What Studies say about CBD and Epilepsy
In recent years we’ve been turning to cannabis in a way we never have before, to actually act as a medicine of sorts for a variety of symptoms. For epilepsy specifically, there haven’t been many studies over the years on cannabis as a treatment, but in recent years studies have popped up that have recorded the effects of CBD on patients with epilepsy.
How does CBD help with seizures?
Seizures are irregular misfirings of the electrical impulses in your brain, whether it’s due to trauma, a virus, or a hormonal imbalance. Of course, there are plenty of antiepileptic medications on the market today, but the problem with a lot of them is that they can be relatively ineffective in stopping the seizures and can also come with a whole host of negative side effects.
So how can CBD help? CBD being the non-psychoactive brother to THC triggers your body to release natural cannabinoids which then bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in your brain which in turn affect how nerves in your brain send signals.
So what do the studies find?
A study published in 2015 recorded data from 10 epilepsy enters with 213 patients (mean age 10.8) with various forms of epilepsy including DS and LGS syndromes, Aicardi syndrome, and Doose syndrome. In the study, the patients were given 200-300 mg of CBD a day. After a 12 week period, the patients showed seizure reduction at around 50%. The conclusion of this study was as follows: “These studies suggest that CBD avoids the psychoactive effects of the endocannabinoid system to provide a well-tolerated, promising therapeutic for the treatment of seizures, while whole-plant cannabis can both contribute to and reduce seizures”.
Another study published in 2017 recorded data from 23 epilepsy centers in the USA and Europe with 120 patients (mean age 9.8) with Dravet syndrome. In the study, the patients were given 20 mg of CBD a day in two doses. After 14 weeks and a 2 week titration period, the patients showed a median monthly seizure reduction frequency of 50% with median seizure reduction percentages ranging from 37% to 44%. The conclusion to this study was as follows: “In these studies, CBD was found to be superior to placebo in reducing the frequency of convulsive (tonic-clonic, tonic, clonic, and atonic) seizures in patients with Dravet syndrome, and the frequency of drop seizures in patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. For the first time, there is now class 1 evidence that adjunctive use of CBD improves seizure control in patients with specific epilepsy syndromes.”
Of course, it should be said that these studies also showed the negative effects that CBD can have which were reported in 75% of patients ranging from diarrhea, nausea, loss of appetite, and drowsiness. These side effects aren’t often severe, however, and most of the more intense side effects don’t usually occur during use. However, as the studies show, it clearly has an impact on the way your brain works in such a way that it can lessen the frequency of seizures in at-risk patients. Of course, we are still in the early years of deciphering how we can use CBD to our fullest advantage in the medical field, so there are going to have to be a lot more studies done to fully understand how we can use it for epilepsy and so much more. With our current knowledge, however, it’s looking like those studies will be in it’s favor.
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