Using CBD Oil for Epilepsy
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of two main cannabinoids found in cannabis and hemp plants, the other being tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it does not produce any psychological effects or a ‘high’. CBD is becoming an increasingly popular alternative therapy for a number of health conditions, including epilepsy.
CBD is available in many forms, including tinctures, vaporizer oils, topical balms, and more. It can be administered in several different ways as well. Some products are applied topically, while others are best taken sublingually (underneath the tongue).
How does CBD work?
Within the body is a major regulatory system called the endocannabinoid system, or ECS. The ECS is comprised of a number of receptors and receptor subgroups, located all throughout the body. These receptors can be activated either by the body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids or by cannabinoids such as THC and CBD.
CBD primarily works with two receptors: CB1 and CB2. Unlike THC, CBD does not directly bind to these receptors, which is why it is non-psychoactive. Instead, CBD stimulates the body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids to activate the receptors. This causes the receptors simply to do more of what they normally do.
CBD also directly works with the serotonin system as well.
Health Benefits of CBD
Initial studies have shown CBD has numerous health benefits and medicinal properties, including:
- Antiemetic (reduces nausea and vomiting)
- Anticonvulsant (suppresses seizure activity)
- Anxiolytic (combats anxiety)
- Analgesic (relieves pain)
CBD for Epilepsy
Numerous studies also have shown CBD has significant benefits for people suffering from epilepsy. One study published earlier this year in the New England Journal of Medicine found that CBD helped reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures by an average of 39 percent.Another survey, involving 117 parents of children with severe epilepsy, found that CBD was extremely effective in reducing seizure frequency. Eighty-five percent of parents reported a significant reduction in seizure frequency. Fourteen percent even reported their children were seizure-free.
The Epilepsy Foundation has come out in support of CBD research and has acknowledged CBD’s potential as an effective treatment for epilepsy. Their official position is as follows: “We support lifting federal barriers to research on cannabis and CBD and support access to these potential therapies, through state-regulated programs, for individuals when other treatment options have failed.”
Perhaps one of the most famous stories of CBD’s effectiveness in alleviating epilepsy symptoms is that of Charlotte Figi. Charlotte began suffering from epileptic seizures at just three months old.
By the age of six, she was suffering more than 300 seizures each week. After several years of doctors trying to determine the underlying cause of Charlotte’s condition, she finally was diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome. Dravet Syndrome is a form of drug-resistant and treatment-resistant epilepsy.Desperate to find an effective therapy or treatment for their daughter, Charlotte’s parents began researching intensely. They happened upon a video of a young boy from California, who also suffered from Dravet Syndrome. In the video, he successfully was being treated with CBD. This gave Charlotte’s parents a newfound hope.
Around this time, Charlotte’s cognitive and bodily functions were declining rapidly. In fact, doctors had suggested putting her into a medically-induced coma. It was at this point Charlotte’s parents decided to give CBD a shot.
Charlotte’s results were incredible. At first, Charlotte went seizure-free for an entire hour, something previously unseen. Then, that increased to two hours seizure-free. Eventually, Charlotte went a whole week without a single seizure.
Given these incredible results, Charlotte’s parents contacted a cannabis grower in Colorado, who just so happened to have recently created a cannabis strain low in THC, yet high in CBD. This strain later was named Charlotte’s Web, in honor of Charlotte and her remarkable success, as well as the spider in the critically acclaimed book of the same name.
CBD has shown promising evidence as an effective therapy for epilepsy. It works with the body’s own ECS to offer anticonvulsant properties. Numerous studies have found CBD dramatically decreases seizure frequency, with some patients even becoming seizure-free.
→ For more information on how to dose CBD for epilepsy, click here.
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