CBD for Epilepsy
Was domesticated more than 6000 years ago in China. It happened long time ago. So, another interesting fact is that cannabis and its derivatives have been documented for anti-epileptic effects since 1881. As CBD is used more widely now and more countries legalized it, some people still can’t fully use it. For example, there are increasing reports of CBD being used by parents, to treat seizure disorders in their children. Parents are prepared to move to the countries where it is legal, just to have safe access to medicinal products containing cannabidiol. CBD for Epilepsy seems to be working.
This choice to treat seizures isn’t new. THC molecule has been clinically studied in children with seizure disorders and it seems to be promising.
CBD is becoming more popular than THC, as it appears to provide relief, but doesn’t cause a “High” feeling. CBD acts on receptors that differ from those of THC. The new clinical study of CBD for Epilepsy was approved by the FDA. Unfortunately, it is still unclear, how this drug works. Also, we still don’t know a molecular mechanism that could completely explain the effect of CBD has not yet come up (Still, one doctor said at a recent meeting at NYU “Doctors don’t treat molecular mechanisms, they treat people”).
A ballpark figure of 50 million people worldwide lives day-to-day with epilepsy. It’s a neurological condition that involves recurring seizures. Generally speaking, it’s one of the most common neurological diseases globally. Epilepsy limits or makes daily tasks challenging. For example, taking care of children, making dinner, even driving, or maintaining a job and especially a stable career can be really challenging for people who suffer from seizures. In more harsh cases, patient’s aspects of life can become so low that they encounter clinical depression or even anxiety in anticipation of the next seizure.
Seizures are evoked by irregular electrical discharges, or misfiring, among our brain cells. The irregular electrical discharges result in convulsions of the body, also in the loss of consciousness, and occasionally severely altered senses. Epilepsy itself might be caused by so many reasons. For instance, head injuries, hormonal imbalance, or viruses. Important to realize, that the cause of epilepsy sometimes is simply unknown.
CBD for Epilepsy
There are few theories, that seem to explain, or at least give an idea, of how CBD affects our body. We’ll have a look into two of them.
The first one supports a theory, that CBD has a role in the Hippocampus. Hippocampus is a core in the brain for the exchange of information. When this exchange of information is disrupted, epilepsy might occur.
Have you ever heard of NMDA? This is a second theory. NMDA receptors perform a major role in our learning and memory. Cannabinoids have a protective effect throughout those NMDA receptors, or simply proteins and might even have a distinct or “special” site of interaction.
Regular Treatments for Epilepsy
Typically, patients with this condition have been prescribed for one or more anticonvulsants. In this category of pharmaceutical drugs come “phenobarbital”, “valproic acid”, “ethosuximide”, “phenytoin”, “primidone”, “clonazepam”. The main problem with these drugs is, that they are often-times nearly ineffective and comes with a number of unfavorable side effects. With this in mind, many patients decide to look for other solutions like CBD products.
Probably, most of us would do the same thing if normal pharmaceutical therapies fail or if it provides too much discomfort, or even suffering. The unwanted side effects can consist of nausea, headaches, liver failure, loss of hair, double vision, sleep disturbances, weight gain, depression, sedation, slurring of speech, mood disturbances, or impotence.
Point often overlooked, that nearly 30% of people with this clinical condition are resistant to typical anticonvulsant drug treatment. In this case, people are making the use of alternative treatments like CBD for seizures more relevant.
CBD and THC
Surprisingly, but clinical studies with CBD have been going since 1978. Although, there is only a small number of studies, that examined CBD alone in the last 30 years. The best-known combination of CBD and THC was involved in many clinical trials, known as the drug “Sativex”.
There have been some up to date reports of CBD published in the scientific literature and on CNN.
There was a report about THC for epilepsy. 5 institutionalized children have been treated with THC and results were unexpected: One of five was completely free of seizures, one almost seizure-free and the rest three kids didn’t experience any significant change.
Another clinical study that took place in 1980 was even better: From 8 patients, half remained almost free of convulsive crises throughout the experiment and 3 patients were showing partial improvement in their condition. There was 1 patient, that didn’t have any changes. Also, there were 8 placebo patients. 7 of them remained completely unchanged and the condition of 1 patient clearly improved.
A bit more...
On the negative side, there is just a decent amount of information known about the potential therapeutic benefits of CBD from limited clinical trials, but on the positive side, there is a lot of information from hospitals, patients and parents, as well as plenty of animal data.
With this in mind, it is safe to say, that there is enough evidence to support many larger-scale clinical trials with CBD. Most importantly, it is non-toxic and broadly tolerated in clinical studies and other reports. Sadly, the number of patients given pure CBD is small and those studies are typically short in continuation. These factors prevent dominant medicine from outlining any reliable conclusions about the effectiveness of cannabinoids for epilepsy.
There are more than 5 million Americans who suffer from epilepsy.
CBD is helping for so many patients, including children with seizure disorders.
THCA, the unheated form of THC, and linalool, which is an aromatic terpene present in many varieties of cannabis, are compelling anticonvulsant compounds.
Often, epileptic patients must experiment with different cannabis products to find the best remedy for their condition.
The opinions and views that were expressed are those of the author and it doesn’t necessarily represent any university, business or affiliates. While the information provided in this blog is from published scientific studies it is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. Always consult your doctor.