Seizures are scary occurrence whether having just experienced one or multiple. Their unpredictability, sudden onset, and a rash of symptoms associated with them make seizures a serious condition.
There are several causes of seizures but they are all the result of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. One of the most common causes of recurring seizures is epilepsy. This seizure condition is chronic and can severely alter a person’s quality of life and nearly 50 million people around the world face this diagnosis.
Epilepsy can be treated in a few ways and the specific treatment depends primarily on the manifestation of symptoms. However, there is growing evidence that an untraditional method of treatment is proving to be effective; CBD oil.
CBD oil for seizure can be a positive alternative for many patients facing epileptic seizures especially those wishing to avoid the side effects of traditional treatment methods.
What Is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a condition that occurs in the brain resulting in recurrent seizures and affects millions of individuals. There are two primary forms of epilepsy; generalized and focal. The difference between the two is in the amount of the brain that is impacted.
With generalized seizures, the whole brain is affected while just part of the brain is affected by focal seizures.
What Causes Epilepsy?
While epilepsy can be the result of many causes there are a few primary causes such as brain injury, abnormal blood vessels in the brain, infections, dementia, stroke and genetic predisposition. Unfortunately, 60 percent of epilepsy patients cannot determine the cause of their seizures.
Determining the patient’s specific trigger for their epileptic seizures can be helpful in reducing the number of seizures they experience. Fever, lack of sleep, high stress, bright flashing lights or patterns can all lead to seizures among epilepsy patients. There are food and related triggers as well as skipping meals or overeating or caffeine and alcohol consumption.
Epilepsy is connected to nearly 500 genes which can lead to an individual being more susceptible to epileptic seizures. A person with a low seizure threshold inherited from their family will make them more likely to have seizures.
However, the majority of parents who have epilepsy do not have children with the seizure disorder.
What Are The Symptoms Of Epilepsy?
Each epilepsy patient may experience their own unique set of symptoms. The beginning of a seizure may start as a calm starring spell or for others may lead to violent convulsions. Some individuals may experience specific sensations prior to the onset of their seizure such as tingling, auras, or smells.
Symptoms are generally epilepsy type specific. An absence seizure, also known as petit mal seizure, is associated with staring spells. The seizure that most people think of, grand mal or generalized tonic-clonic, is more noticeable in that it results in convulsions, auras, muscle rigidity, and loss of alertness.
The focal, or partial seizures can resemble any of the previously listed symptoms depending on where it is located it the brain.
The Problems With Seizures Medication
Anti-seizure medications are commonly prescribed for epileptic seizure treatment along with lifestyle changes and potential surgery. Anti-epileptic drugs have some potential risks. It can be difficult for female epilepsy patients in childbearing years and many of these medications cause birth defects.
Bone health can also be seriously impacted by this line of medication requiring it necessary to take supplements to prevent bone loss.
Refractory epilepsy, also known as drug-resistant or intractable epilepsy, is a form of epilepsy that is not managed adequately through medication. Generally, this form of epilepsy has to be treated via surgery, which is elective surgery. Even with surgery, there is only a 50 to 90 percent chance that seizure frequency will decrease.
It can be difficult to determine the type and dosage of seizure medication for epilepsy patients. Because of this many will have to go through weeks and months of trial and error to find what works best for their symptoms.
This results in epilepsy patients enduring potentially unnecessary seizures that could have been avoided had they considered an alternative; CBD oil for seizure treatment.
The Natural Alternative Could Be CBD Oil
With the risks of medication and the seriousness of surgery as a form of epilepsy treatment, it is becoming more necessary to develop new methods of treatment. While there are many traditional medical options and drugs natural alternatives are being researched.
Medical marijuana, particularly CBD products, are being investigated for their anti-convulsive properties.
CBD oil is made from the part of the cannabis plant that does not contain THC, tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the compound in marijuana that is responsible for the psychoactive effect. CBD oil, which is short for cannabidiol oil is made from industrial hemp and can be used as medical cannabis.
It is recommended that medical cannabis oil is only used in children who are not responding to traditional medication, are not surgery candidates, and who have not seen improvement with the ketogenic diet.
How Does CBD Oil Help With Seizures?
Because of the often ineffectiveness of traditional anticonvulsant drugs many epilepsy patients are turning to CBD products. Cannabidiol oil works by targeting the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Cannabinoids are able to decrease seizure activity by activating the brain’s CB1 receptors.
These receptors are located in the memory portion of the brain.
CBD Oil Has Anticonvulsant Properties
Medical marijuana has anticonvulsant properties as well. THC is a well-known compound in marijuana, but it’s not the primary compound responsible for its anticonvulsant properties. In fact, THC may also be linked to causing seizures. Cannabidiol is the chemical that claims this benefit. When using CBD cannabidiol for epilepsy seizure treatment it works to prevent these convulsive seizures.
CBD Helps With Rare Type Of Epilepsy
The British Paediatric Neurology Association (BPNA) has done extensive research on the benefits of CBD oil for seizure treatment. BPNA has specifically found that seizures from rare forms of epilepsy, like Dravet and Lennox Gastaut syndromes, may be reduced from the use of cannabidiol oil.
During the research, three double-blind randomized control trials were conducted on children with convulsive epilepsy. The double-blind placebo control group had a lesser reduction in seizures than the children not in the placebo group.
A 2017 study was conducted looking at the effectiveness of an experimental CBD hemp oil medication and its effects on epileptic seizures. This drug, Epidiolex, is manufactured by GW Pharmaceutical
Specific Doses Of CBD Are Used For Seizures
The previously referenced study gave great insight to proper dosing of CBD oil for seizures. They utilized 20mg per kg of body weight doses twice a day, 10mg per kg of body weight doses twice a day, and a placebo group.
The director of NYU Langone’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center Dr. Orrin Devinsky, suggests that less is more when it comes to using CBD oil for seizure treatment. When treating epilepsy patients 10mg of medicinal grade CBD oil showed they experienced just as much of a reduction in seizures as did those treated with 20mg of the same CBD oil.
Epidiolex, the drug studies in the trial, contains 100mg/ml of CBD oil dissolved in a solution of sesame oil, flavoring, ethanol, and a sweetener. This is a relatively high CBD concentration and is the most effective dosage of CBD oil for seizure treatment.
Using CBD For Seizures Is Becoming Popular
CBD oil for seizures is growing in popularity among the general public and health professionals alike. The Epilepsy Foundation in the United States is actively working for the legalization of medical cannabis as an alternative drug for epilepsy treatment.
In Indiana epilepsy patients who have severe epilepsy that is unable to be treated or reduced by traditional drugs may be able to legally use CBD oil for seizure treatment.
The Children’s Hospital of Colorado is busy conducting studies on the effects of cannabidiol on children experiencing seizures. Because epilepsy is as variable as it is more studies are needed to determine the exact effect on specific forms of epilepsy.
FDA Approves CBD Oil For Seizures
Because of this study and others, the Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of CBD oil for seizure treatment as of June 2018. Epidiolex, the drug being studied, was the medication approved to treat epileptic seizures. It does not contain THC and is recommended to treat seizures among patients two years old and older.
The Future Of CBD As A Treatment For Seizures
The FDA’s approval of the medicinal CBD oil, Epidiolex, for seizure treatment was a groundbreaking decision in the course of CBD hemp oil in the medical world. While the road is still long and additional research needs to be conducted to determine the best dosage, type, and what works best for specific forms of epilepsy the beginning of this road looks hopeful.
This medical condition shows a bright start to where medicinal CBD oil can be used in medicine. Epilepsy is only the beginning of where cannabidiol oil can be approved and used to treat medical conditions.
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