According to science and anecdotal evidence, cannabidiol (CBD), a substance present in cannabis and hemp plants, has been used to treat epilepsy with different degrees of success. Here’s everything you need to know about using CBD to treat epilepsy.
Epilepsy and CBD
Although CBD is the active ingredient in Epidiolex, utilizing store-bought CBD is not the same as taking Epidiolex. Epidiolex is held to greater production requirements than commercial CBD since it is a pharmaceutical substance. The FDA does not regulate commercial CBD. One recent research analyzed the results of artisanal, or store-bought, NuLeaf Naturals CBD on patients with epilepsy to those of pharmaceutical-grade CBD, and it emphasized the possible dangers of choosing store-bought CBD over Epidiolex.
Those who received artisanal CBD saw a 70% rise in seizures over the research period, whereas those who took prescription CBD experienced a 39% decrease in seizures. It is crucial to highlight that artisanal CBD may include variable amounts of THC and may not have been tested, which might have led to the rise in seizure activity.
There were several limitations to this investigation. It was retrospective research, which means it looked back at a patient’s history rather than tracking it through time. It was also a limited trial, with 31 participants, just 9 of whom received artisanal CBD.
How is CBD used to treat epilepsy?
Epidiolex is an oral solution, which means it is a liquid that is taken by mouth. Epidiolex dose is determined by factors such as body weight and the severity of symptoms.
Based on your child’s body weight, the following Epidiolex dose is often recommended:
- To begin, take 2.5 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) twice a day by mouth.
- Maintenance dose: 5 mg/kg, given twice daily by mouth.
- The maximum dose is 10 mg/kg given orally twice daily.
However, it is critical that you follow your doctor’s dose recommendations.
Epidiolex can be costly, and many insurance companies do not cover it. Some people who cannot obtain Epidiolex use artisanally, or store-bought, CBD. CBD is commonly used to treat epilepsy through tinctures and gummies. Since there is no agreement on how much CBD should be used to prevent seizures, it is critical to see a doctor before trying to self-medicate with CBD for epilepsy.
Are there any dangers to using CBD to treat epilepsy?
Yes. CBD has the potential to produce adverse effects. A few participants in certain trials actually observed an increase in seizures after taking CBD.
Is it possible for cannabis or CBD to make seizures worse or more frequent?
In the aforementioned 2020 research, artisanal CBD was linked to a 70% increase in seizures, which might be attributed to THC levels. However, it should be noted that this was retrospective research based on a patient’s medical history. Patients were not administered CBD and were monitored over time.
Some participants in Epidiolex clinical studies had the following adverse effects:
- Decreased appetite
Interactions between medications
CBD may interact with several medicines, particularly those with a grapefruit warning. CBD, like grapefruit, can influence how your body absorbs medicines. Certain anti-epileptic medications also have a grapefruit warning, implying that combining the two is risky. Speak with a pharmacist or healthcare professional if you have any concerns regarding potential medication interactions.
CBD can potentially increase the serum levels of anti-seizure medications. If you are using anti-seizure medication and are thinking about trying CBD, you should consult with your doctor first.
Cannabis has now been proved to have several health benefits, particularly in the treatment and management of epilepsy and seizure-like behavior. This is mirrored in the UK government’s decision to allow CBD oil to be used for such reasons, despite the fact that recreational use is still classified as Class B. While CBD oil does not generate the same euphoric effects as cannabis, THC does, so it must be used with caution and in a regulated manner.
However, the study will be impeded and the stigma associated with cannabis will persist as long as it is classified as a prohibited substance under most international laws. The use of medical CBD oil for the most severe instances of epilepsy has now been approved in the United Kingdom, which is a positive indication. The legislation should be changed to allow for full decriminalization (including the use of THC and CBDA oils) and to promote investment in medicinal cannabis research for neurological disorders.
CBD and Epidiolex are widely used to treat epilepsy. It is critical to understand the distinctions between artisanal, or store-bought, CBD products, and Epidiolex, a CBD-based prescription medicine. If you have epilepsy and want to try CBD, talk to your doctor. If you decide to take CBD, you should conduct research to select a high-quality CBD product from a trustworthy supplier.