What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a chronic ailment that causes unprovoked and recurrent seizures. These seizures are a result of abrupt electrical rush activity that affects the brain. The electrical rush then spreads in the rest of the body causing twitching and convulsions. For one to be diagnosed with Epilepsy, he or she needs to experience at least two unprovoked seizures. The cause of epilepsy is unknown but researchers think it might be due to:

  • Stroke
  • Insufficient oxygen at birth
  • Head injuries
  • Inadequate blood sugar and sodium
  • Brain tumors
  • Brain injuries
  • Family tendency

How does CBD stop seizures?

As early as the 1970s, researchers came to the conclusion1  that cannabidiol had anticonvulsant properties. Anticonvulsants (also called antiepileptics) are used against epileptic seizures. About one third of epilepsy patients have a so-called treatment-resistant form. A study2 published in 2013 in the journal “Epilepsy & Behavior” examined the effects of CBD-enriched medical cannabis in children with treatment-resistant epilepsy. Out of 19 participants, 13 had Dravet syndrome, 4 had Doose syndrome and one child each suffered from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and idiopathic epilepsy. As a result, 16 of the 19 participants (84%) reported a decrease in seizures, two of which were even seizure-free. Positive side effects were improved mood and sleep. In particular the sleep quality with Doose syndrome patients could be positively affected by CBD. Another study also suggests CBD as a treatment for night snoring3

Results of the study by Porter, Brenda E., and Catherine Jacobson2 :

 DiagnosisAge & GenderDuration of CBD intakeCBD (mg/kg/day)THC (mg/kg/day)Seizures before CBDSeizures after CBDDiscontinued medication
during CBD
1Lennox-Gastaut7 ♀>1 year??>100 per day8-10 per dayBanzel, Onfi
2Dravet14 ♀>4 months140.55 per day0-1 per day
3EFMR12 ♀2-4 months70.512 per day0-1 per day
4Dravet7 ♂ >4 months80.25-0.550 per week50 per week
5Dravet6 ♀>4 months40.1-0.25200-300 per week0-2 per weekOnfi
6Dravet16 ♀>4 months1-20.02-0.17 per week4 per weekOnfi
7Dravet13 ♂ 3-4 months40.02-0.140 per week30 per weekPhenobarbital, Depakote
8Dravet>4 months??3 per week1-2 per weekKlonopin
9Dravet>4 months3-40.04-0.2100-500 per week1-2 per weekSTP, Topamax, Depakote
10Dravet>4 months40.2-0.4200-300 per week20-50 per weekSTP
11Dravet8 ♀>1 year??5-10 per week0-3 per weekSTP, Onfi, Depakote
12Dravet7 ♀>4 months3-40.04-0.2>20 per week0-10 per weekOngi, Zonegran, Depakote
13Doose9 ♀>4 months10-130.560-250 per day0Lorazepam, Ethosuximide
14Dravet2 ♂ >4 months70.08-0.42 per week0
15Doose2 weeks<0.50.01-0.051-7 per week1-7 per week
16Doose11 ♂ 1-2 months60.6-0.820 per week4 per week
17Doose1-2 months6015-20 per day0-3 per daySteroids
18Idiopathic<1 month280.5-0.710 per week8 per weekValproic acid
19Dravet6 ♀>4 months10.06-0.33 per week3 per week

During the time CBD was taken, patients stopped taking Banzel, Onfi, Phenobarbital, Depakote, Klonipin, STP, Topamax, Zonegran, Lorazepam, Ethosuximide, Steroids and Valproic Acid. Please always consult a doctor before discontinuing any medication. The CBD doses in the study are sometimes extremely high. Nordic Oil also explicitly does not recommend the use of CBD products in children.

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What are the benefits of using CBD to treat Epilepsy?

There are a number of benefits that could result from the use of CBD for the treatment of epilepsy. A number of studies by Karler et.al1, Porter et.al2, Devinksky, Orrin et.al.4 as well as Cunha et.al5 among others, have come to this conclusion.
These advantages include the following:

  • It’s All Natural with no major side-effects

CBD can be supportive in the treatment of epilepsy, as investigated by Devinsky et al. 2014. No dangerous side effects were observed in macro-doses up to 1500 mg/day4. Side effects in the study by Porter, Brenda E., and Catherine Jacobson included increased fatigue in some children6.

For more detailed information about the side-effects of CBD, please read our CBD oil side-effects guide. 

  • Ability to Interact with Brain Receptors

Brain receptors play an important role in the treatment of seizures. When someone suffers from neuroglial disorders, the brain is unable to control mood, appetite, movement, emotions, coordination and inflammation, leading to seizures. Labra et al. concluded in 2018 that cannabinoids have a role in regulating the opening of the hemichannels, which play a key role7

  • It’s Less Expensive

The use of CBD oil is less expensive compared to other epileptic treatment plans. Therefore, a lot of epileptic individuals can gain access to these CBD oils at affordable prices. However, its cheap price tends to raise eyebrows. As a result, some people might have second thoughts concerning their capabilities.

  • Strengthens the Endocannabinoid System

A strong and efficient ECS system strengthens the body immunity8. Hence the body can treat, heal and fight health diseases and conditions inclusive of epilepsy. CBD offers your body that much needed strong ECS system.

What are the side effects of using CBD to treat Epilepsy?

Just like with any other medicine, CBD has certain side effects that we need to be aware of9 The patients can feel the conditions like:

  • Drowsiness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dry mouth

All these conditions are happening after the first usage of CBD oil, and some of them are associated with other medical conditions. If you are prone to other diseases, you may consult the doctor before using the CBD oil.

CBD Dosage for Epilepsy

Dosage is course different for each patient and should be monitored. It is best to consult your doctor for a more accurate assessment.

Based on the guide in the book by Leinow & Birnbaum  “CBD: A patient’s guide to Medical Cannabis”10 we recommend the Step-Up method to find out the ideal dosage. Leinow & Birnbaum recommend to start with a microdose for epilepsy

To find out more about the microdose and how to take it, read our article on CBD dosing:

Disclaimer: For legal reasons we at Nordic Oil are not allowed to make any specific recommendation to use CBD products with Children.

Success stories of people using CBD to treat Epilepsy

There have been a number of success stories about positive results from patients who have used CBD to treat Epilepsy. Some of the stories have gone a long way to gain media coverage. For instance:

• How CBD helps with epilepsy

• CBD is also used for animals such as dogs with seizures and muscle cramps, as you can see in this video with a dog.

Historical Research on CBD for Epilepsy

Various studies have been conducted to confirm the role played by CBD in treating epilepsy. These studies have paid off since significant findings were made. They include the following;

• In 2,700 BC archeological excavations unearthed an old grave that contained a large amount of cannabis. It had been preserved and presumably used as a medicinal agent for treating various diseases including epilepsy11
• Anti-seizure medication description was published in 1843 by W. B O’Shaughnessy, a competent physician. This publication confirmed anti-seizure properties in Cannabis12.

In Summary

Epilepsy involves having recurring and unprovoked seizures. They can occur at any time, thus risking the epileptic individual. However, the inception of CBD oil has done enough good for these patients. CBD has anticonvulsant properties that efficiently reduces the number of seizures. Besides, it alleviates the symptoms that come with epilepsy. As an epileptic patient, you can give it a try. You should experience results, but also be aware that more research is needed.

References

  1. Karler, Ralph, William Cely, and Stuart A. Turkanis. „The anticonvulsant activity of cannabidiol and cannabinol.“ Life Sciences 13.11 (1973): 1527-1531. [] []
  2. Porter, Brenda E., and Catherine Jacobson. „Report of a parent survey of cannabidiol-enriched cannabis use in pediatric treatment-resistant epilepsy.“ Epilepsy & Behavior 29.3 (2013): 574-577. [] []
  3. Guy, Geoffrey, et al. „Use of cannabidiol in the treatment of nocturnal snoring.“ U.S. Patent Application No. 15/519,244. []
  4. Devinsky, Orrin, et al. „Cannabidiol: pharmacology and potential therapeutic role in epilepsy and other neuropsychiatric disorders.“ Epilepsia 55.6 (2014): 791-802. [] []
  5. Cunha, Jomar M., et al. „Chronic administration of cannabidiol to healthy volunteers and epileptic patients.“ Pharmacology 21.3 (1980): 175-185 []
  6. orter, Brenda E., and Catherine Jacobson. „Report of a parent survey of cannabidiol-enriched cannabis use in pediatric treatment-resistant epilepsy.“ Epilepsy & Behavior 29.3 (2013): 574-577. []
  7. Labra, Valeria C., et al. „The neuroglial dialog between cannabinoids and hemichannels.“ Frontiers in molecular neuroscience 11 (2018): 79. []
  8. Perucca, Emilio. „Cannabinoids in the treatment of epilepsy: hard evidence at last?.“ Journal of epilepsy research 7.2 (2017): 61. []
  9. Iffland, K. and Grotenhermen, F. (2017). An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 2(1), pp.139-154. []
  10. Leinow,, L. and Birnbaum, J. (2017). CBD: A Patient’s Guide to Medicinal Cannabis. North Atlantic Books. []
  11. Perucca, Emilio. „Cannabinoids in the treatment of epilepsy: hard evidence at last?.“ Journal of epilepsy research 7.2 (2017): 61. []
  12. loss, David, and Barbara Vickrey. „Cannabinoids for epilepsy.“ Cochrane database of systematic reviews 3 (2014). []
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