CBD for Epilepsy

Exploring Natural Seizure Management

Disclaimer: The anecdotal benefits of CBD mentioned on this website are based on preliminary research and individual user experiences. All information presented here is not meant to substitute for or replace information from health care practitioners.  Please click here for our full disclaimer, including side effects, FTC position, etc.

Millions of people with epilepsy struggle to find effective treatments, with many experiencing side effects or inadequate seizure control from traditional medications.

CBD for Epilepsy. A serene, peaceful setting with a person taking a dose of CBD oil to manage their epilepsy symptoms. The atmosphere is calming and hopeful, with a sense of relief and comfort

If you or a loved one is among the 50 million people worldwide affected by epilepsy, you know firsthand the challenges of managing this neurological disorder. The search for effective treatments can feel like an uphill battle, as conventional medications often come with a host of side effects and may not adequately control seizures for everyone. But what if there was a natural compound that could offer hope?

Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, has garnered significant attention for its potential neuropsychiatric benefits. Recent studies suggest that CBD may help reduce seizure frequency and severity in some individuals with epilepsy, providing a glimmer of hope for those seeking alternative or complementary therapies.

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the science behind CBD’s potential anti-epileptic properties and explore how this remarkable compound may help revolutionize epilepsy treatment.

Understanding Epilepsy and CBD

A person with epilepsy finding relief with CBD oil, surrounded by calming colors and a sense of peace

Epilepsy is a neurological condition characterized by recurrent seizures, and CBD has emerged as a potential treatment option for certain epilepsy syndromes. This section explores the relationship between epilepsy and cannabidiol (CBD).

The Science of Epilepsy

Epilepsy encompasses a variety of etiologies that cause chronic and unprovoked seizures. These can range from generalized seizures affecting the entire brain, such as tonic-clonic and atonic seizures, to more localized or focal seizures.

Conditions like Dravet syndrome (DS), Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), and tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) are examples of severe childhood-onset epilepsies that are often resistant to standard anticonvulsant medications. In some cases, seizures are so frequent and intense that they severely impair the quality of life.

Efficacy of CBD for Seizure Control

Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound derived from Cannabis sativa, has demonstrated anticonvulsant effects in clinical trials.

Particularly for treatment-resistant forms of epilepsy such as DS and LGS, evidence suggests that CBD oil may reduce the frequency and intensity of seizures.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Epidiolex, a purified form of CBD oil, as a treatment for seizures associated with DS, LGS, and TSC. It highlights CBD’s role as a legitimate option in drug-resistant epilepsy treatment strategies.

Role of Cannabis and Cannabinoids

While cannabis has many components, it is the cannabinoids—specifically CBD—that have shown promising results in the management of epilepsy.

Cannabis has been used historically in various cultures for its medicinal properties; however, it is only in recent times that the scientific community has begun to unpack its potential therapeutic benefits for neurological disorders.

The effects of CBD are distinct from the psychoactive effects associated with THC, another cannabinoid, which means CBD can be used therapeutically without causing the ‘high’ typically associated with cannabis use.

“The current study showed that the frequency of any grade AEs in patients with epilepsy was more than 2 times higher for those receiving CBD than for those receiving placebo.” – Adverse Events of Cannabidiol Use in Patients With Epilepsy


Using CBD for Epilepsy Treatment

cbd for epilepsy 3

Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, has emerged as a significant player in the management of epilepsy. Beyond traditional treatments, CBD offers hope for seizure control, particularly in treatment-resistant cases, with FDA-approved options illustrating its medical legitimacy.

FDA-Approved Treatment Options

Epidiolex is the standout CBD-based medication that has received FDA approval for treating seizures associated with two severe forms of epilepsy: Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

Authorized in 2018, this pure CBD product underwent rigorous randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies to establish its efficacy and safety profile for seizure control.

Cannabidiol Dosage and Administration

The dosage of Epidiolex, and other CBD formulations for epilepsy, must be carefully calibrated by a physician. Patients typically start with a lower dose, which is gradually increased to avoid potential side effects. This substance can be taken orally, with or without food. It’s vital for patients to follow their doctor’s guidelines on dosage to ensure the best outcomes.

Navigating Side Effects and Drug Interactions

While CBD is known for its relatively safe profile, it can cause side effects such as drowsiness, diarrhoea, and appetite changes. Monitoring liver enzymes is necessary since CBD can elevate their levels. Patients should discuss the possible drug interactions between CBD and other anti-seizure medications they’re taking with their neurologist.

TreatmentEfficacyCommon Side Effects
Cannabidiol (CBD)In a study, CBD reduced seizure frequency by 50% or more in 43% of patients with Dravet syndrome and 40% of patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. SourceSomnolence, decreased appetite, diarrhea, fatigue, and convulsion. Source
Conventional Anti-Epileptic Drugs (AEDs)Conventional AEDs provide seizure control for approximately 60-70% of patients. SourceDizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, nausea, and blurred vision, depending on the specific drug. Source
Please note that while CBD shows promise as an adjunctive therapy for certain types of epilepsy, it should not be considered a replacement for conventional AEDs without consulting a healthcare professional. The efficacy and side effects may vary depending on individual factors and the specific type of epilepsy being treated.

Quality of Life Considerations

For many, the use of CBD has led to an improvement in quality of life. Benefits reported anecdotally and in some studies include better sleep, reduced anxiety and depression, and an overall enhancement in daily functioning. Despite these positive outcomes, individuals must weigh these against the cost of treatment and the need for ongoing medical supervision to manage any adverse effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

When exploring the use of CBD for epilepsy, people often have specific questions regarding its interaction with medications, the most effective forms, proper dosages, and potential side effects. Research provides insights into these concerns, offering guidance for those considering CBD as a treatment option.

How does CBD interact with other epilepsy medications?

CBD may affect how the body processes certain epilepsy medications, which can impact their effectiveness and safety. Individuals should consult with their healthcare team before combining CBD with other medications to ensure safe and coordinated care.

Are there specific forms of CBD that are more effective for seizure control?

Epidiolex is the only FDA-approved medication containing CBD to treat seizures in certain forms of epilepsy. Research suggests that consistent dosing and purity of CBD products are crucial for effectiveness, making pharmaceutical-grade products like Epidiolex more reliable for seizure control.

What dosages of CBD have been found to be effective for epilepsy?

Specific dosages of CBD can vary depending on the severity and type of epilepsy. Clinical trials of Epidiolex started with a dose of 2.5 mg/kg twice a day, with increases up to 5 mg/kg or higher if tolerated and needed. However, dosing should always be determined by a healthcare professional.

Can CBD oil help with managing seizures associated with epilepsy?

Studies show that CBD oil has been beneficial for some individuals in managing seizures associated with epilepsy. It is especially considered in cases where traditional anti-seizure medications are ineffective or cause severe side effects.

What are the potential side effects of using CBD for epilepsy treatment?

While many users tolerate CBD well, some may experience adverse effects such as drowsiness, decreased appetite, diarrhea, and elevated liver enzymes. Monitoring under healthcare supervision is important to manage any potential side effects.

Is there any research on CBD’s effectiveness for children with epilepsy?

Significant research indicates that CBD can reduce the frequency of seizures in pediatric epilepsy syndromes. Studies on CBD’s effectiveness for children show this. These syndromes include Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Parents should only use CBD for their children under the guidance of a healthcare professional.