There's a lot of debating in the medical community as to whether or not CBD (cannabidiol) oil can treat epilepsy and seizures. But many people suffering from these medical conditions have consumed CBD oil and claimed that it has reduced their seizures tremendously. Remember that CBD is one of the oils found in a cannabis plant; unlike THC, however, CBD does not cause any psychoactive effects.
Our bodies have what are known as “cannabinoid receptors,” which are part of the brain’s endocannabinoid system. This system is what regulates many of the physiological processes in the brain such as mood, memory, the sensation of pain, and appetite. CBD oil, which is a cannabinoid, interacts with this system of receptors.
Epileptic seizures are caused by damage to these cannabinoid receptors, and the CBD, which interacts with the receptors, is believed to soothe the damage and result in reduced seizure symptoms. However, the scientific community has not produced any definitive proof that this is accurate. The only proof is the testimony of people who have epilepsy and have taken CBD oil.
Quick Answers About CBD Oil for Epilepsy
Is CBD oil an effective treatment for epilepsy?
While some studies have pointed to CBD oil as an effective treatment for epilepsy, CBD is not unanimously supported as an effective treatment. While some FDA-approved drugs contain CBD oil, CBD oil itself is not an FDA-approved ingredient.
What are the side effects of CBD oil?
There are a few mild side effects of CBD oil, including diarrhea, sleepiness, decreased appetite, and fatigue. More than 10% of CBD oil users have reported side effects. The majority of these side effects are mild and go away quickly.
The Study of Epidiolex
In the U.S., the pharmaceutical industry has released a new medication for seizure treatment called Epidiolex. This is a prescription drug created by GW Pharmaceuticals from CBD oil. It contains 99% CBD oil extract in each dose.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given permission to epilepsy clinics to give Epidiolex to a limited number of patients who are suffering from their symptoms.
According to a recent open-label study, 137 out of 213 patients with epilepsy who were on the drug for longer than 12 weeks have claimed that it helped to reduce their seizures. This was after trying other conventional treatments and not seeing any results. The results of this study were presented on April 22nd, 2015 to the American Academy of Neurology.
Epilepsy and Seizures Treatment and the Potential Side Effects of CBD Oil
As mentioned before, there are no psychoactive effects you’ll have to worry about with CBD oil. There are, however, a few mild side effects that you should know about. More than 10% of CBD oil users have reported symptoms such as diarrhea, sleepiness, decreased appetite, and fatigue.
The majority of these side effects, however, are quite mild and go away quickly. There have been two reported deaths of epilepsy patients who were taking the oil, but it is unclear whether the deaths were related to CBD use.
If a person is taking other seizure medications in addition to the CBD oil, it could elevate their blood pressure levels considerably. It's recommended to get a doctor's approval before taking CBD oil, because you don’t know how it will interact with other medication.
Future Research and Development
So what's holding back CBD oil back from becoming a nationally accepted treatment for patients suffering from epilepsy and seizures?
The lack of scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of CBD is the primary obstacle to its widespread use. Although the FDA authorizes its use on a limited basis, CBD oil is still not an official FDA-approved treatment. The only way it will ever be approved is if more scientific research is done which shows that CBD oil does, in fact, reduce seizures in epileptic patients.
There is an organization called CURE (Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy) which promotes research into the effectiveness of CBD for people with epilepsy. CURE's primary focus is to prove the positive effects it has, particularly for children. Again, since CBD oil is non-psychoactive, it will not get the patient high like traditional marijuana or THC would.
However, many parents are not yet convinced of the long-term safety of CBD oil. Many believe that CBD oil could cause children cognitive problems or psychiatric disorders later on in life. That’s why it is important to research the effects that CBD oil has on children. If it turns out there are no harmful effects, then parents may feel better allowing their children to take it as treatment.