Also known as Epilepsy, seizure disorders affect more than 50 million people worldwide. Because seizure disorders cannot be cured, they are typically treated with cocktail of prescription medication like sedatives, anti-convulsants, and nerve pain medication. The trouble with all this medication it is not guaranteed to help and often carries with it a long list of side effects, which can really hamper one’s quality of life.
This is why so many people, including children, have turned to CBD for natural, plant based relief from seizures and epilepsy. Whether you suffer from general epilepsy or a specific disease like Dravet syndrome, CBD can greatly reduce the number of seizures you experience with minimal side effects.
One of the reasons CBD became so popular is because of its effectiveness in treating seizures, specifically in children. You’ve probably even seen the story on the news—a child is plagued with constant seizures and taking dozens of medications to try and stop the seizures—none of which work until they try some CBD tinctures and then boom! No more seizures. How is this possible?
In this section, we’ll look at a series of medical studies that have been performed over the past forty years. These studies evaluated CBD’s medical efficacy in treating those who suffer from various types of seizures.
A 1980 study looked at 15 patients suffering from generalized epilepsy with a temporal focus and divided them into two groups. Each patient received, in a double-blind procedure, 200-300 mg daily of CBD or placebo. The drugs were administered for as long as 4 1/2 months. Throughout the experiment the patients continued to take the antiepileptic drugs prescribed before the experiment, although these drugs no longer controlled the signs of the disease. All patients and volunteers tolerated CBD very well and no signs of toxicity or serious side effects were detected on examination. 4 of the 8 CBD subjects remained almost free of convulsive crises throughout the experiment and 3 other patients demonstrated partial improvement in their clinical condition, whereas only one placebo patient improved.
A 1981 study concluded the anti-convulsant nature of cannabidiol suggests that it has a therapeutic potential in at least three of the four major types of epilepsy: grand mal, cortical focal, and complex partial seizures.
A 2012 study evaluated CBD’s effect on animals suffering from seizures. CBD reduced both the amount of animals suffering from seizures as well as the number of deaths as a result of seizures. These results extend the anti-convulsant profile of CBD; when combined with a reported absence of psychoactive effects, this evidence strongly supports CBD as a therapeutic candidate for a diverse range of human epilepsies.
A 2013 study surveyed the parents of children suffering from treatment-resistant epilepsy. The survey explored the use of CBD as a form of alternative treatment for children suffering from epilepsy. Thirteen children had Dravet syndrome, four had Doose syndrome, and one each had Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and idiopathic epilepsy. The average number of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) tried before using cannabidiol-enriched cannabis was 12. Sixteen (84%) of the 19 parents reported a reduction in their child’s seizure frequency while taking cannabidiol-enriched cannabis. Of these, two (11%) reported complete seizure freedom, eight (42%) reported a greater than 80% reduction in seizure frequency, and six (32%) reported a 25-60% seizure reduction. Other beneficial effects included increased alertness, better mood, and improved sleep.
A 2014 study simply stated exogenous [plant-based] cannabinoids can limit seizures and neurodegeneration, and their actions are largely mimicked by endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids).
Another 2014 study set out to test whether the anticonvulsant effects of the CBD observed on a behavioral level are actually occurring at a molecular level. The study concluded molecular evidence that directly supports behavioral evidence that CBDV exerts significant anti-convulsant effects via oral and other routes of administration.
A 2106 study evaluated CBD’s effectiveness in treating epileptic related behaviors. Cannabidiol (100 ng, intracerebroventricular injection) delayed the chronic phase of epilepsy. Single administration of cannabidiol during the chronic phase of seizure significantly diminished seizure scores [symptoms]. In short, the results suggest that post-treatment of Cannabidiol could enhance the induction of autophagy pathway and antioxidant defense in the chronic phase of epilepsy, which could be considered as the protective mechanisms of cannabidiol in a temporal lobe epilepsy model.
Also in 2016 ,structured online surveys were used to explore the experiences of the parents of children with refractory epilepsy using medicinal cannabis in Mexico. The parents reported a decrease in convulsions when cannabidiol was used in 81.3% of the cases; a moderate to significant decrease occurred in 51% of cases, and 16% of cases were free from seizure. The number of antiepileptic drugs being used was reduced in 9/43 (20.9%) cases. No serious adverse effects were reported.
2017 a study reported anticonvulsant and neuroprotective effects of CBD preventive treatment in the intrahippocampal pilocarpine epilepsy model, either as single or multiple administrations, reinforcing the potential role of CBD in the treatment of epileptic disorders.
As suggested by the studies above, CBD is extremely effective in reducing the frequency and intensity of seizures caused by epilepsy and other conditions.
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Hosseinzadeh, M., Nikseresht, S., Khodagholi, F., Naderi, N., & Maghsoudi, N. (2016, January 06). Cannabidiol Post-Treatment Alleviates Rat Epileptic-Related Behaviors and Activates Hippocampal Cell Autophagy Pathway Along with Antioxidant Defense in Chronic Phase of Pilocarpine-Induced Seizure. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12031-015-0703-6
Aguirre-Velázquez, C. G. (2017, March). Report from a Survey of Parents Regarding the Use of Cannabidiol (Medicinal cannabis) in Mexican Children with Refractory Epilepsy. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28392943
Do, R. A., Peixoto-Santos, J. E., Kandratavicius, L., De, J. B., Esteves, I., De, B. S., Leite, J. P. (2017, March 17). Protective Effects of Cannabidiol against Seizures and Neuronal Death in a Rat Model of Mesial Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28367124