis.
CBD is short for cannabidiol, and it is found in the Cannabis Sativa plant. This plant is the one we know as marijuana. This natural substance is used in many things, such as oils and gummies, to relax. There are some other substances similar to psychoactive CBD, like its cousin THC.
You might think that CBD will get you high but is it highly improbable. As stated above, CBD is not the psychoactive part of the plant. However, there are some exceptions. For example, people who react with side effects when taking Advil or Tylenol might feel altered or sedated.
Everybody is different, and you never know how your body takes something new, so if you are going to try CBD, do it under supervision for the first time, just in case.
The mechanism behind the antiepileptic effects of CBD
It would be a lie if I said that CBD cures epilepsy because it does not. As stated before, epilepsy does not have a cure, just treatment. However, CBD could help you deal with the seizures and help you have a better life. CBD might work better than some commonly used medications. CBD has fewer adverse side effects when acting as an AED. However, remember that some people might not react well to it.
The mechanism behind the effects CBD causes in the system to avoid epileptic scenarios has to do with the endocannabinoid system. CBD helps to improve the functioning of this system. The endocannabinoid system use is to deal with the balance of our body, known as homeostasis. The ECS (endocannabinoid) regulates the activity of the neurotransmitters in the body; it tells them whether to increase or decrease their activity by telling the neurons what to do.
In the case of seizures, CBD has a crucial role. Since the ECS regulates the neurotransmitters and a seizure is the overexcitation of them… well, they will avoid the seizure by lowering the activity of the neurotransmitters. If you have an inadequately functioning ECS, that could cause chronic seizures.
It was proved by a study made that if the ECS interferes, seizure duration and frequency will be altered. The anti-epileptic effects are not entirely understood yet, but since CBD is becoming more common now, more studies will follow to get more information. \
There are four ways of how CBD works as an AED, which are the following:
- Increase of level of natural endocannabinoid-receptors. This increasing level makes the ECS do a better job of achieving the optimal balance in our bodies.
- CBD can reduce the level of excitement of the neurons. It does this by controlling the flow of calcium and potassium.
- Glutamate can cause some neuronal excitation, and CBD lowers this activity.
- CBD has a strong anti-inflammatory effect, even works with brain inflammation. When there is brain inflammation, the seizures could be worse.
How to use CBD for Epilepsy
The levels at which CBD can help with epilepsy vary depending on the individual. Some people notice instant changes and improvements while others have to wait some time, and some people never see anything. There are also cases where the patients might get even worse because of it.
The first thing you need to know about epilepsy treatment with CBD is that there are different types of products, and you need to be careful about what to use. Some products with CBD that are not approved or regulated by the FDA could be harsh for your body. These are usually store-bought CBD, and these could bring issues.
The one you should use is called Epidiolex, the one discussed before and approved by the FDA. The Epidiolex has a higher manufactured standard which is essential when comparing the results and the quality.
For you to consider, a recent study compared these store-bought products with the Epidiolex. The results of this study were not surprising but yet revealing, and it told us that store-bought CBD has a 70 percent increase in seizures. On the other hand, Epidiolex (a prescription medicine) has a 39 percent reduction. There is one crucial factor when comparing both of the products.
Usually, those artisanal CBD products might have inconsistencies with their THC levels since their lack of testing. As I explained before, the psychoactive portion of marijuana is in THC, so a high level of this portion in the product could elevate the chances of a seizure.
The CBD could be used in many ways since many different products are containing CBD. Some oils can be used for relaxation and to deal with inflammations if applied in the zones where it is needed. Also, you could eat CBD gummies which will help you stay relax and calm. If an epileptic person can avoid their triggers, then the probability of a seizure will go down.
The CBD tries to avoid these situations/triggers. Also, we read about the chemical side of CBD that helps the user, so anything that makes you add CBD to your body will help you. There is another option that is smoking. CBD pens are handy for people since the inhalation of CBD makes them practical and very fast.
Dosage of CBD for Epilepsy
The dosage of CBD you should use depends on factors like your weight and the method of consumption. It is not the same to be 45 lbs. than to be 150 lbs. That is why some charts could help you find a starting point. After that, you will have to see how your body responds; if you feel like the effects are not doing much, you could add some CBD or vice versa.
Remember that you must consult your doctor about changing the dosage. The method of consumption is another important factor, oil is not the same as vapor, and you have to consider it. Some charts could guide you with your dose selection.
The methods are also different, so maybe two drops of oil of 450 mg are equivalent to 250 puffs of 2 seconds each. And also, the efficacy could vary, so you need to be careful of what you choose and how you do it.
Anyhow, your dosage will be determined by your response to CBD and your necessity. It is not the same for someone who might have seizures every 20 days compared to someone that could have a seizure once a year.
So, the election for the dosage is pretty personalized for each person. It is hard to establish a definite value since it is hard to put a significant number of cases together. Each case should be treated as an individual different from the others.
Moreover, there is one way people usually starts with, which is the following:
- Starting dose: 2.5 mg per Kilogram taken by mouth twice a day
- Maintenance dose: 5mg per kilogram. Twice a day in via the mouth
- Maximum dose: 10 mg/kg. Also, twice a day, taken by the mouth
Is it Safe?
As you realized by reading the article, there are no answers for everything, and this is a pretty new method to deal with this issue that is epilepsy. However, the studies gave a pretty good idea of what to expect and how to make it work. We know that different bodies react differently to the same medicine, but overall, it is safe. We do not believe that there will be a complication because of the CBD usage, but the side effects. The side effects are considered to be worth having since none of the usual side effects are life-threatening.
It is a fact that current anti-epileptic drugs struggle to deal with seizures in almost half of the patients, so it is not a surprise that people looked for other options. CBD is natural, which is a significant advantage over other drugs. Being natural means fewer industrial chemicals and, in many cases, safer.
Evidence supports that CBD oils are helping epileptic patients with their seizures and so, working well. However, THC could increase seizure frequency due to its psychoactive faculties, and not every CBD oil has the same level of THC.
Is it legal to buy CBD?
Yes, you can buy CBD, and you can even buy it online. However, there are limitations and regulations. These regulations depend on the part of the world where you are. Some of the regulations include the origin of the CBD, meaning that you can only buy CBD from industrial hemp, which contains less than 0.3% of THC. Also, there are some places where you have to be over 18 or 21 to buy it.
Many CBD products are suitable to be sold, but there are others with a high THC content, and those are the ones that are illegal to buy and sell. The origin is what determines the legality in many cases. The hemp plant does not contain more than 0.3 percent THC, but the marijuana plant is usually over that percentage, making it illegal.
How to choose the right CBD for Epilepsy
The right CBD for epilepsy should be an easy decision due to the FDA approval we discussed earlier. Epidiolex is the only one approved, so you should not try other products because of everything explained before. Also, you should always talk to your doctor before. There is no point in selecting a CBD product without consulting with an expert. Some risks are not worth taking if you make the wrong decision.
There are some methods and preferences you could choose from to select which product to consume. For example, if you are in the office all day long, you will not be able to use the CBD pen (vape); you might want to try the gummies. They might be more convenient for you and your needs. If you happen to be on the road and traveling, you might want to try the oils, which you can mix with some water.
When deciding which CBD to use, you have to look at the whole picture, what is more convenient, more efficient, and the one that you will enjoy the most; in the end, you are doing this to avoid a seizure by relaxing.
Top CBD contained products for Epilepsy
When it comes to the products, there are many options: many brands and different product lines. As we have seen before, there are vapes, gummies, oils, creams, and so on. There are also other brands to choose from, which we will review later. Some of them are Fab CBD, Spruce CBD, Joy Organics CBD and, NuLeaf Naturals CBD.
The quality is different, and the prices vary too, but you will find the perfect fit for you if you continue reading. Most of these brands have a wide product line with the products listed above, so you have thousands of options.
When deciding which brand to go to, we believe the following ones are the best for oils. In the next section you will see, and you will be able to compare them to see which one you will enjoy the best.
Fab CBD Oil
This is a pretty new brand that entered the market around four years ago. The company is known for its transparency. Their lab results are online for you to check out. You can go to their website, and they try to keep it as up-to-date as possible. You can also see some of the testimonies about users.
They offer three different lines in their products; they offer gummies, oil, Topical, and vapor pen. Also, they provide dog treats which are kind of cool.
If you are looking to find a good quality product to deal with an epilepsy disease, this might be what you are looking for; their extract method guarantees a high-quality product for the oil. Their method involves a CO2 extraction from the hemp plants. The quality that this method brings makes it an exciting option when looking for a treatment.
Everything has its pros and cons. The price of these oils is a pro since their quality is higher than average, and the price is lower than average. The extraction method is definitely what differentiates it from the others, so this advantage is excellent.
The low side is that their products are hard to find since they do not produce as much as others because they are more focused on quality than quantity.
Spruce CBD Oil
Spruce CBD is an American company which states that its products are 100% natural, which I believe is pretty important when dealing with your health. It is also a relatively new company with three years of existence. The company offers a high quality and high potency CBD that shows results faster than other brands. Their products are lab-grade and consistent in their compounds.
When dealing with your health, you need to know what you are putting in your body. That being said, Spruce offers 100% natural products and third-party lab tested. However, you might want to check the potency of the product. This product will offer a faster arrival of benefits, so you might want to consider it when looking for a treatment.
The pros of this product are that they offer high potency options. Also, their products are 100% natural which means that they are organic, vegan, and gluten-free. Some people would argue that customer service is not a big deal, but Spruce will be a serious contender if you feel like it is.
The cons are limited, but they can be a dealbreaker for you. First, they only offer one flavor and available in only one size. And another issue with their products is that they do not provide a lower potency option.
Charlotte’s Web CBD Oil
Charlotte’s Web CBD is one of the most famous CBD brands in the United States and the world. It is also one of the oldest, which makes them somewhat controversial since they were the ones that “fight” for the CBD legality. They received a warning letter from the FDA for some labeling issues. Nowadays, they are facing action suits for mislabeling their CBD creams. However, they have many good reviews online, which supports the quality of their products.
If you are looking for a quality medication for your epilepsy, you are looking for high quality, and you might not get that from an over-the-counter product. While the FDA does not approve them, their facility follows the FDA’s good manufacturing practices.
Also, all of their products are third-party tested, which guarantees that what you are getting is good quality. So, if you believe you can trust their non-approved oil with customer support, then you should consider it. Their longevity is also an assurance that the product is good.
The pros and cons of Charlotte’s web are easy to understand. Their well-known brand that has been around for a long time is always good. Also, the price range is pretty good and competitive, and their veterans discount is also helpful. Their transparency is also a good thing for them.
However, they have a low side, and that is that their products are not certified organic, and they are facing some action lawsuits. The letter they received from the FDA does not look good either of their brands.
NuLeaf Naturals CBD Oil
This particular exciting brand focuses on purity. They offer a small and simple product line that includes oils for humans and pets. Their oils are full-spectrum CBD that comes in different sizes. They use the same extraction method we have seen with Fab CBD, the CO2 extraction, providing high-quality products. They offer their products to third-party labs, and they post their results on their website for everyone to see and access.
Their nature origin makes it an attractive option to avoid seizures and any other symptoms of epilepsy. The extraction method (CO2 Extraction) is the cleanest way to extract CBD oil from the plant, making it healthier for you. Their non-solvents usage in their production assures you that you will not be consuming anything else but CBD. Its color, which is a significant indication of the quality, is extraordinary and shows its pureness—a product you should consider.
Their full-spectrum product is a pro since they make the product more effective when dealing with inflammation and pain. Their third-party testing practice also is an indication of good quality, and they must be transparent about it. Their CO2 extraction method makes them one of the purest products in the market.
On the other hand, the price range is not very attractive since they are over the average price in the market. They don’t offer a THC-free product, which can lead to some triggers for your epilepsy. Another problem you might have is that they only offer oils because their product line is pretty narrow, which means that they offer single strength and single flavor.
Joy Organics CBD Oil
The company started when the founder, Joy Smith, learned about CBD after having somebody pain and issues sleeping. They offer broad-spectrum CBD products. These are certified organic and third-party tested, both helped to make a good reputation. However, the FDA does not guarantee the safety of their products but hasn’t received any warning letters like other brands.
Knowing the results of the lab tests is always something good to know before consumption. Also, they are certified organic which is always a good indicator of quality, and their facilities and manufacturing act following the FDA’s regulations.
Their products are essentially good, and their broad-spectrum product line is excellent. They offer a wide range of possibilities so you can try anything. Also, they have a 30-day guarantee which will help you decide which product to use. They also offer discounts for some groups.
However, the FDA is not approved, so that is something that you might look as wrong or not helpful when you decide.
1. Are there any side effects of taking CBD?
Yes, there are some, but they can vary depending on the person. They can be mild or extreme, also depending on the person. That is why having a doctor monitoring the process is a must. Some of the side effects include:
- Decreased appetite
- Change in liver function
- Sleep disorder
2. Can CBD alter the excretion of epilepsy drugs?
Yes, they might alter it somehow, but you can interact some medicaments with CBD products. However, it might result in less effective medicaments.
3. Can I Give CBD to my Pets for treating epilepsy?
Yes, you can give it to them, but the brands usually offer different products for dogs. Some of them include god treats, oils, and creams.
There are many answers to problems, and when looking for epilepsy treatment options, CBD is an answer. As we have discussed in the article, there are many ways to treat epilepsy with CBD.
If you are looking for some treatment, do not think that medicinal marijuana is a recreational drug, THC lower than 0.3% in the compound; feel free to use it. It will help you. However, remember to be monitored by a doctor.