Introduction: CBD for Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a spectrum of seizure disorders occurring in both children and adults. According to the Epilepsy Foundation¹, about 3.4 million people in the U.S. have epilepsy. One in 26 people is expected to develop epilepsy within their lifetime. These conditions are unpredictable and can be difficult to find relief.
Research continues to better identify the causes of and possible solutions for epilepsy. One such option for people suffering from epilepsy is CBD (cannabidiol). While CBD itself has grown in popularity, there’s still much to understand in terms of its effects and benefits for epilepsy.
Epilepsy causes recurrent and unpredictable seizures. These seizures can affect the entire body and are caused by electrical pulses inside the brain. Not only can this pose a danger to your safety, but it can also cause harm to your brain. To be diagnosed with epilepsy, you will likely have had two seizures with unknown causes, according to the Epilepsy Foundation¹.
Epidiolex – An FDA approved CBD Drug
So far, the FDA has approved one CBD drug for seizures, Epidiolex, which is 99% CBD. Epidiolex is used for two different epileptic syndromes: Dravets and Lennox-Gastaut (LGS). These conditions are rare types of childhood epilepsy that don’t respond to other anti-seizure medications. Clinical trials have shown that the CBD drug significantly decreased the number of seizures and even stopped them in some instances, according to Harvard Health².
How the research shows CBD Helps with Seizures
The strongest clinical evidence on CBD’s effects for epilepsy is from the research on Dravet syndrome and LGS. This explains why the FDA cleared Epidiolex for childhood epilepsy for patients, especially those who don’t respond to other anti-seizure medications.
Still, CBD has shown potential benefits for other forms of epilepsy in studies over the last two decades. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse³, CBD has proven effective for seizures in animal studies. Human studies for adults with hard to address epileptic conditions are more complicated. Three studies have shown positive overall effects of CBD on epilepsy, but more studies are still needed.
Researchers are still identifying all of the pathways for CBD’s anti-seizure and anti-epileptic effects. The most observed method of reducing seizures is that CBD decreases the inflammation that may cause electrical changes in the brain.
The Epilepsy Foundation¹ says that current medications for epilepsy are unsuccessful for up to one-third of adults with epilepsy. This is one of the reasons why CBD research is expected to continue to grow for many epileptic conditions in the coming years.
CBD and Other Epilepsy Medications
Conventional epilepsy medications are typically prescribed anti-seizure daily medications. When taken regularly, these medications are supposed to decrease the number of seizures. The problem occurs when multiple or all existing anti-seizure medications don’t work. At that stage, it may be worth considering CBD products as an alternative to address your epileptic condition.
Final Thoughts on CBD for Epilepsy
There’s no cure available for epilepsy. Therefore, efforts are focused on reducing the number of seizures. CBD oil may help reduce the seizures of your condition, especially if conventional medications have failed.