Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that is characterized by the onset of seizures. The frequency and severity of the seizures will vary from person to person, and there are various types of the disorder that someone can have. You may only develop it as an adult, or you can develop it from a younger age.
There is no cure for this disorder, but there are treatments or medication that you can take to reduce the frequency or strength of the seizures. However, not all treatments or medication will be as effective for everyone who has epilepsy. A patient who is epileptic may have to try each kind in order to determine what helps cut down on their symptoms the most.
A new treatment method that research has discovered relatively recently is cannabidiol (CBD). Medication-strength CBD is becoming a more common way to treat people who have epilepsy, and in some cases can completely replace any other medication or treatments with dramatic results.
What Is Cannabidiol (CBD)?
CBD is a chemical compound that is found in cannabis plants, including marijuana and hemp. It can be extracted from cannabis into CBD oil, and it can also be refined to different levels of concentration and potency. CBD as a compound is part of a family of similar compounds in cannabis known as cannabinoids. Another compound is THC, which is the element in marijuana that makes you high. However, CBD by itself contains no psychoactive properties and does not make you feel high.
How Does CBD Work?
Through various clinical studies and research, CBD has been found to interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that is found throughout our brain and nervous system. Specifically, CBD has been found to bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the ECS that regulate a lot of elements in our body, including things like memory, sleep, pain, and more.
It has been found to help with a variety of neurological issues, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and potentially Alzheimer’s. Some research has also found that it can help with people who suffer seizure disorders, such as epilepsy.
Can CBD Help With Epilepsy?
Several clinical studies have been performed to test the efficacy of CBD of various strengths to reduce seizure activity in a variety of people with some type of epilepsy. In general, the results have shown that it can help both as a supplement to some medications and treatments, and as its own medication in higher concentrations.
One study published in 2017 found that “improvement in seizure control, often associated with additional benefits on sleep and behaviour, have been reported in a sizable proportion of cases”. Furthermore, medication-strength CBD has been found to be much more effective at reducing seizures than regular CBD you can buy from the store.
Anyone who has epilepsy should always speak with their doctor before trying CBD. Some people in these studies had adverse side effects when it interacted with their other medication, and it has also been shown not to help everyone with epilepsy — much like all other treatments, its effectiveness varies from person to person.
Nonetheless, the potential for CBD as a treatment for epileptics including in children and teenagers will have a big impact on the future market of medication-grade CBD. There are still more major clinical trials and research that are being planned or already underway into how CBD can help epilepsy, and how it works. The more that is known about it, the easier it will be for epileptics to use it as a treatment if it works for them.